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Author Topic:   Theatre News
NEWSFLASH
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posted July 16, 2003 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New York Theatre News

Aida - Grammy Award-winner Toni Braxton is starring in this Elton John and Tim Rice musical for most performances (excluding Wednesday and Saturday matinees)through November 16.

Chicago - Melanie Griffith took over the role of Roxie Hart on July 11 and will star in the show through September 28. And an interesting rumor is floating around that model Naomi Campbell has been offered a role in the show. She's studied acting at the London Academy for Performing Arts and dance at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London, so she could very well have the chops for the show!

Mamma Mia! - Three-time Tony Award-nominee Dee Hoty will replace Louise Pitre as the star of Mamma Mia! starting October 22.

The Phantom of the Opera - Minnie Driver will play the opera star Carlotta in the film version of this hit musical! Filming starts September 15 in the UK - look for a Christmas 2004 release.

Urinetown - Amy Spanger replaced Jennifer Laura Thompson as innocent Hope Cladwell on July 8. She was most recently on Broadway opposite husband Michael C. Hall (of "Six Feet Under") in Chicago. And William Shatner's agent is spreading the word that the former Trekkie might be heading up the Urine Good Company in the near future! I'll let you know if he is cast as the evil (yet prescient) Caldwell B. Cladwell.


Golda's Balcony - This one-woman portrait of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre this October. Tovah Feldshuh stars; the show was written by Tony Award-winning author of The Miracle Worker William Gibson.

Harvey - It looks like the giant rabbit will land at the Lyceum Theatre this fall, starting perfs September 25 for an October 1 opening. Charles Durning, Dick Van Patten and Joyce Van Patten will star. Harvey centers on kind and gentle Elwood P. Dowd (Durning), a man with a best friend named Harvey, who just happens to be a very pleasant six-foot-three-and-a-half-inch tall white rabbit that no one else can see.

Henry IV - This will be the first show in the renovated Vivian Beaumont Theater; Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 have been condensed into a single evening. The show will run from October 28 through January 11 and stars Billy Crudup, Richard Easton, Ethan Hawke, Dana Ivey, Kevin Kline and Audra McDonald.

Little Shop of Horrors - The Broadway premier of Little Shop of Horrors is back on track. The revamped production will be directed by Jerry Zaks, and will star Hunter Foster as Seymour, Kerry Butler as Audrey, Rob Bartlett as Mr. Mushnik and Michael Leon Wooley as Audrey II, the voice of the killer plant. William Ivey Long is redesigning the costumes, as well. Performances start Friday, August 29 and the show opens on October 2 at the Virginia. Single tickets go on sale July 21!

What's closing?

"Master Harold" and the Boys - Closed July 13.

Our Lady of 121st Street - Closes July 27 . . . which leaves you plenty of time to get tickets at the fantastic discounted rate of $40 + service charge!

Say Goodnight Gracie - Closes August 24.
Long Day's Journey into Night - Closes August 31.

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indiedan
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posted July 17, 2003 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mamet: Playwrights Must Confront Violence Of Racism David Mamet says playwrights have a responsibility to confront the violent past of racism in America. "I am old enough to remember separate waiting rooms, restrooms, and drinking fountains in the American south: one set for blacks, one for whites. Looking back, one says: 'Was there ever a greater, more widespread or persistent delusion than that of racial superiority?' And the answer was and is: 'No.' So, though I decry and abominate the computer, the mass media and, indeed, most things that differentiate the 21st century from the 19th, I remind myself that I have lived to see the beginning of the end of American racism - and that is something to have lived to see." The Guardian (UK) 07/17/03

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 01, 2003 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New York Theatre News

Aida - Toni Braxton is now starring in Aida, and we've created a fantastic video with behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the show.

Chicago - Their Tuesday performances will start at 7pm beginning with the October 7 performance.

The Boy From Oz - Single tickets go on sale Monday, August 4 and they're sure to go quickly for this new musical. After all, Hugh Jackman is starring! The show follows Peter Allen's rise from youngster in the Australian Outback to 1980's Superstar/ex-husband of Liza Minnelli/Academy Award-winner for the theme song to "Arthur." Don't forget to check out this photo op from a recent rehearsal.


Bombay Dreams - This smash London musical will open at the Broadway Theatre on April 29, 2004, with previews beginning Monday, March 29. It's played at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre since June 19, 2002. Bombay Dreams tells the story of a handsome young slum-dweller and his dreams of becoming a Bollywood movie star. The musical weaves together the glamour of the movies, heart-aching romance and epic spectacle in a musical the London Sunday Express called the "best British-originated musical since The Phantom of the Opera."

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Performances will start October 9 at the Music Box for a November 2 opening. Ashley Judd, Jason Patric and Ned Beatty will star.

Fiddler on the Roof - Performances will start January 17 at the Minskoff for a February 12 opening. David Leveaux (director of the Tony Award-winning revival of Nine) has just come on board as director, and Alfred Molina will star.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change - This popular off-Broadway show turns seven on August 1. It's played in more than 150 cities worldwide and the NYC production has hosted 42 onstage proposals!

Pajama Game - It seems that a revival is planned for late spring 2004. It will be directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall and will feature two new songs by Richard Adler and a revised book by Peter Ackerman.

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All - Ellen Burnsyn will star in this one-woman play. Performances start October 17 at the Longacre. The show is based on the best-selling novel by Allan Garganus about 99-year-old Lucy Marsden. Married at 15 to a 50-year-old Civil War veteran, she tells tales about the South, its women, her nine children and the joy she finds in both the past and the present.

The Caretaker - Performances of this Pinter play will start October 24 at the American Airlines Theatre for a November 9 opening. Kyle MacLachlan (I loved him in "Twin Peaks" but you might remember him better as Charlotte's husband in "Sex and the City") and Irish actor Aidan Gillen will star as brothers, one of whom invites a homeless tramp to stay with them.

Twentieth Century - Alec Baldwin will star in this revival at the American Airlines Theatre in spring 2004.

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indiedan
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posted August 08, 2003 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We all must love - STALIN, THE MUSICAL
http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/08/08/edinburgh.stalin.reut/index.html

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 11, 2003 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A Hit After Death Crowds are thronging to Jessica Grace Wing's new musical "Lost" "Ms. Wing's death so close to the production's debut — she was said to have finished the musical's final song just a day before dying — has created an unmistakable sentimental momentum for "Lost," which is based on the children's tale "Hansel and Gretel" and has a book and lyrics by Kirk Wood Bromley. Like the Broadway musical "Rent," which also started in the East Village and whose composer, Jonathan Larson, died just after the show's final dress rehearsal, "Lost" is selling tickets to those who knew Ms. Wing's work and those who suddenly want to discover her. " The New York Times 08/11/03

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 11, 2003 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Broadway - Where Are All The Plays? When "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Enchanted April" close on Broadway at the end of this month, there will be only one play left running on Broadway. "Nineteen musicals will be around in September, but plays are never very plentiful on Broadway. Last season, though, was particularly dire for new work, and the coming drought is unusual." Chicago Sun-Times 08/09/03
Posted: 08/10/2003
http://www.suntimes.com/output/entertainment/cst-ftr-play09.html

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 22, 2003 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The BBC plans to broadcast Mark Rylance's production of Richard II from the historic Globe Theatre in London on Sept. 7 on its digital outlet BBC4. It is believed to be the first time a stage play has ever been broadcast live. BBC4 controller Roly Keating told Britain's Guardian newspaper: "It's a very risky, but very exciting project. I don't think you will have ever seen Shakespeare like this on television." The live broadcast will also have an interactive element, allowing viewers to view different camera angles, backstage footage and program notes by punching a button on their remotes.

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NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN
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posted August 27, 2003 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
O'Neill, King Of Broadway This summer's biggest Broadway success story wasn't some cutting-edge musical featuring agressive tap-dancers, and it wasn't a provocatively-titled, fast-paced romp from the mind of one of theater's hot new stars. No, the king of Broadway this summer was none other than the late Eugene O'Neill, whose four-hour play, Long Day's Journey Into Night, has garnered rave reviews and standing-room-only attendance in its 5-month run. Some of the success of the revival can be chalked up to star power and savvy marketing that pandered to the 'serious' theatregoer. But some see it as a sign that Broadway crowds are ready to be challenged. New York Post 08/27/03

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NEWSFLASH
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posted September 26, 2003 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tony-Winning Playwright Herb Gardner Dies

NEW YORK - Herb Gardner, author of such hit Broadway comedies as "A Thousand Clowns" and the Tony-winning "I'm Not Rappaport," has died. He was 68.

The playwright died of lung disease Wednesday at home, said his wife, Barbara Sproul.


Gardner had his first Broadway success in 1962 with "A Thousand Clowns," which starred Jason Robards (news) and Sandy Dennis. It told the story of a nonconformist television writer who battled adoption authorities over custody of his young nephew. "Clowns" was later made into a movie starring Robards and Barbara Harris.


"I'm Not Rappaport" starred Judd Hirsch and Cleavon Little as two elderly men who met daily in Central Park. It was Gardner's biggest commercial success and won the best-play Tony Award in 1986.


Among his other Broadway plays were "The Goodbye People" (1968), "Thieves" (1974) and "Conversations with My Father" (1992).


Gardner also produced and wrote the screenplay and the 1971 Dustin Hoffman (news) film, "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me?"


Both "A Thousand Clowns" and "I'm Not Rappaport" had unsuccessful revivals on Broadway in recent years: "Clowns," starring Tom Selleck (news), in 2001 and "I'm Not Rappaport," with Hirsch and Ben Vereen (news), last year.


Born in Brooklyn, Gardner attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology and Antioch College. He also drew the comic strip "The Nebbishes" in the late 1950s.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted October 16, 2003 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has approved a new Broadway musical about her late husband's life - with an unusual twist. The as-yet-untitled production, currently being referred to as The Lennon Project, is expected to hit New York next year. Producers Edgar Lansbury and Don Scardino are sure their effort will stand out from the others in the theatre district - because it won't be a traditional book musical, a ballet, a biographical musical or based on a film. Instead, the musical, which will feature 12 yet-to-be-cast actors portraying different aspects of Lennon's personality, will use Lennon's songs to tell the story of the 1960s and 1970s. Scardino explains, "Our project is the story of Lennon as lightning rod and how he defined the times and how the times defined him. Lennon's changes corresponded to our generation: there was the rocker, the hippie, the meditation guru, the transcendalist, the political revolutionary, the house husband, and all the while there was the evolving artist." The producers began negotiating with Ono about the project more than three years ago, but the project was hit with delays when film studio Columbia Pictures planned a biopic of the former Beatle and attempted to secure rights to his songs, as well as elements of his life story. But that project is no longer in development. The show is expected to use around 30 songs by Lennon, all written after the Beatles' break-up.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted November 17, 2003 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eighties pop star Boy George's musical Taboo has been mauled by critics after opening on New York's Broadway. The spectacular show, which is backed and produced by former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, tells the singer's life story and features George as performance artist Leigh Bowery. Taboo moved to New York after a successful spell in London, but Big Apple critics were unimpressed by preview shows. The New York Times wrote it is "a disastrously overcrowded tableau of a show", the New York Post described it as "a production with such an acute case of meaning-deprivation that you almost forget what's happening as it's happening" and national newspaper USA Today called it "a delightful experience... if you leave after the first act." O'Donnell invested $10 million of her own money in the show - after spotting it in London - and she is unmoved by criticism: "Taboo is a legitimate, knock-'em-down, leave-'em-screaming, worth-a-$100-a-seat Broadway show."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted November 18, 2003 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
November 18, 2003 -- ROSIE O'Donnell could end up spending $20 million on her Broadway flop "Taboo" if she insists on keeping it open until January, as she has told several theater insiders she wants to do.

"On opening night and after the awful weekend, Rosie still says she will single-handedly keep the show open until January," a British source said.

"She thinks people just need to warm up to the show, but on Saturday night only 250 seats out of 1,050 were filled. No one wants to see the show. It is awful. She bastardized the British version, which was successful. "

Critics far preferred the simpler London production, which Rosie re-worked by adding subplots with the help of Charles ("The Allergist's Wife") Busch.

A source involved in the Broadway production said that if O'Donnell insists on keeping the show running until January, she will not only lose her initial $10 million investment but another $10 million.

"The talk on Broadway is that she is going to lose her shirt," the American source said. "The show costs over $500,000 a week to run. Last week - its opening week - it only took in $320,872.49 for seven performances. So Rosie has to pay the rest of the costs out of pocket."

Paid attendance for the first seven days at the Plymouth Theater was 3,803 against a total capacity of 6,501.

"Listen, you sell a Broadway show with three things: word of mouth, publicity and reviews," our New York source said. "The word of mouth and the reviews have been absolutely terrible and the publicity has been spent on damage control.

"There is nothing that will lift this production off the ground. Nothing. It's not even farce-bad, like 'Dance of the Vampires,' which was so bad it was funny. This is just tedious," our insider continued.

"On a good note, Rosie is very committed to the show and cast. Most productions have investors they have to answer to but in 'Taboo,' it's only Rosie who makes the decisions because it's all her money."

A rep for "Taboo" said: "We've played 21 performances to date and have received 21 standing ovations. There is every reason to believe that 'Taboo,' like most new musicals, will find its audience."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted December 01, 2003 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Film and television star Jennifer Garner now wants to tread the boards - she's put herself forward for the lead role in a New York production of Andy And Edie. The striking Daredevil actress wants to play cult artist Andy Warhol's tragic muse Edie Sedgwick in the off-Broadway play - and isn't afraid to audition for the role. Playwright Peter Braunstein tells the Pagesix website, "Her people at the Endeavor agency called me and said she's interested. They want me to give her an audition."

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indiedan
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posted December 05, 2003 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After reportedly receiving a note from playwright Neil Simon telling her to either learn her lines "or get out of my play," Mary Tyler Moore has quit Simon's new play, Rose's Dilemma, walking out moments before Wednesday's matinee, published reports said today (Friday). Simon, who in his autobiography complained about the inability of several television and films stars to learn their lines quickly, was reportedly upset that Moore was relying on a wireless headset in which her lines were being fed to her by an assistant. Mara Buxbaum, her publicist, said in a statement: "Mary has been working tirelessly for months but feels pushed out of this production. This is a very upsetting time for her." Simon had no comment. In 1980, Tony Curtis pulled out of his play I Ought to Be in Pictures, because, according to Simon, the actor was unable to cope with his frequent script alterations during the show's tryouts.

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posted December 11, 2003 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
N THEATER

The Better Angels of Tony Kushner

By JEREMY M c CARTER Mr. McCarter writes about theater each Wednesday in The New York Sun.

Nothing obscures like praise. Mike Nichols’s film version of Tony Kushner’s epic play “Angels in America” has been celebrated by everyone who has managed to wriggle the DVD out of HBO. Habitually fierce critics have thrown off their sneers and lavished Mr. Kushner with grateful kisses.

Some have celebrated Mr. Kushner’s scope, his epic view of Reagan’s America: His story, which encompasses AIDS, Mormons, Jews, angels, and the perfidious Roy Cohn, required three hours last Sunday, and three more this Sunday. Others praise his gift for devising indelible characters like Prior Walter, the sick, resilient, unwilling prophet. Still others respond to the emotional rainbow he creates: love,hope, hate, fear, compassion, forgiveness.

Mr. Nichols’s production of “Angels” is a triumph in many ways; Mr. Kushner deserves his newfound adulation. The trouble is that he’s being praised for a film that conspicuously lacks the very quality that makes him so important. By celebrating the wrong things, we miss his real significance for the theater.

When the film version works, you can see that Mr. Kushner has absorbed the best of what preceded him in the still-brief history of American drama. The political disputes resonate with Miller and Odets. The breathtaking reach is O’Neill’s, the excoriating lovers’ feuds echo Albee’s. And when a pill-popping housewife says, “I dream that you batter away at me till all my joints come apart, like wax, and I fall into pieces,” are we not awfully near the lyrical New Orleans of Tennessee Williams?

For all its gorgeous writing, “Angels” doesn’t prove suited to film the way “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” did. Mr. Kushner’s plays are strict creatures of the theater in ways that many of his predecessors’ and most of his contemporaries’ are not. He is our foremost playwright of the imagination. I mean this partly in the sense that he can send characters darting off to Heaven or Antarctica without seeming foolish, but mostly in the sense that, on the stage, his plays demand that we engage our own imaginations.

Don’t be misled by the old cliché about theater being more demanding than film. In practice, most American playwrights, operating in the realm of representational realism — onstage worlds rendered literally, no contact between actor and spectator — put playgoers in the passive state of couch potatoes. This is bad news because, fighting on the same terrain, theater can’t compete with film. (I doubt that all New York’s new plays combined match the intellectual and emotional punch of Miramax’s releases this year, or any other.) It’s very bad news because the stage is capable of so much more.

Mr. Kushner recognizes this. How many of his plays could begin as “Henry V” does, with the Chorus stepping forward to promise that the actors will “on your imaginary forces work”? In the preface to the stage version of “Angels,” Mr. Kushner is explicit about the show’s pared-down scenery, and lets the wires show during the magical episodes. His phrase for this is “an actor-driven event,” which is a clunky way of describing the sort of collaboration envisioned by the Chorus: “Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.”

It’s not just that the play’s magical moments fall flat when depicted literally in the HBO film — though they do. The Angel crashing through Prior’s ceiling at the end of Part One looks lame, as does the mannequin that comes to life in Part Two. The real trouble is that television severs the tie between the actors and viewers. This is the tie that has existed since Aeschylus, that Shakespeare mastered in “Hamlet,” that most modern drama shuns.

No contemporary playwright does direct address better than Mr. Kushner. In the final scenes of Part Two, a series of valedictory speeches culminate when Prior, the prophet, blesses the audience and draws them together. “We will be citizens,” he declares. “The Great Work begins.” After ducking the soliloquies throughout the film, Mr. Nichols has no choice but for characters to deliver them into the camera. What is supposed to feel rousing seems intrusive.

This robs the story of some of its punch. The best efforts of HBO notwithstanding, the experience of watching a play by someone like Mr. Kushner has less in common with seeing a film than with reading a novel: They are both essentially imaginative acts. Shakespeare, inevitably, grasped how theater derives power from being both imaginative and communal. In the last act of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Theseus dismisses the fanciful stories told by the play’s young lovers as “fairy toys.” But Hippolyta says that with “all their minds transfigured so together,” the lovers’ visions cease to be simple whimsy, growing “to something of great constancy.” Shakespeare makes a radical claim here, suggesting that a playwright can inspire an audience to undertake its own corporate act of creation.

Most modern playwrights are indifferent to that possibility; only some of our best prove Shakespeare right. Mr. Kushner, Richard Greenberg, Charles Mee, and David Greenspan all write vividly theatrical plays, which lash an audience together and happily tax our imaginations. So do the hybrid experiments of director Chen Shi-Zheng. So do musicals. It was Robert Brustein who pointed out that in the American theater, only the musical understands what all theatrical traditions aside from Western realism understand: “The secret of stage magic lies not in trying to hypnotize the audience into an illusion of reality, but in continually reminding the audience that it is sitting in a theater.”

By all means, let’s honor the talent and skill of Tony Kushner. And let’s celebrate his introduction to many thousands of television viewers. And let’s hope that the film inspires them to seek him out onstage. There alone can he do what he does best: Creating plays that are shared acts of imagination.

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