Thursday, February 3, 2022

B'way Update: Hangmen Resurrected; Shakespeare in the Park Season

A scene from the March 2020 production of 
Credit: Joan Marcus
Hangmen, Martin McDonough's dark comedy about a public executioner and his family, will open on Broadway after having been pronounced dead. The play had begun previews in March 2020, but was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was announced soon thereafter that the production, along with the long-running musical Frozen and a revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, would not be resuming performances at all. Hangmen had transferred to the John Golden Theater after a successful 2018 Off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater Company and winning the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. This new incarnation will begin performances at the Golden on April 8 with an opening scheduled for April 21 for a limited, ten-week engagement.

Directed by Matthew Dunster, the cast will be headed by Alfie Allen of Game of Thrones, opposite David Threfall, best known for his performance as Smike in the London and New York production of Nicholas Nickelby. The cast also includes Drama Desk and Olivier Award winner Tracie Bennett (Rainbow's End), Owen Campbell, Jeremy Crutchley, Gaby French, Josh Goulding, John Hodgkinson, Richard Hollis, John Horton, Andy Nyman, and Ryan Pope, with Sebastian Beacon, Peter Bradbury, Katie Fabel and Colin McPhillamy.

Danai Gurira in
The Avengers: Infinity War
The Public has just announced the schedule for its 60th season of free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There will two productions--Richard III directed by Tony nominee Robert O'Hara (Slave Play) with actor-playwright Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead, Black Panther, author of Eclipsed) in the title role, and a new musical adaptation of As You Like It.

Richard III has been presented at the Delacorte four previous times--with Joseph Bova (1966), Donald Madden (1970), Kevin Kline (1983), and Denzel Washington (1990) in the title role. While Hamlet and Richard II have been played by women in major productions, this will be the first time the villainous Richard III has been taken on by an actress in a prominent staging.

Shaina Taub in the 2018 Delacorte
production of Twelfth Night.
Credit: Joan Marcus
The musical version of As You Like It was originally slated to play the park in 2020 but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Originally presented as part of the theater's Public Works series in 2017, this edition was adapted by Artist-in-Residence Shaina Taub and Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery with a score by Taub who will also play Jacques. Also in the cast will be Darius de Haas, Joel Perez, and two rotating companies of community members. Woolery directs and Tony winner Sonya Tayeh provides the choreography. Taub also wrote the score for a similar musical adaptation of Twelfth Night at the Delacorte in 2018.

“After last summer's glorious and joyous Merry Wives, this year, we are finally returning to a full slate of shows in the Park, and the artists and shows will be thrilling,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Robert O'Hara has been a member of The Public's family for 20 years, as director and as playwright. One of our greatest and most exciting directors, he will be creating a Richard III unlike any you have seen before. Our dearly beloved Danai Gurira will be giving us her version of this extraordinary character. Shakespeare's Richard created the model for politics as an extension of show business—with devastating results. As always, Shakespeare seems to be speaking directly into our contemporary dreams and nightmares.”

Eustis continued, “As You Like It is an extraordinary version of Shakespeare's most beautiful play. Composed by and featuring the electric Shaina Taub, adapted by her and Laurie Woolery, As You Like It is an extraordinary creation of our Public Works program. You'll see New York's finest actors sharing the stage with hundreds of their fellow community members. The joyous democracy of this Public Works show stuns the senses, and will certainly be one of the most glorious highlights of 2022.”

2021-22 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule
Feb. 3--Sandblasted (Vineyard)
Feb. 5--The Merchant of Venice (TFANA/Polonksy Shakespeare Center)
Feb. 7--Tambo and Bones (Playwrights Horizons)
Feb. 10--The Music Man (Winter Garden)
Feb. 14--Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)
Feb. 15--Black No More (The New Group)
Feb. 22--English (Atlantic Theater Company)
Feb. 23--On Sugarland (NYTW)
March 8--The Chinese Lady (Public Theater/Ma-Yi Theater Company)
March 14--Mrs. Doubtfire re-opens (Sondheim)
March 28--Plaza Suite (Hudson)
April 3--Paradise Square (Barrymore)
April 4--Take Me Out (Second Stage/Hayes)
April 6--Suffs (Public Theater)
April 7--The Minutes (Studio 54)
April 8--Beetlejuice (Marriott Marquis)
April 10--Birthday Candles (Roundabout/AA)
April 11--The Little Prince (Broadway)
April 13--Harmony (Museum of Jewish Heritage)
April 14--American Buffalo (Circle In the Square); To My Girls (Second Stage/Kiser)
April 19--How I Learned to Drive (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)
April 20--for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf (Booth)
April 21--Hangmen (Golden)
April 23--Wedding Band (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)
April 24--Funny Girl (August Wilson)
April 25--The Skin of Our Teeth (LTC/Vivian Beaumont)
April 26--A Strange Loop (Lyceum)
April 27--Mr. Saturday Night (Nederlander)
April 28--Macbeth (Longacre)
April 30--The Bedwetter (Atlantic Theater Company)
May 17--Golden Shield (MTC/City Center)
June 1--To Kill a Mockingbird re-opens (Belasco)
July 21--The Kite Runner (Hayes)
Summer 2022--Richard III; As You Like It (Delacorte)

Fall 2022
1776 (Roundabout/AA)
Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)
the bandaged place (Roundabout/Underground)

Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, Cinderella, The Ohio State Murders, The Piano Lesson

Black Orpheus, Dancin', Pal Joey, Square One

Winter 2022-23
The Wanderers (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

2023 and Beyond
Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby

Future--Our Town; Death of a Salesman; K-pop the Broadway Musical; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Smash; Some Like It Hot; Soul Train; The Who's Tommy

2021-22 Broadway Season Breakdown:
New Plays
Birthday Candles
Chicken and Biscuits
Dana H. (transfer from Off-Broadway)
Hangmen (previously presented Off-Broadway)
Is This A Room (transfer from Off-Broadway)
The Lehman Trilogy (transfer from Off-Broadway)
The Minutes
Pass Over (previously presented Off-Broadway)
Skeleton Crew (previously presented Off-Broadway in a different production)
Thoughts of a Colored Man

Play Revivals
American Buffalo
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
How I Learned to Drive
Lackawanna Blues (previously produced Off-Broadway)
Plaza Suite
The Skin of Our Teeth
Slave Play (return engagement)
Take Me Out
Trouble in Mind

New Musicals
Flying Over Sunset
The Little Prince
MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical
Mr. Saturday Night
Mrs. Doubtfire
Paradise Square
A Strange Loop (previously presented Off-Broadway in a different production)

Musical Revivals
Beetlejuice (return engagement)
Caroline or Change
Funny Girl 
Waitress (return engagement)

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (return engagement)
David Bryne's American Utopia (return engagement)
Freestyle Love Supreme (return engagement)

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