Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber were among the collaborators and friends who spoke about the legendary director and producer Hal Prince at his memorial today at the Majestic Theatre. Prince died on July 31 at 91. Continue Reading
John Simon, the theater, movie and music critic who died last night at 94, took erudition to another level.
Never mind that English was his fifth language — after German, Hungarian, French and Serbo-Croatian, the language of his native Yugoslavia — every review sent you to the dictionary. He could be cruel, famously so when reviewing actresses’ looks, but also loyal. Betty Buckley wrote on Facebook this morning about her “abiding gratitude for his support of my work through all of these years and his friendship.”
When Bloomberg News hired Simon as its theater critic, in 2005, after 36 years at New York magazine, arts editor Manuela Hoelterhoff assigned me the fun task of interviewing him in the book-lined Upper West Side apartment he shared with his wife, Patricia Hoag Simon. I found him to be soft-spoken, thoughtful and unapologetic, except regarding his early assessments of Stephen Sondheim and Adam Guettel. Excerpts follow.Continue Reading
For female musical theater composers, this season has been a mixed bag. Of eight original Broadway scores, just one, Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown, was written by a woman. Yet with its standing-room-only audiences and 14 Tony Award nominations, the folk opera appears to be a hit, a sign that non-traditional work — by a man or woman — can defy conventional wisdom of what belongs on Broadway.
Sunday in the Park with George, which began a more experimental phase for Stephen Sondheim when the musical debuted off-Broadway in 1983, is doing big business in its latest go-round.
Sales for the revival, with movie star Jake Gyllenhaal as pointillist painter Georges Seurat (and his fictional great-grandson in Act Two), jumped 18 percent to $1.1 million last week. The average ticket, at $140, was topped only by Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.Continue Reading
EXCLUSIVE: On September 15, 2008, hours after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the Roundabout Theatre Co. signed a lease to take over a third Broadway house. Given the expense of producing and its thinning ranks of subscribers, some in the business questioned whether the company, founded in 1965, overextended itself.
Seven and a half years later, the Roundabout can make a convincing case that adding the Stephen Sondheim Theatre inside the Bank of America tower constituted shrewd investing in a downturn.