Trying to Fully-Connect

I saw “Dear Evan Hansen” at a 2 pm matinee performance on Saturday, August 8, 2015 at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

The book and music are excellent.  It’s a very touching story, set in a contemporary world of today where young people engage primarily online.  I would describe it as a story about loneliness in the midst of our hyper-connected world of social media. The need to connect profoundly with another human being is what makes the show relatable to different generations — because teenagers aren’t the only ones today looking for love.

The main character is a high school student, Evan Hansen, who writes a letter to himself at the advice of his therapist.  The letter is discovered by another student, and becomes the source of the entire plot of the show and examines different shades of “truth”:  actual, fictional, authentic, disingenuous, intentionally or unintentionally deceptive.  Who are we in a virtual world — our true messy imperfect boring selves, or an ideal one we choose to project and ultimately want to become?

The run at Arena Stage is from July 10, 2015 to August 23, 2015.

Here are two good reviews:

Peter Marks, The Washington Post:

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times:

And the Area Stage show page (links to videos):

Will “Dear Evan Hansen” make it to Broadway in 2016 or 2017?


New Season


There isn’t an official beginning to the 2015 – 2016 season on Broadway, so I’m picking the week after the Tony Awards, the week ending June 14, 2015, as the new season. Since my last blog entry over 6 months ago, I’ve been very busy learning as much as I can about the business of theater. I just finished a weekend at the CTI Summer Theater Workshop at the Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Connecticut. It is where many writers, actors, directors, have made an early visit along their journey to the Broadway stage.

My fellow new producers and I had three days of intensive training in the development of plays and musicals for commercial productions. We were able to see early-stage development readings of one play, “End of Shift” by Jenny Connell Davis, and one musical, “ZM” by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis. We practiced pitched these plays to an audience of established theater professionals and gained insight and awareness of the close-knit community we are a part of.  These are two plays to watch this upcoming year and next.

The O’Neill considers itself “the launchpad of the American Theater”, and I believe the description is well on-the-mark. Playwrights whose work is accepted and read at the O’Neill are provided the opportunity to propel themselves into the theatrical firmament by having audiences, producers, and investors experience a new work they are inspired to bring to life in front of a wider audience.

Sting’s First Ship – “The Last Ship”

I saw “The Last Ship” last night.  I got my ticket at a discount because attendance has been low:  37% of potential gross as of November 30, 2014. Ouch!  But, the show greatly exceeded my expectations.  I knew that some songs by Sting were recycled – “All This Time”, but their familiarity to me was comforting. I felt emotionally-connected to the work from the beginning.  Reviews of this play have been mixed: many love, many dislike.  It’s been called a “working class” play — and it is.  And I believe that’s the issue.  Not enough working class folks know about it to go see it.  My main issue with this musical is its marketing:  I don’t understand the play’s logo, which is a big grey swirl with a tiny red boat on top which you can barely see.  You see the storm but you don’t see the ship.  Sting has agreed to come on-board to help save this show.  I really hope he succeeds in what that theater needs most — a larger audience, especially those have been away for a long time.  I hope Sting, like David Byrne, find a home in musical theater.  I don’t want another situation where a popular musical artist like Paul Simon is discouraged from ever sailing again.  Let’s build a ship and sail it no matter what, because it’s what we do!

Will Sting save “The Last Ship”?   Will it run until next year?


Curious Incident

I just saw “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” last night. It took me on a wonderful journey.  I got the recommendation from a friend of mine to see it.  I had no idea what the play was about, and keep forgetting the title because it’s so long.  They might have called it “the play about the dead dog”, but then that would not have sold very well.  I haven’t read Ben Brantley’s review yet, but here it is:

Will Curious Incident run for over a year?  Will it win the Tony?


Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You


I love the show Jersey Boys — even though I just saw it recently.  I took word-of-mouth from a friend of mine to finally convince me to go.  Tickets were $104 at the balcony when I first wanted to see it, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.  Finally, I got a rear mezzanine seat at TKTS for $65.  Score!  But, when I saw the show — $104 is totally worth it!

Jersey Boys
Opened: November 6, 2005
As of September 9, 2014 the show has grossed almost $470 million.
At the August Wilson Theater (fka Virginia): Capacity 1,275

Will Jersey Boys make it to 15 years and beyond?..I hope so!