It was supposed to be a quiet week post-Tony nominations. Nope! Tony producers confirmed Neil Patrick Harris would be hosting the awards on June 12. Daniel Radcliffe told an audience at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y that he was shocked by the public hoopla surrounding his Tony snub. Meryl Streep confirmed she will play the title role in a reading of Alan Alda’s Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie at Lincoln Center on June 1st (the cast also includes Amy Adams, Allison Janney, and Liev Schreiber). Larry Kramer and Barbra Streisand traded barbs over who really held up the film version of The Normal Heart. And Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark returned to Broadway, rebooted and retooled, for more previews (the official opening date is now June 14). In other news, War Horse and The Book of Mormon announced their national tours, which launch next year. Wonderland announced its early closing (final curtain: Sunday, May 14). And the Tony-nominated Motherf—er With The Hat extended its run by three weeks, with a new close date set for July 17.
In the meantime, our critics saw three productions: the Shaw adaptation A Minister’s Wife, the L.A. anthology about marriage equality Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, and Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.
Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays: The compendium of nine short one acts — including works by Neil LaBute, Paul Rudnick, and Moisés Kaufman — earned a B+ from EW’s Tanner Stransky, who praises it for being “just as much a theater experience as it is a crusade to illuminate the precarious, confusing, maddening, and — yes — oftentimes hilarious position that gays and lesbians find themselves in when it comes to getting hitched legally in the United States.”
A Minister’s Wife: I gave Lincoln Center Theater’s enchanting new off-Broadway revamp of George Bernard Shaw’s Candida a B+, noting that the discordant tunes, intimate staging, shortened length and unsettling ending make the marital comedy “a different sort of musical…but like all good things, it’s worth it.”
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark: The Sanaa Lathan-led screwball comedy from Ruined writer Nottage also scored a B+, this time from writer Melissa Rose Bernardo, who warns, “It would be easy to dismiss By the Way, Meet Vera Stark as a sort of theatrical palate cleanser after the gut-wrenching Ruined; it’s fast and funny, with good old-fashioned stock characters… and intentionally exaggerated acting.… But there’s substance behind all of the script’s style.”