The Broadway strike is over: Bring on the divas!


Oh, Happy Day! Or Oh, Happy Night as I’m writing this. I just watched Charlotte St. Martin, the spokesperson for the League of American Theatres and Producers, announce that a tentative deal has been reached to end the Broadway stagehands’ union strike. Shows are reopening immediately, and happiness reigns in my home and in midtown Manhattan. (You can read a good timeline of the strike here.)

And the end of the strike is not the only good Broadway news these days. I just read that Patti LuPone will be reprising her role as Mama Rose in Gypsy next March.

This summer, the Encores! Summer Stars production of Gypsy at New York City Center was the hot ticket. (I certainly couldn’t get my hands on one.) Everyone I know who saw it loved it, despite the tepid New York Times review.

I was underwhelmed by Bernadette Peters’ turn as Rose in the 2003 revival.

But I’m still excited about this production. Patti LuPone is one of the great divas I’ve never seen on Broadway. Commercials for her Tony Award–winning performance in Evita were a staple of my childhood television watching, but I’ve somehow managed to miss her every time she’s done another show.

So I’m grabbing a ticket to this one.

In other Broadway news, the Manhattan Theatre Club has announced the initial casting for its Broadway debut of Caryl Churchill‘s Top Girls next May.

The all-female cast of the odd, but interesting, feminist drama will include Mary Catherine Garrison, Elizabeth Marvel, Martha Plimpton and Marisa Tomei. In the likely event that you’re not familiar with the play, here’s the Manhattan Theatre Club’s description:

“Set at the Top Girls Employment Agency in London in the early 1980s, this groundbreaking, theatrical play tells the story of Marlene, an ambitious career woman who has just been appointed head of the firm. But as she celebrates her achievements, can we applaud her values? This bold and ingenious work from the singularly talented author of Far Away and Cloud Nine offers one of the theatre’s most honest portraits of what it means to be a woman in the modern world.”

I saw a reading of the first act at the Brooklyn Museum a few years ago; this is the act in which the central character, Marlene, holds a dinner party for historical figures including Pope Joan, the alleged 9th-century female pope.

In sum, I’m pretty happy. Broadway theater is back and I’m already making my plans for the spring.

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