This Week on Broadway for December 8, 2019: Harry Townsend’s Last Stand

Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk about Harry Townsend’s Last Stand @ City Center, MsTrial @ New World Stages, Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston @ The York, The Underlying Chris @ 2nd Stage, One November Yankee @ 59e59,The Gospell of John @ Sheen Center, Netflix’s Marriage Story @ The Paris, and Ron Leibman’s passing.


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Peter Filichia | [email protected] | Facebook
PETER FILICHIA is a playwright, journalist, and historian with a number of books. His columns appear at Masterworks BroadwayBroadway Select and many other places.

James Marino | [email protected] | Twitter | Facebook

Michael Portantiere | [email protected] | Facebook
MICHAEL PORTANTIERE is a theater reviewer and essayist. He is also a theatrical photographer whose photos have appeared in The New York Times and other major publications. You can see his photography work at

Conversation with Jonathan Groff, sponsored by the Drama Desk, on Thursday, December 12, 2019. This event will take place from 4:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Ripley-Grier Studios, 520 8th Avenue.

Groff, currently starring in the hit Off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors, will engage in a colloquy with longtime Drama Desk member Michael Portantiere (, and will participate in an audience Q&A.

To request a reservation, please email [email protected] with “RSVP JONATHAN GROFF EVENT” in the subject line of your email. Reservations will be opened to the general public as of Monday, December 2nd (with a $5 admission fee for non-members to help defray expenses).

Notes and links for the podcast.


Happy Birthday John Rubinstein!

Forbidden Broadway moves to The York

New York, NY (December 2, 2019) – The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director; Evans Haile, Executive Director), dedicated to the development of new musicals and rediscovery of musical gems from the past, will present the return engagement of the hit Off-Broadway production of Gerard Alessandrini’s hilarious musical spoof of all things theatre Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation. Performances are set to resume Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. for a limited engagement through Sunday afternoon, February 9, 2020 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter’s (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue).

Alessandrini continues to lampoon The Great White Way’s biggest shows and stars in this new edition, which he directed. Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation features spoofs of Hadestown, Moulin Rouge, the current Oklahoma! revival, The Ferryman, Tootsie, Beetlejuice, Frozen, the Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, and Dear Evan Hansen; the new generation of Broadway stars including Billy Porter, Santino Fontana, Karen Olivo, and Alex Brightman; exciting turns by Bette Midler, André de Shields, Bernadette Peters, and Lin-Manuel Miranda; and several surprises. Gerry McIntyre (Spamilton) is the choreographer. The return engagement is presented in association with John Freedson, Harriet Yellin, Peter Brash, David Zippel, and Gerard Alessandrini, with Tzili Charney.

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PF + MP: Harry Townsend’s Last Stand @ New York City Center Stage II, 131 West 55th Street, through February 9, 2020

Harry Townsend’s Last Stand, a new play written by George Eastman (The Snow Job; Bitter Exchange) and directed by Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss and What I Wore; Handle With Care) at New York City Center Stage II (131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues). Starring Three time Tony® Award Nominee and Tony® Award winner, Len Cariou (title role in Sweeney Todd; A Little Night Music with Glynis Johns and Hermione Gingold; Applause starring Lauren Bacall; “Blue Bloods”) and Craig Bierko (Tony® Award  and Drama Desk Award nominee, Music Man; “The Long Kiss Goodnight, “UnREAL,” Blue Bloods”), Harry Townsend’s Last Stand begins a strictly limited engagement on November 18th with opening night set for December 4th. The play is produced by Dennis Grimaldi (A Gentlemen’s Guide…; Love Letters, Angels in America, Other People’s Money).
A comedy with heart, Harry Townsend’s Last Stand centers around 85-year-old Harry Townsend, a widower, living alone in the Lakeside home he built in Vermont. While he still possesses a sharp mind and a dry wit, he is getting up there in age. Beside his daughter, Sarah, the one happiness in his life is his son, Alan, who is finally coming home after an 18-month absence. Yet Alan’s return is accompanied by an agenda that puts the aging father and his concerned son at odds. Harry Townsend’s Last Stand tells a story of complex family dynamics, passion, humor and the shorthand of communication that we have with our loved ones.
Harry Townsend’s Last Stand features scenic design by Lauren Helpern (Skintight; 4000 Miles), costume design by David C. Woolard (Broadway: West Side Story; The Who’s Tommy), lighting design by Jeff Davis (Newsies; Sister Act) and sound design by John Gromada (Broadway: The Trip to Bountiful; Seminar). General management is by Brierpatch Productions.

PF: MsTrial @ New World Stages is located at 340 West 50 Street
Written by Dep Kirkland and directed by Rick Andosca,

The NY debut of MsTRIAL announces its cast starring Christine Evangelista (TV’s “The Arrangement,” “The Walking Dead,” Film: Bleed For This) with Janie Brookshire (Broadway’s The Philanthropist. TV’s ”Blue Bloods”), Dep Kirkland (TV’s “ Twin Peaks,” “Law & Order”), Alan Trinca (NY: Friends The Musical Parody. Regional: A Clockwork Orange), Gayle Samuels (Broadway’s Children of a Leser God, Sunset Boulevard) with understudies Bill Coyne (NY: L’il Abner) and Jeannine Kaspar (TV: “The Loudest Voice,” “Law & Order: SVU”).

Internationally renowned trial lawyer John Paris plays to win, both in and out of court. For Karen Lukoff, John’s young attractive associate, losing has never been an option either. Together, they are a litigation juggernaut. After a major victory, the firm celebrates the win as hard as they fought for it. In the drunken morning hours, left alone, John and Karen collide in a high-octane moment that will cause everyone—including the audience—to question what they know about desire, consent, winning, and losing.

Creative team includes: Set Design by Bill Clarke (Broadway’s A Walk In The Woods, Abby’s Song), Costume Design by Mimi Maxmen (Broadway’s Uncle Vanya. Film: Perestroika), Lighting Design by Mitchell Fenton (Broadway’s Swing!. New York: Little Miss Sunshine). Judy Henderson (Casting), Erin Cass (Production Stage Manager) and Perry Street Theatricals (General Manager) MsTRIAL is produced by Maija Anttila.

MP: Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston @ The York Theatre Company, 619 Lexington Avenue, through December 29, 2019

The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director; Evans Haile, Executive Director), dedicated to the development of new musicals and rediscovery of musical gems from the past, announces the cast and creative team for the Off-Broadway premiere production of the new musical revue Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. Performances begin Tuesday, November 26, 2019 for a limited engagement through Sunday, December 29, 2019 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter’s (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Opening Night is Thursday, December 5 at 6:45 p.m.

Directed and conceived by Tony Award winner Gerard Alessandrini, the famed creator of Forbidden Broadway (the longest-running revue in Off-Broadway history) and the smash spoof Spamilton, the production will have choreography by Gerry McIntyre (York’s Hallelujah, Baby!) and music direction by Greg Jarrett (Pacific Overtures).The five-member cast will feature Benjamin Eakeley (She Loves Me), Jovan E’Sean (The Secret Life of Bees), Alex Getlin (Slay It With Music), Justin Keyes (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), and Mamie Parris (School of Rock_).

Join The York for the Off-Broadway premiere of Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston, an unforgettable evening in the theater featuring a collection of songs from the two-time Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist. The genius of Yeston’s songs—intricate yet emotional, cerebral yet romantic, clever yet unendingly melodic—is coupled with an outstanding cast for a memorable evening showcasing the myriad sides of the writer’s repertoire. Showstoppers from Nine, Grand Hotel, Titanic, Phantom, and Death Takes a Holiday intertwine with premieres of new songs from the Yeston songbook to show off his immense breadth of style—from the hilarious to the deeply moving.

The creative team includes Set Design by James Morgan, Costume Design by Melinda Hare, Lighting Design by Jacob Zedek, Sound Design by Julian Evans, and Production Manager George Xenos. The Production Stage Manager is Chris Steckel with Assistant Stage Manager Kirsten Leigh Williams. Casting Director is Michael Cassara, CSA.

Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston will play the following performance schedule: Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., Thursday at 2:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. PLEASE NOTE: There are no Thursday evening performances. In addition, there are no performances on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, or Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25.

PF: The Underlying Chris @ Second Stage Theater‎, Tony Kiser Theatre, 305 West 43rd Street, through December 15, 2019

On behalf of Carole Rothman, Second Stage Theatre’s Artistic Director, you are cordially invited to attend a performance of THE UNDERLYING CHRIS, written by Will Eno and directed by Kenny Leon. THE UNDERLYING CHRIS features Denise Burse, Hannah Cabell, Michael Countryman, Nicholas Hutchinson, Lenne Klingaman, Lizbeth Mackay, Howard Overshown, Isabella Russo, Nidra Sous Le Terre, Charles Turner and Luis Vega.

THE UNDERLYING CHRIS began previews on Tuesday, October 29 and officially opens Thursday, November 21 at the Tony Kiser Theatre (305 West 43rd Street at 8th Avenue). The production runs through Sunday, December 15.

THE UNDERLYING CHRIS, a world premiere play from Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno, is a life-affirming and high-spirited look at how a person comes into their identity, and how sometimes it’s life’s tiniest moments that most profoundly change our lives. In these divided times, THE UNDERLYING CHRIS serves as a celebration of our differences, our individuality, and the many mysterious, difficult, and beautiful things we share simply by being alive.

MP: One November Yankee @ 59e59, through December 29, 2019


Please join us for the NYC premiere of ONE NOVEMBER YANKEE, written and directed by Joshua Ravetch (co-writer on Wishful Drinking with Carrie Fisher).

One plane, two actors, and three intricately interwoven stories. Joshua Ravetch’s new play explores human connection brought on by tragedy in the aftermath of a plane crash that ripples across the lives of our characters.

ONE NOVEMBER YANKEE was a finalist in the Ojai Playwright’s Conference, where the Los Angeles Times called it a “haunting and poetic” flight, which “unfolds like theatrical origami.” It comes to NYC directly from its East Coast premiere at Delaware Theatre Company.

ONE NOVEMBER YANKEE stars Harry Hamlin (L.A. Law, two-time Golden Globe nominee for Best Actor in a Television Series; Summer and Smoke at Roundabout) and Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart, two-time Emmy and five-time Golden Globes nominee for Best Actress in a Television Series).

Produced by Delaware Theatre Company, ONE NOVEMBER YANKEE is at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison).

PF: The Gospell of John @ Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker Street, through December 29, 2019

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. And the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth: we have beheld his glory… (John 1:1,14)

This Christmas, experience the Gospel as never before!

The Gospel of John, conceived and performed by award-winning Broadway veteran Ken Jennings (Sweeney Todd, Grand Hotel, Side Show) and directed by John Pietrowski.

Jennings brings the Gospel powerfully to life in a thrilling 90-minute solo performance.“I memorized this first as a prayer, not as a play,” said Ken.

“Memorizing The Gospel of John was a spiritual practice during a difficult time in my life. I’ve always had an affinity for John, which seems to be a truly firsthand narrative by a man who was actually there.”

St. John’s Gospel is breathtakingly poetic, containing soaring theology, yet it is filled from start to finish with eyewitness details that came from John’s life with Jesus. This written testimony from John’s personal experience has been proclaimed all over the world for millennia. Ken will tell it to audiences as if for the first time, as it was originally told by the Beloved Disciple – so that they too may have a personal encounter with Jesus during this Advent-Christmas season.


Ron Leibman, Tony Winner for ‘Angels,’ Is Dead at 82 By Neil Genzlinger
In addition to his acclaimed turn as Roy Cohn on Broadway, he was known for his work in “Norma Rae,” “Slaughterhouse-Five” and other films.


Film and Television:

PF + MP: Marriage Story @ Paris Theater (Netflix Movie)



Post Script:

Michael’s Music Moment:


Coming Soon: 

Explicit: No


Maury Yeston’s Godspeed Titanic from OBC Titanic

Being Alive from Marriage Story

Being Alive from Patti LuPone Live!

Other Music: Memories from

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