Watch Now: New York Lincoln Center’s THE NANCE – and a Bonus!

Douglas Carter Beane’s acclaimed Tony Award-nominated play The Nance, produced by Lincoln Center Theater, stars stage and screen actor Nathan Lane. The play tells of a headline “nance” in the twilight of New York burlesque’s era living and working in the secretive and dangerous world of 1930s New York.

Nathan Lane gives the performance of a lifetime as Chauncey Miles, who faces a changing world and his own self-loathing in 1930s New York. The play tells the story of a headline nance (a parody of a gay man) in the twilight of New York burlesque’s era, who is homosexual. Integrating burlesque sketches into his drama, Douglas Carter Beane paints the portrait of a homosexual man, living and working in the secretive and dangerous gay world of 1930s New York, whose outrageous antics on the burlesque stage stand in marked contrast to his offstage life.

With a touching love story at its core, the Tony Award-nominated play is also a fond and funny tribute to the golden age of burlesque. The play received five Tony Award nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Lane. In addition, the cast boasts Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman, Lewis J. Stadlen, Jenni Barber, and Jonny Orsini.

This recording of the 2014 production is available now, in fair quality from a third party source (as the Lincoln Center version is promoted but seems to be unavailable, despiet being announced back in June).

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to the Lincoln Center to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.

You can watch THE NANCE here

EXTRA BONUS – You can watch an After-show Discussion with Nathan Lane here

Thanks to the YouTube poster who made this possible.


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Watch Now: The Finborough’s DEATH OF A HUNTER

“When we die, what do we leave behind?”

Seen onstage in 2018, the Finborough’s UK and English language premiere of DEATH OF A HUNTER is now available to watch for free online until Wednesday 7th October.

Presented as a tribute to German playwright Rolf Hochhuth who died in May, DEATH OF A HUNTER is the fourth play by Hochhuth presented at the Finborough. This production opened on the author’s 87th birthday. As part of the Finborough’s own 40th birthday celebrations, the play stars Edmund Dehn who also appeared in the Finborough’s very first production back in 1980.

Unable to write anymore, Ernest Hemingway fights his last and loneliest battle as he tries to find the courage to commit suicide. He confronts his demons, questions old certainties and comes face to face with the ghosts of his past…

Clinically, precisely, harrowingly and in real time, radical German playwright Hochhuth explores the final hour in the life of an American icon, examining the cult of celebrity, the trappings of fame and “the ultimate futility with which we are all cursed and ‘blessed’”.

The show received many four-star notices and lasts approximately one hour. There is no guidance listed for this production.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.

You can watch DEATH OF A HUNTER here


Listen to Beside the Seaside – a nostalgic sound portrait of the Golden Age of UK holidays

Available to listen to now until September 1st is a jolly celebration of the British seaside in all its glory, a compilation of seaside-related material from the BBC Sound Archive.

Seaside entertainer Tony Lidington takes a trip to Brighton for BBC Radio 4 Extra and reflects how this city has inspired a wealth of seaside memories captured in the BBC Sound Archive.

Tony came to Brighton in the eighties as a student and set up his own Pierrot Troupe, The Pierroters, named after the rotting West Pier which was the subject of a Kaleidoscope feature made in 1995.

There are first hand memories of what it was like to go on a seaside holiday between the wars in a programme called ‘Sand Between the Toes’ made in 1984.

Tony meets Max Tyler, an expert on the Fol De Rols, and he and Tony hear them perform in an extraordinary piece of archive from 1937 when four of the shows hundreds of miles apart were brought together live by the magic of wireless.

There are also insights into Brighton’s very own Cheeky Chappie as Tony visits a Fish and Chip Shop in Brighton where the Max Miller Society has set up a museum.

‘Casting Shadows’ a wonderfully evocative play by Mark Burgess conjures up an imaginary meeting between the actor Laurence Oliver, playwright Terence Rattigan and Brighton’s famous seaside entertainer, Max Miller. Roy Hudd headlines as Miller.

Gavin Henderson, president of the National Piers Society, reveals that seaside piers were initially places of sophistication, almost the arts centres of their day, and Rachel Clark of the West Pier Trust looks to the future and the plans to create a new vertical Pier on Brighton seafront.

Tony celebrates the Great Days of the West Pier in his 1995 Archive Hour programme ‘Oh What a Lovely Pier!’ with contributions from the late Corin Redgrave among others.

The programmes featured within ‘4 Extra at the British Seaside’ in chronological order, with approximate timings are:
Pierrotters on Tour (from Kaleidoscope) – 8 minutes

Sand Between the Toes – Memories of Seaside holidays between the wars (1984) – 27 minutes

Casting Shadows, a play by Mark Burgess, starring Roy Hudd – 44 minutes

Oh What a Lovely Pier! (Archive Hour from 1995) – 56 minutes

This fascinating celebration can be heard at the BBC Sounds site until September 1st.

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Vote for new talent in The Stage’s Debut Award shortlist

The eagerly-awaited 2020 Debut Awards shortlist from theatrical newspaper The Stage always proves interesting.

You can have your say too- one of the categories – Best West End Debut Performer – can be voted on by theatre fans. This category is highlighted in purple below.

The Best West End Debut Performer, sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment, celebrates a performer’s first appearance in London’s West End. It is the only category where the winner is decided by public vote.  

The winners will be announced on Sunday, September 27th at The Stage Debut Awards in association with Access Entertainment, starting at 7pm BST. 

The awards will be presented as a virtual ceremony available to everyone for free. You can sign up here for details on how to watch

You can read my views later in this article, but first, here’s the complete shortlist :

Best Performer in a Play – sponsored by Audible

Saida Ahmed for Little Miss Burden at The Bunker, London
Katie Erich for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse  (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
Brooklyn Melvin for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon) Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London
Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Jessica Rhodes for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Khai Shaw for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Bobby Stallwood for Faith, Hope and Charity at the National Theatre, London  

Best Performer in a Musical

Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre, London
Lucy Anderson for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London
Chase Brown for Mame at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Oli Higginson for The Last Five Years at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Adriana Ivelisse for West Side Story at Curve, Leicester
Tom Noyes for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Bethany Tennick for Islander at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London

Best Director – sponsored by Smith & Williamson

Georgia Green for The Mikvah Project at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Martha Kiss Perrone for When It Breaks It Burns at the Battersea Arts Centre, London
Alex Sutton for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London 

Best Designer – sponsored by Robe Lighting

Liam Bunster (set and costume) for The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Andrew Exeter (lighting) for High Fidelity at the Turbine Theatre, London
Rose Revitt (set and costume) for Dr Korczak’s Example at Leeds Playhouse  

Best Composer or Lyricist 

Jim Barne and Kit Buchan for The Season at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Jherek Bischoff for The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the National Theatre, London
Robbie Williams for The Boy in the Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon 

Best Writer

Samuel Bailey for Shook at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Mari Izzard for Hela at The Other Room, Cardiff
Eleanor Tindall for Before I Was a Bear at The Bunker, London
Temi Wilkey for The High Table at the Bush Theatre, London (in a co-production with Birmingham Rep)

Best West End Debut Performer – sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment

Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre
David Mitchell for The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre
Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse
Samantha Pauly for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Wendell Pierce for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre
Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
Aimee Lou Wood for Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE HERE

Best Creative West End Debut – sponsored by the Noël Coward Foundation

Fabian Aloise (choreographer) for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Nadia Latif (director) for Fairview at the Young Vic Theatre
Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson (composer, lyricist and book) for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
Femi Temowo (composer) for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre and for Three Sisters at the National Theatre
David West Read (book) for & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre


MY VIEWS

My personal feelings are that Best Performer in a Play would be well awarded to Jessica Rhodes for fulfilling a very demanding role in a highly-complex, fascinating portrayal of a young woman approaching adulthood in THE SUGAR SYNDROME at the Orange Tree in Richmond (read my review here). Also highly recommended is Rachel Nwokoro; her performance in LITTLE BABY JESUS – also at the Orange Tree – was magnetic (see my review here)

As to Best Performer in a Musical, I enjoyed Chase Brown in MAME (see my review here), also Tom Noyes in PRELUDES (see my review here) and Bethany Tennick in ISLANDER (see my review here).

Best Director would be well awarded to Alex Sutton for the fascinating and mesmerising PRELUDES (see my review here).

Best Writer would, for me, be well awarded to Temi Wilkey for her highly ambitious look at family, identity and sexuality in the riveting THE HIGH TABLE at the Bush Theatre (see my review here)

Best Creative West End Debut would, for me, be well awarded to Nadia Latif for her audacious work on the highly-charged coup de theatre of FAIRVIEW at the Young Vic (see my review here)

And as to Best West End Debut Performer….well, why don’t YOU decide?

Congratulations to all shortlisted creatives! Roll on September 27th…..


Transport Group’s musical BROADBEND, ARKANSAS

From America, Transport Group is offering you a free performance of their world-premiere musical from 2019, BROADBEND, ARKANSAS.

In a remarkably timely offering, the show explores how a Black family grapples with decades of inequality, violence, and suppression in the American South. Benny, an orderly at a nursing home, delicately balances his role as a caregiver to an ornery white resident who shares a contentious past with his white boss while at the same time caring for his own family as the fight for equality grips the nation in the midst of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Thirty years later, his daughter, Ruby, struggles to understand an incident of police brutality against her 15-year-old son. This unique musical, spanning nearly half a century and three generations, asks us to contemplate the cycle of violence in this country and how we will find hope and create change against the backdrop of hate that plagues America.

Starring Justin Cunningham and Danyel Fulton with a libretto by Ellen Fitzhugh and Harrison David Rivers and music and additional lyrics by Ted Shen, the show was highly-praised upon its debut and earned a number of high-profile recommendations, including from The New York Times.

The performance lasts 90 minutes and is available online until the end of August 16th (US time). The performance is offered free but you must register in order to gain access.

Transport Group ask that if you enjoy this streaming presentation, in lieu of a ticketing fee, please give what you are able, to financially support Black Theatre Network

HEADS- UP NOTES – You must register to receive a unique access code to view the recording. This access code will be valid for 48 hours from the time of registering. Just so you know!

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