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Jonathan Mandell

Jonathan Mandell, a proud member of the American Theatre Critics Association has written about the theater for a range of publications, including Playbill, American Theatre Magazine, the New York Times, Newsday, Backstage, NPR.com and CNN.com. He currently blogs at New York Theater and tweets as @NewYorkTheater.

The Boys in the Band and the Limitations of Gay History on Stage
Essay

The Boys in the Band and the Limitations of Gay History on Stage

7 June 2018

Jonathan Mandell writes about The Boys in the BandThe Gentleman Caller, and 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous, and discusses their portrayal of gay male characters.

Broadway in a Year of Reckoning
Essay

Broadway in a Year of Reckoning

3 May 2018

New York critic Jonathan Mandell gives us a glimpse at the recently ended Broadway season, and reflects on how these shows have handled the past as a way to adapt to our current sociopolitical moment.

Symphonie Fantastique and the Triumph and Trap of Puppetry
Essay

Symphonie Fantastique and the Triumph and Trap of Puppetry

5 April 2018

Jonathan Mandell reflects on the twentieth anniversary production of Basil Twist's Symphonie Fastastique at HERE Arts Center in New York City.

Black Pain On Stage
Essay

Black Pain On Stage

1 March 2018

Jonathan Mandell looks at several current plays that depict violence by or against African Americans, including  LeKethia Dalcoe's A Small Oak Tree Runs Red, Gabriel Jason Dean's Terminus, and Althea Harris's Is God Is.

Hastened by Technology, Hindered by Public Attitudes
Essay

Hastened by Technology, Hindered by Public Attitudes

7 February 2018

Jonathan Mandell reports on the accessibility panel at BroadwayCon, which explained the forthcoming changes aiming toward a future theatre seamlessly accessible for everyone, all the time.

Do Words Matter on Stage?
Essay

Do Words Matter on Stage?

1 February 2018

Jonathan Mandell looks at six theatre pieces in January that used words in unorthodox ways—as gibberish, or out-of-sync with the action; some didn’t use words at all.

Theatre and Resistance
Essay

Theatre and Resistance

Ten Things You Can Do

25 January 2018

Jonathan Mandell reports on the Martin Segal Theatre Center's 2018 Theatre and Resistance Symposium, and lists ten things theatre community can do right now to make a change.

A Room in India
Essay

A Room in India

If All Theatres were Demolished, Would Anybody Care?

4 January 2018

This month Jonathan Mandell looks at A Room in India by French company Théâtre du Soleil, which considers the question ‘If all theatres were demolished tomorrow, would anybody miss them, and for how long?’

Tennessee Williams, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Cockroaches Glass Guignol
Essay

Tennessee Williams, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Cockroaches Glass Guignol

The Brother and Sister Play

7 December 2017

Jonathan Mandell gets a grip on Glass Guignol: The Brother and Sister Play, a mashup with Tennessee Williams, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and cockroaches—the debut production at the Mabou Mines Theater.

Will Future Storytelling Include Live Theatre?
Essay

Will Future Storytelling Include Live Theatre?

15 November 2017

Jonathan Mandell looks at the Future of Storytelling festival in Staten Island, New York, which featured exhibits, productions, and performances using virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality techniques and technology.

When the Playwright Has an Agenda
Essay

When the Playwright Has an Agenda

2 November 2017

Jonathan Mandell takes on two recent plays based on real events, considering productions of Ferguson and The Siege.

Caregivers on Stage
Essay

Caregivers on Stage

Mary Jane, The Treasurer, The Cost of Living

5 October 2017

Jonathan Mandell looks at three plays about caregiving on stage recently in New York.

Dramatizing Dystopia
Essay

Dramatizing Dystopia

7 September 2017

Jonathan Mandell runs down the recent past and present dramatization of dystopian novels on stage, including 1984, and asks whether what’s on stage is reflected in the political era that we are in now.

Antigone in Ferguson
Essay

Antigone in Ferguson

Dramatizing the Divide between Law Enforcement and Community

3 August 2017

Jonathan Mandell writes about Theater of War’s production of Antigone in Ferguson in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Politics, Propaganda, and Aesthetics
Essay

Politics, Propaganda, and Aesthetics

Sorting through Building the Wall

4 June 2017

Jonathan Mandell compares the countrywide reaction to the anti-Trump play Building the Wall with its reception in New York, where it's closing a month early.

Power Struggle on Broadway
Essay

Power Struggle on Broadway

Escapist vs. Socially Conscious Shows in the 2016–17 Season

4 May 2017

Jonathan Mandell looks at the Broadway season that just ended, dividing it into escapist entertainment and socially engaged theatre, and wondering which is more needed in times like these.

Come From Away
Essay

Come From Away

Resenting the Decency in This 9/11 Musical

6 April 2017

 Jonathan Mandell considers his own and other reactions to the Broadway musical Come From Away, which have as much to do with what's happening in the world as on stage.

In Defense of Late Career Playwrights
Essay

In Defense of Late Career Playwrights

Mamet's The Penitent and McNally's Penitent

2 March 2017

Jonathan Mandell compares The Penitent by David Mamet with Penitent by Terrance McNally, and argues that neither late-career playwright has anything for which to apologize.

The N-Word on Stage
Essay

The N-Word on Stage

9 February 2017

In light of a recent controversy at a New Jersey high school, Jonathan Mandell talks to theatre artists about their views on using or not using the n-word in shows.

China on Stage
Essay

China on Stage

3 February 2017

Jonathan Mandell digs into three recent productions in New York City—Made in ChinaConfucius, and Caught—that explore US-China relations.

Staged Resistance
Essay

Staged Resistance

19 January 2017

On the eve of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, Jonathan Mandell looks at how the political resistance of theatre artists is playing out on and off stage in New York.

Rethinking Immersive Theatre
Essay

Rethinking Immersive Theatre

Inside the Wild Heart of Clarice Lispector

5 January 2017

Jonathan Mandell reflects on what makes immersive theatre, through the lens of Inside the Wild Heart, Group .BR’s immersive show about the late Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector.

The Trump Effect
Essay

The Trump Effect

1 December 2016

Jonathan Mandell asks how perceptions of theatre have changed since November 8 and if and how theatre itself will change as a result of the new regime.

Death and Disenfranchisement
Essay

Death and Disenfranchisement

Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes from the Field

8 November 2016

Jonathan Mandell reviews Anna Deavere Smith’s latest solo performance piece, which presents seventeen real-life characters to establish a connection between school failure, the prison system, and police killings.

Politics and Theatre
Essay

Politics and Theatre

Does Each Serve the Other? Presidential Candidates on Stage

6 October 2016

Jonathan Mandell looks at some recent plays that explore this wackiest of election seasons in novel ways, and asks: Is mockery proper...or even possible?