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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.

Hamilton
Essay

Hamilton

Five Ways Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip-Hopped History Musical Breaks New Ground

5 March 2015

There is a sense that this piece somehow transcends theatre even as it embodies it—or, as Hamilton puts it: “This is not a moment, it’s a movement.”

Audience Participation
Essay

Audience Participation

Do Taylor Mac et al Tickle or Terrify?

5 February 2015

"Audience participation" is a vague term, like much of theatrical terminology; it has come to mean different things to different people... What happens when the audience participates by becoming performers—without volunteering to do so?

Can A Play Explain The Muslim Diaspora? Nadia Parvez Manzoor’s Burq Off
Essay

Can A Play Explain The Muslim Diaspora? Nadia Parvez Manzoor’s Burq Off

13 January 2015

Some could argue that a play like Burq Off is not the right place to begin to understand the world of the Muslim Diaspora in Europe... But Manzoor herself provides some of that context, throwing statistics into her monologues almost as if her drama were a form of journalism.

10 Questions Provoked by Peter Pan Live! and Into The Woods
Essay

10 Questions Provoked by Peter Pan Live! and Into The Woods

Is Hate-Tweeting Healthy? What’s the Lesson for Theatre?

7 January 2015

Jonathan Mandell looks at the questions raised by stage-to-screen adaptations, and wonders what theatre can learn from these successes.

Does God Exist On Stage? Theater and Religion
Essay

Does God Exist On Stage? Theater and Religion

23 December 2014

Could the theater offer to both theater artists and theatergoers a kind of substitute for the awe they felt as children towards a religion that they no longer can as readily accept intellectually or morally?

The New Freak Shows
Essay

The New Freak Shows

11 December 2014

Are we free to gawk again? That’s what Broadway audiences are doing during the revival of The Elephant Man, one of several stage shows and television series that are bringing attention back to the freak show.

Theater about Theater
Essay

Theater about Theater

11 November 2014

Jonathan Mandell takes a look at Broadway revivals about the theatre, contrasting them with a production of Six Characters in Search of an Author.

Leslie Odom Jr. And His Three Rules for “Getting Into The Room” as a Professional Performer
Essay

Leslie Odom Jr. And His Three Rules for “Getting Into The Room” as a Professional Performer

16 October 2014

1.) Never wait for permission to practice your art. You cannot wait to get a job to be an artist. 2.) Study your art. Never stop studying. 3.) Find a spiritual practice that works for you.

Intimacy and the Theater
Essay

Intimacy and the Theater

2 October 2014

Jonathan Mandell writes about the intimacy of Scenes From A Marriage, Love Letters, This is Our Youth, and I Am Me

All the World on Stage In One Neighborhood? 2014 Theater
Essay

All the World on Stage In One Neighborhood? 2014 Theater

Village Festival

18 September 2014

Jonathan Mandell writes about the second Theater: Village Festival in NYC.

A.R. Gurney
Essay

A.R. Gurney

Saved by Off-Off Broadway, Back on Broadway with Love Letters

4 September 2014

Jonathan Mandell covers the beginnings and career of playwright A.R. Gurney, as serveral of his plays are presented in New York's 2014-15 season. Mandell includes quotes from Gurney about Broadway, making old scripts work in new ways, and advice for young playwrights.

The Seven Secret Ingredients of The New York International Fringe Festival
Essay

The Seven Secret Ingredients of The New York International Fringe Festival

7 August 2014

Jonathan Mandell writes about seven tropes of the NY Fringe Festival, highlighting productions which fit into the reoccuring genres.

Is Orange The New Black? The Truth Behind Prison Shows
Essay

Is Orange The New Black? The Truth Behind Prison Shows

3 July 2014

Jonathan Mandell writes about Joseph Assadourian, his solo performance The Bullpen  based on his 12 years in jail — and how his narrative counters sensationalized prison dramas.

Is Diversity A Codeword for Exclusion?
Essay

Is Diversity A Codeword for Exclusion?

11 June 2014

Jonathan Mandell offers his opinions on dviersity in theatre. 

The Broadway Season Seen Through Its Cross-Dressing
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The Broadway Season Seen Through Its Cross-Dressing

5 June 2014

Jonathan Mandell looks at the 2013-2014 Broadway season and the six productions which featured men cross-dressing

Carrie Robbins, from celebrated Broadway Costume Designer to Determined Off-Off Broadway Playwright
Essay

Carrie Robbins, from celebrated Broadway Costume Designer to Determined Off-Off Broadway Playwright

20 May 2014

Jonathan Mandell writes about the life of prolific costume designer Carrie Robbins, and her new ambitions as adaptor and playwright.

Tony Snubs, Pulitzer Flubs, Theater Award Excitement
Essay

Tony Snubs, Pulitzer Flubs, Theater Award Excitement

1 May 2014

Jonathan Mandell looks at the phenomenon of "snubs" in theatre awards today and throughout history, touching on the complexities of nominating committees.

Sex, Death, Marriage, Greed and Football
Essay

Sex, Death, Marriage, Greed and Football

Texas Playwright Kirk Lynn in New York

22 April 2014

Jonathan Mandell overviews five eclectic works by Texas playwright Kirk Lynn.

The Broadway Effect in Rocky, Aladdin, Les Miz
Essay

The Broadway Effect in Rocky, Aladdin, Les Miz

3 April 2014

Jonathan Mandell looks at reocurring devices and techniques of spectacle in Broadway productions.

How a Non-Political Play Can Create Political Theater
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How a Non-Political Play Can Create Political Theater

6 March 2014

Jonathan Mandell looks at New Brooklyn Theatre's production of The Death of Bessie Smith, and the ways theatre sparks political change.

10 Lessons for Theater, from TEDxBroadway 2014
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10 Lessons for Theater, from TEDxBroadway 2014

26 February 2014

The question from TEDxBroadway 2014: How do you make the magic of theatre?

The Group Theatre, Revisited
Essay

The Group Theatre, Revisited

6 February 2014

Jonathan Mandell writes about the NYC-based ReGroup Theater, and their exploration of the Group Theatre, founded by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg

9 Questions that August
Essay

9 Questions that August

Osage County and The Sound Of Music Provoke About Theater

6 January 2014

Regular contributor Jonathan Mandell delves into the worlds of August Osage County and The Sound of Music Live to discuss theater's relevancy – and whether we can count televised adaptions as theater.

Why Are So Many Stage Accents So Terrible?
Essay

Why Are So Many Stage Accents So Terrible?

20 December 2013

Jonathan Mandell sets out to figure out just why so many stage accents fall flat for him. What is it about the theater that breeds these mistakes? And what can we learn from the film industry?

8 Ways Television Is Influencing Theater
Essay

8 Ways Television Is Influencing Theater

16 October 2013

Jonathan Mandell shares insight on how television is influencing theatre.