This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

THE [title of show] SHOW VINEYARD THEATRE VIRTUAL VARIETY SHOW SHOW

title of show

Who: Bill Irwin, Judy Kuhn, Cheyenne Jackson, Linda Lavin, Leslie Odom Jr., Nicolette Robinson, Steven Pasquale, Kelli O’Hara, Phillipa Soo, Zachary Quinto, Brooke Shields, John Kander, Courtney Balan, Laura Benanti, Jeff Blumenkrantz, the Lopez Family Singers (Lindsay Anderson, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Annie Lopez, Bobby Lopez, Katie Lopez), Rick Lyon, Bob Mackie, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joe Morton, David Cale, Victoria Clark, Billy Crudup, Micaela Diamond, Rachel Dratch, Barrett Foa, Ryan J. Haddad, Christopher J. Hanke, Benjamin Howes, Julia Murney, Alex Newell, Nathan Salstone, Douglas Sills, Ryan Spahn, Michael Urie, more
What: Virtual gala variety show
Where: Vineyard Theatre Zoom
When: Saturday, May 30, minimum $25 donation in advance, 8:00
Why: The centerpiece of the Vineyard Theatre’s Campaign for Right Now fundraising initiative is “the [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show,” the online replacement for the canceled April 20 gala. The party, taking place May 30 at 8:00, features a reunion of the cast and creators of Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell’s Obie-winning musical [title of show], which opened at the Vineyard in February 2006, along with special guests. The online concert and variety show will be hosted by the original cast — Bell, Bowen, Susan Blackwell, and Heidi Blickenstaff — and will include appearances by Bob Mackie, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joe Morton, Bill Irwin, Judy Kuhn, Cheyenne Jackson, Linda Lavin, Leslie Odom Jr., Laura Benanti, Steven Pasquale, Kelli O’Hara, Billy Crudup, Phillipa Soo, Zachary Quinto, Brooke Shields, Douglas Sills, Rachel Dratch, Michael Urie, and more. In order to receive a link to the benefit, you must donate at least twenty-five dollars by May 30 at noon here. The proceeds go to the nonprofit Vineyard, helping to pay staff and artists during the lockdown.

BROADWAY ON DEMAND: A TOAST TO ALLEGIANCE

Sam Kimura (George Takei) remembers where it all went wrong with his sister (Lea Salonga) (photo by Matthew Murphy)

George Takei and others will discuss Allegiance in a virtual red carpet preceding streaming premiere (photo by Matthew Murphy)

Who: George Takei, Telly Leung, more
What: Online streaming of 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance
Where: Broadway on Demand
When: Friday, May 29, $14.99 with red carpet, $8.99 without, 7:30/8:00
Why: Beginning on May 29, Broadway on Demand will start streaming the 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance, about a Japanese American family that was forcefully removed from its homes and imprisoned in an internment camp. It was inspired by the real-life story of Star Trek veteran George Takei, who appeared in the show as the father. The presentation will stream for ten days, kicking off May 29 at 7:30 with a virtual red carpet featuring Takei, costar Telly Leung, and other members of the cast and creative team discussing the making of Allegiance. In my review, I wrote, “Takei, with his big, welcoming smile, riotous sense of humor, and fearlessness in standing up for what he believes in, is an inspiring American, and it is heartwarming watching him in such an important, if not completely successful, Broadway production, one that will very likely have you teary as you leave the theater.” Among the other events streaming at Broadway on Demand this month are Turn It Out with Tiler Peck, “The Producer’s Perspective with Lisa Kron,” “First Look: New Musicals with Jeanine Tesori, Kirsten Childs, and Ben Wexler,” Bandstand, “Bard & Brew,” and other live and prerecorded events, many of which are free with a basic subscription.

BROADWAY FANTASY CAMP: BROADWAY BANTER SAFE-AT-HOME

Jenn Colella (photo © Matthew Murphy)

Jenn Colella will Zoom in from home for Broadway Fantasy Camp (photo © Matthew Murphy)

Who: Laura Osnes, Telly Leung, Jenna Leigh Green, Santino Fontana, Jenn Colella, Lilli Cooper, Chilina Kennedy, Lesli Margherita, Karla Garcia, Corey Cott, more TBA
What: Broadway Fantasy Camp
Where: Broadway Fantasy Camp Zoom room
When: May 30 - July 1, $25
Why: Broadway Fantasy Camp usually takes place at Sardi’s, where fans can get up close and personal with some of their favorite stars. With the Great White Way dark because of the pandemic, one of the cornerstones of the annual event, now rechristened “Broadway Banter: Safe-at-Home,” has moved online, where you can spend an hour on Zoom with a Broadway star, joined by no more than forty-nine other guests. The performers will talk about their career, from their debut to onstage mishaps to how they are coping during the coronavirus crisis, followed by a Q&A, so have your questions ready. The sessions, which cost a mere $25 each, are scheduled for May 30 to July 1 and feature an impressive roster: Laura Osnes, Telly Leung, Jenna Leigh Green, Santino Fontana, Jenn Colella, Lilli Cooper, Chilina Kennedy, Lesli Margherita, Karla Garcia, and Corey Cott. For every twenty-five tickets sold, a free ticket will be donated to a hospital worker. “The Broadway community leads the way in being generous and sensitive to the human condition,” Broadway Fantasy Camp founder and producer Lauren Class Schneider said in a statement. “Broadway Fantasy Camp is humbled to include hospital workers in our audience as they continue to serve on the frontlines across the country and around the world.” Tony nominee Colella added, “I’m looking forward to creating a community through ‘Broadway Banter.’ It’s not just a Q&A session. . . . I want to hear my fans express in their own voices how they are feeling during this time and what they are doing to stay creative. I want us to create a dialogue together to lift one another up in this very strange time. The opportunity to ‘hang out’ with my fans and for them to get to know one another makes my heart soar.”

THE PAUL FEIG Z”L TIKKUN LEIL SHAVUOT: A CONVERSATION WITH UNORTHODOX CREATOR ANNA WINGER

Unorthodox

Unorthodox cocreator and writer Anna Winger will discuss the show during JCC overnight Shavuot celebration

Who: Anna Winger, many more
What: Live Q&A with series creator of Unorthodox
Where: Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
When: Thursday, May 28, free (donations accepted) with advance RSVP, midnight (Shavuot celebration runs May 28 at 9:00 pm to May 29 at 5:00 am)
Why: One of the runaway television hits of the pandemic has been Netflix’s Unorthodox, about a young married Orthodox woman in Brooklyn who runs away to Berlin to escape the suffocating life she is trapped in. The four-part series has led to the breakout success of Israeli actress Shira Haas, who has a smaller but critically significant role in the earlier Israeli series Shtisel, which also involves Orthodox marriage. Unorthodox was inspired by Deborah Feldman’s memoir Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots; while the Brooklyn segments of the show are based on the book, the Berlin sections are fictional. On May 28 at midnight, one of the writers and creators of the show, Anna Winger, who also wrote and created Deutschland 83 and Deutschland 86, will participate in a live Q&A during the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Paul Feig z”l Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

The celebration usually occurs overnight at the JCC on Amsterdam and Seventy-Sixth St. but has gone virtual in 2020. Among the dozens of other events, all free, are “Koolulam in Conversation” with Rabbi Joy Levitt at 9:00 pm, “Studying Harry Potter as a Sacred Text” with Casper ter Kuile at 10:00, “Reimaging Life, Loss, and Love during Covid-19: Text, Ritual, and Story to Lift Our Spirit” with Jeannie Blaustein, Rabbi Dr. Jenny Solomon, and Rabbi Sydney Mintz at 11:00, “Idan Raichel: Stories and Songs” at 1:00 am, “Franz Rosenzweig on the Notion of Revelation” with Rabbi Michael Paley at 2:00, “The History of Israeli Fashion: From the Kibbutz to Tel Aviv” with Liraz Cohen Mordechai at 3:00, and “Noa: A Closing Concert for Shavuot” at 4:00.

3Views VIRTUAL LAUNCH: THE HOT WING KING

(photo by Monique Carboni)

The cast of The Hot Wing King will reunite for launch of latest Signature Theatre online initiative (photo by Monique Carboni)

Who: Julia Jordan, Sarah Ruhl, Melissa Crespo, Katori Hall, Steve H. Broadnax III, cast of The Hot Wing King
What: Virtual launch of artist-driven theater publication
Where: Signature Theatre Zoom and Facebook
When: Wednesday, May 27, free with advance RSVP, 6:00
Why: The Signature Theatre continues its online programs with the launch of 3Views, a publication that will focus on shows that had to be shut down, postponed, or canceled because of the pandemic. On May 27 at 6:00, 3Views will do a deep dive on The Hot Wing King, which had to close more than a week before its scheduled date in March. I called Katori Hall’s play “a tantalizingly spicy, robust and savory contemporary comedy that sticks to your ribs like only the best, well, hot wings. . . . The show is not specifically about gay men, or black men, or gay black men; it’s about four friends coming together to reach a goal, attempting to fight off various obstacles that are out of their control.” The discussion will feature 3Views founding members and playwrights Julia Jordan and Sarah Ruhl, Signature resident playwright Hall, Hot Wing King director Steve H. Broadnax III, and the cast of the show (Toussaint Jeanlouis, Korey Jackson, Sheldon Best, Nicco Annan, Eric B. Robinson Jr., and. Cecil Blutcher), moderated by 3Views editor Melissa Crespo. Also coming up at the Signature are a SigSpace Arts Lunch with Margo Seibert on May 29 at noon and a SigSpace Summit on June 3 at 5:00 with Lauren Yee and Chhaya Chhoum.

BOOKEXPO ADULT BOOK & AUTHOR DINNER / CHILDREN’S BOOK & AUTHOR DINNER

author dinner

Who: Judy Blume, Natalie Portman, Misty Copeland, Raj Haldar, Marie Lu, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Carmen Maria Machado, Zerlina Maxwell, Joy Harjo
What: Annual events honoring adult and children’s book authors
Where: BookExpo Facebook
When: Wednesday, May 27, and Thursday, May 28, free, 5:30
Why: Two of the hottest tickets every year at BookExpo are the Adult Book & Author Breakfast and the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast. Because of the pandemic shutdown, the convention has moved online, and the breakfasts have become virtual dinners, taking place for free on May 27 and May 28 at 5:30. The adult celebration features Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Black Sun; Rep. Ilhan Omar (This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman); Carmen Maria Machado (The Low, Low Woods); Zerlina Maxwell (The End of White Politics — How to Heal Our Liberal Divide); and U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo (An American Sunrise). The participants for the children’s party are Oscar winner Natalie Portman (Natalie Portman’s Fables); ABT principal dancer Misty Copeland (Bunheads, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey); Raj Haldar, aka Lushlife, (No Reading Allowed); Marie Lu, (Skyhunter); Kwame Mbalia, (Tristan Strong Destroys the World); and Judy Blume, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. “This event showcases the diversity of genres, book types, authors, and publishers within the world of children’s and young adult literature,” BookExpo event director Jennifer Martin said in a statement. “We’re extraordinarily thrilled to have such a varied group of authors who will bring such unique and different perspectives to our show. We know all our attendees will walk away with valuable insights about how these books, and ones like them, can help their own bookstores, libraries, and retail shops.” BookExpo runs online May 26-29 with other free panel discussions, author talks, and showcases, followed May 30-31 by BookCon.

SPACEFEST AT HOME

SpaceFest

The American Museum of Natural History’s SpaceFest includes the live launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon

Who: Ruth Angus, Carter Emmart, Jackie Faherty, Neil deGrasse Tyson
What: Online celebration marking the first U.S. human mission to space in almost a decade
Where: American Museum of Natural History
When: Wednesday, May 27, free, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Why: On May 27, the SpaceX Crew Dragon will blast off from the Kennedy Space Center and head to the International Space Station. The American Museum of Natural History will celebrate the first U.S. human mission to space since the Atlantis in 2011 with SpaceFest, a trio of live family-friendly watch parties featuring special guests. Below is the schedule; attendance is free.

Wednesday, May 27
Scientists at Home: Imagining Space Exploration, with museum curator Ruth Angus and introducing the OLogy Challenge, 11:00 am

Field Trip: Spaceflight, virtual spaceflight with museum director of astrovisualization Carter Emmart and astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, 1:00

The Future of Space Exploration with Neil deGrasse Tyson, live launch with commentary from Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson and astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, 4:05