Wait For Me: Hadestown, A Show You Should Not Wait to See 

These days, being a proud theater kid is not for the weak-egoed. I’ve learned that there is a certain kind of pride you must set aside to embrace the wonderful world of musical theater. Over winter break, my friend and I purchased two orchestra seats to Hadestown on a whim in order to take advantage of Broadway’s two for one deal which promptly rolled out after the holiday tourist rush. Though I had most certainly heard of the show, I went into Hadestown mostly blind. The one thing I was not blind to was the fact that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before actor, “Elsa please I know you’re in there” singer and all-around icon Jordan Fisher is in it, and just for him, I was excited enough.

Smart People: What We Talk About When We Talk About Race

“Maybe it’s a fact we all should face / everyone makes judgments based on race”. This lyric, from the musical Avenue Q, was one of the first things that popped into my mind as I walked out of Smart People at the Kitchen Theatre — a play that delves unreservedly into the difficult, yet ever so relevant conversation of race, prejudice and, most importantly, our fear of that conversation itself. Written by the award-winning playwright Lydia R. Diamond and directed by the talented Summer L. Williams from Company One Theatre in Boston, Smart People is wildly funny, gripping and remarkably thought-provoking at its core. It dares us into the daunting task of thoroughly reevaluating ourselves and the world around us. With an innovative opening sequence involving projections of various news headlines and the voice recording of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign announcement, the play unfolds around four main characters: Brian, a white neuroscience professor at Harvard who has dedicated himself to finding a neurological explanation for racism and prejudice; Ginny, Brian’s fellow psychology professor at Harvard who studies and counsels Asian American women suffering from anxiety and depression; Jackson, Brian’s best friend, a black surgeon in residency; And Valerie, a young black actress who participates in Brian’s study and later works for him as a research assistant.

TEST SPIN: Various Artists — The Hamilton Mixtpe

Hamilton… a mere mention of its name opens a bevy of conversation. But really, what more can be said about ten-dollar founding father, that has not already been said? Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Broadway behemoth already has a Grammy Award-Winning soundtrack that reached #1 on the Rap Albums chart (apparently the first cast album to ever do so), and its shows have been consistently sold out, with some re-sale tickets going upwards of $2,000. Yet Miranda’s involvement with recent films like Star Wars The Force Awakens and Moana, seemed to signal his departure from the musical.

DOOLITTLE | History Has Its Eyes on You: Revisionism on Stage

By SEAN DOOLITTLE

On the eve of the Battle of Yorktown, George Washington sang a few words of advice to the newly promoted Alexander Hamilton: “You have no control, who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” Or, at least, that’s what Hamilton composer-star Lin-Manuel Miranda thought George Washington should have said, because it’s a really great thematic through line for a musical about their lives. The scene itself is an introspective, even self-referential moment for a show that literally tells a story about people who have no control over the narrative. Yes, I’m talking about Hamilton in another column. Get over it. Ponder the phrase “historical fiction.” It sounds like an oxymoron, an innate paradox at first glance.

DOOLITTLE | I Hope I Get It: The Accessibility of Broadway

By SEAN DOOLITTLE

At the beginning of the 65th Tony Awards ceremony, Neil Patrick Harris sang “Broadway has never been broader, it’s not just for gays anymore!” and a wave of heterosexuals suddenly flooded Manhattan, from 40th all the way up to 54th. It was a lovely little song for “those who’ve never seen theatre before,” but who have somehow found themselves spending a Sunday evening watching the most niche awards show on broadcast television, next to the CMAs; A signal of inclusivity to come for one of the most exclusive spheres of the arts. Of course, straight folks never really need to worry about being included in anything, anyway. Broadway has never had an issue with sexual orientation to begin with, save the relative invisibility of lesbian women on and off stage (which warrants a future column at some point). No, the real divide between theatregoers and non-theatregoers has always been one of status and class.

A Bad Hair Day

After a few days under the sun searching for seashells in the sands of Sanibel Island, Florida, I returned to my native New York to do what I always do on break: go to the theater with my mom and aunt. Sadly, it was a total bust this time around.