PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 4-10: Holler If Ya Hear Me and The Curious Incident Coming to Broadway; Shakespeare and Glass Menagerie Recoup

By Robert Simonson
10 Jan 2014

Edward Albee
And, unsurprisingly, tourists accounted for 66 percent of all Broadway tickets sold, up three percent from the 2011-12 season. International tourists accounted for 23 percent of those attending Broadway shows, which equalled 2.6 million tickets.

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What with the success of Sleep No More and Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, environmental theatre is all the rage right now.

And now comes The New Brooklyn Theater's site-specific production of Edward Albee's seldom-seen short play The Death of Bessie Smith, which will play inside Interfaith Medical Center. Smith died in 1937 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in Mississippi. Albee's play is based on the now-discredited story that Smith died because she was refused treatment at a whites-only hospital.



But the production hopes to make a different, more contemporary point about medical care among minorities. Press notes pointed out that "Interfaith Medical Center, located in Bed-Stuy, is one of several hospitals throughout Brooklyn in danger of imminent closure. Despite the efforts of the Bed-Stuy community and its allies in labor and government rallying to its defense, Interfaith may have to shut its doors, literally any day now, if mediation in bankruptcy court is unsuccessful. The public is invited to consider whether that is how public health decisions affecting hundreds of thousands should be made."

The production is the first New York revival of the play in 46 years. Directed by Jonathan Solari, artistic director of New Brooklyn Theater, performances continue through Jan. 19.

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Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams are moneymakers.

News came this week that The Shakespeare's Globe productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III have recouped their $3.1 million capitalization costs.

Also, the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, which opened Sept. 26, 2013, starring Cherry Jones, has recouped its initial investment of $2.6 million.