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    Netflix Becomes a Broadway Producer With Peter Morgan’s ‘Patriots’

    The streamer is co-producing a play about Putin’s Russia from the creator of “The Crown” while also developing a screen adaptation.Netflix, the streaming behemoth that has evolved from mailing out DVDs in red envelopes to becoming a hugely important player in the entertainment industry, is embarking on a new adventure: producing on Broadway.The company will pick up its first Broadway credit this spring as a producer of “Patriots,” by Peter Morgan, the creator of the hit Netflix series “The Crown.” The new play is about an oligarch who was an early supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia but then fell out with him and wound up dead.Even before “Patriots” begins its Broadway previews on April 1, Netflix is already in the early stages of developing a screen adaptation of the story, according to Emily Feingold, a Netflix spokeswoman.“Patriots” will be Netflix’s first Broadway credit, but not its first stage venture. The company is actively involved as a producer of “Stranger Things: The First Shadow,” a play now running in London that is a prequel of sorts to the popular Netflix streaming series. The “Stranger Things” production is expected to come to Broadway, but the timing and other specifics are unknown.Netflix’s foray into Broadway producing comes at a time when the entertainment industry has been aggressively working to monetize intellectual property — adapting popular titles and franchises on many different platforms, including not only film, television and stage but also books, video games and immersive experiences.Broadway has long had the attention of Hollywood studios — Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal have been particularly active in pursuing stage adaptations of their films. And for some time now, the recording industry has been actively involved on Broadway, seeing the stage as another way to repurpose pop song catalogs.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    In ‘The Effect,’ Investigating Love and Other Drugs

    The world of experimental medical research might not seem like it has much to say to the world of theater, but Lucy Prebble sees connections. Both require subjects and observers, both take place within a carefully controlled environment and both depend on a certain amount of luck.“The more I thought about it, the more I thought, ‘That’s kind of what we do,’” said Prebble, a British playwright and screenwriter.In 2006, Prebble became fascinated with one botched medical trial in particular, in which six healthy young Britons experienced multiple organ failure after taking a novel drug. The incident partly inspired “The Effect,” Prebble’s play about two participants in a drug trial that alters the course of their lives. First produced in 2012 at the National Theater in London (and performed in New York at the Barrow Street Theater in 2016), it was revived there last fall and will come to New York on March 3 for a limited engagement at the Shed.Like the London revival, the New York run will star Paapa Essiedu (“I May Destroy You,” “Black Mirror”) and Taylor Russell (“Waves,” “Bones and All”) as Tristan and Connie, two people from different class backgrounds with near opposite personalities who are given an antidepressant with the potential to induce feelings of love. When the drug proves stronger than expected — testing the boundary between love and mania — the trial’s administrators (played by Michele Austin and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) struggle to keep it from spinning out of control.“I couldn’t quite work out whether it was a tragedy or a triumph,” Essiedu said of the play. “Even now, having done it for two months, I never quite settle on what I believe.”Kalpesh Lathigra for The New York Times“They know what they feel but they don’t know why they feel it,” Essiedu said of Tristan and Connie. “Are they experiencing something that’s 1 in 1 billion? Or will it be here today and gone tomorrow?”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    John Patrick Shanley on ‘Doubt’ Revival and ‘Brooklyn Laundry’

    The playwright discusses the Broadway revival of “Doubt” and his latest, “Brooklyn Laundry.” “People are disagreeing violently with themselves,” he says.In a life of feeling things incredibly deeply, John Patrick Shanley has experienced some thrilling highs: the rapturous audience response in 1984 to “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea,” his first success as a playwright; accepting an Academy Award in 1988 for best screenplay for “Moonstruck.”Add to that list the thrill of discovering the luxury of drop-off laundry. “I was like 35 years old, and I was in Poughkeepsie,” Shanley said in a phone interview during a rehearsal break last month. “I went in to do my laundry, and after a couple of questions, I realized that they would do it for me, fold it and give it back to me. And I was like, ‘This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened in my life.’”Shanley’s latest play, “Brooklyn Laundry,” is about sacrifice and everyday heroism that begins with a character placing her “bag of rags” on the scale at a laundromat. Opening on Wednesday at New York City Center, it is the 13th play the playwright has premiered with the Manhattan Theater Club. “There’s an incredible flair, intelligence, grace and humor to his work,” said Lynne Meadow, the theater company’s artistic director. Most of all, she added, “he writes with such humanity, and so personally.”“Brooklyn Laundry,” whose cast includes Cecily Strong and David Zayas, is also part of an unofficial triptych of Shanley plays this season. In January, an Off Broadway revival of “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea,” starring Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott, concluded a successful run at the Lucille Lortel Theater. On March 7, the first Broadway revival of his Pulitzer Prize-winning 2004 play, “Doubt,” about a priest who may or may not have molested a child, opens in a Roundabout Theater Company production led by Liev Schreiber and Amy Ryan.David Zayas and Cecily Strong in “Brooklyn Laundry,” Shanley’s latest play. It opens Wednesday in a Manhattan Theater Club production.Sara Krulwich/The New York TimesIn a conversation that touched on all three plays, Shanley revealed that the accidental retrospective isn’t the only reason his life has been flashing before his eyes recently. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    ‘Water for Elephants’ Brings the Circus to Broadway

    At the sound of a gunshot, a performer, wreathed in white silks, tumbles from the ceiling. His body somersaults, over and over, faster and faster, until it hangs suspended, just above the stage floor. This scene, in the first act of “Water for Elephants,” a new musical that begins previews Feb. 24 at the Imperial Theater, portrays the death of an injured horse. And it captures the singular methods of the show — a synthesis of theater and circus, bedazzled for a Broadway audience.“In musicals, you talk until you have to sing and you sing until you have to dance,” Jessica Stone, the director of “Water for Elephants,” explained. “And in our case, you dance until you have to leap into the air.”With a book by Rick Elice, and music and lyrics by PigPen Theater Co., the musical is based on Sara Gruen’s 2006 novel, which also inspired a 2011 film. Set in the 1930s and in the very early 2000s, it centers on the memories of Jacob Jankowski (Grant Gustin, playing the younger version, and Gregg Edelman as the elder), a veterinarian who recalls the long-ago days when he hopped a train and fell in with the members of the Benzini Brothers circus, a ragtag outfit that crisscrossed the country delivering low-rent, high-excitement marvels.“You wanna feel something/You know is real, something/beyond the paler things,” the chorus sings in the opening number, describing the promise of the big top.Antoine Boissereau’s aerial silk performance in which he portrays the death of a horse during the song “Easy.”That promise is kept by the ensemble’s seven dedicated circus performers, as well as two swings, many of them veterans of the 7 Fingers circus company. Shana Carroll, a founding director of that company, was tasked with circus design. (With Jesse Robb, she is also the show’s co-choreographer.) In their initial meetings before the show’s premiere last summer in Atlanta, Carroll and Stone agreed that the circus stunts should never appear without cause. They had to tell the story (as in a scene set during a Benzini show) or enhance moments of high emotion (as in the case of the horse).We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Reviving ‘The Wiz’ Through ‘the Blackest of Black Lenses’

    Schele Williams first saw “The Wiz” when a tour of the original Broadway production came through Dayton, Ohio. She was 7 years old, and recalled it being the most “beautiful reflection of Blackness that I had never seen.”Years later, she was cast as Dorothy in a high school production of “The Wiz,” and the thrill of that experience led Williams to pursue a career in musical theater. She even used the show’s soaring finale, “Home,” as one of her audition songs.Now, after working on Broadway as an actor (“Aida”) and an associate director (“Motown”), she is directing the first Broadway revival of “The Wiz” in almost 40 years. It’s a chance, Williams said, to celebrate what “The Wiz” has meant to her and to pass the story along to her daughters.Since becoming a Broadway hit in 1975, “The Wiz,” a gospel, soul and R&B take on Dorothy’s adventures in Oz, largely composed by Charlie Smalls, with a book by William F. Brown, has been a vibrant cornerstone of Black culture. The show blends Afrofuturism with classic Americana to enact a sort of creative reparation, reframing an allegory about perseverance and self-determination to feature Black characters who, in the ’70s, had rarely appeared in popular children’s stories.The 1978 Motown film adaptation, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, was a critical and box-office flop. But the movie has been a trippy favorite of family living rooms for multiple generations, and the musical has remained a staple on local stages around the country.“The weight of that is not lost on me,” said Williams.The new production of “The Wiz,” beginning previews on March 29 at the Marquis Theater, arrives in New York after a 13-city national tour that began in September. The creative team said its goal is to celebrate both the property’s legacy and the richness of Black American history and culture.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Amy Herzog on Adapting Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ for Broadway

    At a rehearsal for “An Enemy of the People,” a Broadway revival of the 1882 play, the actor Jeremy Strong paced around an auditorium, wearing pants that were damp from kneeling in ice.As Thomas Stockmann, a doctor who tries in vain to warn his Norwegian coastal community about contamination in the town’s springs, Strong looked shaken, but hopeful. “We just have to imagine that the water will be clean and safe and the truth will be valued,” said Strong, known for playing the fragile yet ruthless media executive Kendall Roy on four seasons of “Succession.” “We just have to imagine.”To anyone intimately familiar with “An Enemy of the People,” written by Henrik Ibsen, those lines might sound slightly off key. Ibsen ended the play on a more defiant note, with the doctor boasting that he is the strongest man in the world, because the strongest are those who stand alone.“That didn’t resonate with me at all,” said Amy Herzog, who wrote the new adaptation, which is scheduled to begin performances on Tuesday.Herzog watches a rehearsal of “An Enemy of the People,” which stars Jeremy Strong, right, opposite Michael Imperioli, left.Caroline Tompkins for The New York TimesInstead of ending with Ibsen’s image of a lonely, heroic truth-teller, she changed it. And it isn’t the first time she’s boldly revamped his work.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    On the Road With ‘The Outsiders,’ Where the Greasers and Socs Rumbled

    In denim and leather and newly acquired vintage snakeskin boots, the cast and creative team bringing “The Outsiders” to Broadway went on a trip across Tulsa, Okla., last month — a granular, history-flecked tour of the place where, about 60 years earlier, S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age story was written and set. Hinton, 75 and still a beloved local, was a star attraction; the visit was a way of mapping out how the new musical version might fit into, or even build on, the durable legacy of “The Outsiders.”Bouncing along together in a van, singing bits of the show’s score, the company members let out a collective gasp as they caught sight of the enormous Admiral Twin Drive-In. Hinton watched double features there as a kid, and it figured prominently in her 1967 novel. The theater, whose midcentury-style signage remains, also served as a location for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 movie adaptation, whose stars included Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.Sky Lakota-Lynch (Johnny Cade), Jason Schmidt (Sodapop Curtis), Brent Comer (Darrel Curtis) and Daryl Tofa (Two-Bit Mathews) hang outside the Admiral Twin Drive-In.Joshua Boone (Dallas Winston), Lakota-Lynch and Schmidt. “‘Outsiders’ is the first novel I read, front to back,” Boone said. Brody Grant (Ponyboy Curtis), Kevin William Paul (Bob Sheldon) and Emma Pittman (Cherry Valance). “Yo, there’s a plaque back here,” someone shouted, and seven guys plus one young woman raced across the muddy off-season field to giddily read about when Greasers and Socials ruled that very spot. Then they popped behind the concessions stand and pretended to pull sodas at the counter. “The Outsiders” still sells out weekends at the Admiral, with more than 1,200 cars lining up.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    What to Know About This Crazily Crowded Broadway Spring Season

    Why are 18 shows opening in March and April, and which one is for you? Our theater reporter has answers.Is Broadway facing a bonanza or a blood bath?The next two months are jam-packed with new productions — 18 are scheduled to open in March and April — while the industry is still struggling to adapt to the new, and more challenging, realities of a postpandemic theater era.For potential ticket buyers, there will be a dizzying array of options. In early April, about 38 shows should be running on Broadway (the exact number depends on unexpected closings or openings between now and then).“From a consumer point of view, we’re excited about the amount of choice there is on Broadway,” said Deeksha Gaur, the executive director of TDF, the nonprofit that runs the discount TKTS booths. Anticipating that bewildered tourists will need help figuring out what shows to see, TDF is already dispatching red-jacketed staffers to preview performances and updating a sprawling cheat sheet as the employees brace for questions on what the new shows are about and who is in them.But the density of late-season openings — 11 plays and musicals over a nine-day stretch in late April — has producers and investors worried about how those shows will find enough ticket buyers to survive.“On the one hand, how incredible that our industry perseveres, and that there is so much new work on Broadway,” said Rachel Sussman, one of the lead producers of “Suffs,” a musical about women’s suffrage that is opening in mid-April.“On the other hand,” Sussman added, “we’re still recovering from the pandemic, and audiences are not back in full force, so there is industrywide anxiety about whether we have the audience to sustain all of these shows. It’s one of those things that only time will tell.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More