Toby Zinman reports monthly for Philly theater fans about what’s new and next on New York’s theater scene.

Save these dates

  • Broadway has another starry show waiting in the wings: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is in previews, opening on May 30. Starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon (a combo with charisma to burn), the revival of this sexy play by Terrence McNally will be the playwright’s 25th Broadway production. (At the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St.)
  • Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park is back for another free season at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. This year’s offerings are Much Ado About Nothing (May 21- June 23) and Coriolanus (July 16-Aug. 11). You’ll need to register in advance for a public theater patron ID at Same-day tickets are available at the park (first come, first served, starting at noon) through a digital lottery (enter starting at midnight), or via an in-person lottery at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. (signups at 11 a.m.)
  • Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein) plays an “In Residence on Broadway” gig at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 W. 46th St.) on June 17 and 18. Expect personal stories and unscripted comedy.

Shakespeare, with beer

The New York Shakespeare Exchange organizes ShakesBEER pub crawls, wherein actors perform scenes from Shakespeare at a succession of bars. The next one is from 3 to 6 p.m. May 18 beginning at the Gaf (401 W. 48th St.), in Hell’s Kitchen.

Tickets are $49 and include four drinks (beer, wine, and select cocktails), or you can buy $25 admission-only tickets using the discount code “SOBER.” Details are at

James Corden’s other YouTube series

As theater geeks likely know by now, the 2019 Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast at 8 p.m. June 9 on CBS with James Corden hosting. The Late Late Show host, famous for “Carpool Karaoke,” also has a hilarious YouTube series of “Crosswalk Musicals,” featuring traffic-stopping scenes from shows like Grease, Cats, On the Town, Phantom of the Opera, and more.

Hugh Jackman. Zendaya, and Zac Efron costar with Cordon in an especially funny entry filmed in the crosswalk at 53rd and Broadway just before the movie musical The Greatest Showman opened in 2017. Cars are honking and taxi drivers are glowering, and some ordinary New Yorkers are ignoring it all with their usual nothing-shocks-me sangfroid.

FDNY’s Tony

And speaking of Tony Awards, a special Tony Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to the men and women of FDNY’s Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battalion 9, on Eighth Avenue between 48th Street and 49th Street in the heart of the Theater District.

The company, established in 1865, is an integral part of the theater community, conducting fire inspections in each of the Broadway theaters and having one of the fastest response times in the city.

The “Pride of Midtown” lost 15 firefighters on 9/11, the most of any firehouse in the city. The fallen are honored in a memorial outside the firehouse, where tourists often take photos.

Waxing theatric

Walking east on 42nd Street from Port Authority on Eighth Avenue, I am always shocked by whatever weirdness is drawing crowds outside Madame Tussauds, the wax museum of international fame. Mme T is about to launch a new, live-action “immersive backstage experience” showcasing props and sets and the rest of what goes into making a Broadway show.

It’s based on some Andrew Lloyd Webber classics and is slated to open early in June.