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THEATRE - January 2000

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  • FRENCH SINGING LEGEND Charles Aznavour launches his new musical "Lautrec" - about the French painter - in London. BBC 01/30/00 

  • SHE WAS BRITAIN'S GREATEST AGENT, responsible for nurturing the careers of some of the UK's best playwrights until she died in 1993. Now one of Margaret Ramsay's stable - Alan Plater - has put her onstage in a play that gets inside the head of an agent. London Telegraph 01/28/00

  • WE'RE GONNA MAKE IT: In an age when high-cost mega-musicals dominate Broadway and success depends on luring in the tourists for high-price seats, shows are increasingly turning to familiar TV stars to bring in the crowds. Elbowed aside is the traditional Broadway acting pool. New York Times 01/25/00 (One-time registration required for access)

  • ON OUR OWN: Two seasons ago, faced with a dwindling number of affordable touring shows to book into their theaters, a couple of East Coast theater presenters entered the business of producing on their own. Nothing big budget, nothing flashy, but at least the shows fit these 1,200-seat venues. Philadelphia Inquirer 01/24/00

  • BROADWAY ON TOUR: Touring Broadway shows make more money than even a record year on the Great White Way itself. But what are patrons of the road shows really getting for their money? Some of these shows are Broadway Lite. San Francisco Chronicle 01/23/00

  • CONTRIBUTING TO THE SAUSAGE: New Haven's Long Wharf Theater needs a new theater. The city's mayor thinks it would be swell to locate it downtown to help rebuild the area. But there's this big new mall coming near the present site... Hartford Courant 01/23/00 

  • PLAY INCUBATOR: Some of the UK's best playwrights flock to London's National Theatre Studio, next door to the Old Vic, to workshop their plays. London Telegraph 01/23/00 

  • JORY LEAVES LOUISVILLE: Jon Jory, for 31 years the head of Actors Theatre of Louisville and one of America's most veteran directors, will leave Louisville to join the faculty of Seattle's University of Washington School of Drama. Seattle Times 01/19/00

  • PAY-PER-VIEW BROADWAY: New Broadway Television Network to broadcast live performances of Broadway shows on pay TV.  New York Times 01/19/00 (one-time registration required for access)

  • REVIEWS DO MATTER: Despite good box office in its Washington DC run, the reviews weren't good enough for Cameron Mackintosh's "Martin Guerre" musical. So he's postponing a plan to bring the show to Broadway. New York Times 01/19/00 (one-time registration required for access)

  • LEGACYQUEST: Livent showman Garth Drabinsky was a spinner of dreams and high ambition. Among them was Chicago's Oriental Theater, which he said would be the centerpiece of a North American empire of theaters to create and house new touring productions. The City of Chicago invested $13 million in the Oriental, but since Drabinsky crashed and burned, there's little going on there. Is there a market to keep the place lit? Chicago Tribune 01/18/00 

  • A MATTER OF PRIORITIES: What happens when a theater company's artistic director, its life's force, leaves - but the money supporting the theater stays? In the case of one Scottish theater, it drifts on for a couple of seasons, then folds. Maybe National Arts Council policies expect too much in the way of numbers and not enough in the way of art? Glasgow Herald 01/18/00

  • PLAYING IT SAFE IN PROSPERITY: It's easy to be amused and entertained on Broadway this season, but serious drama is MIA. The new economics don't encourage chances. Seattle Times 01/16/00
  • "SPEND" AND "LION KING" dominate nominations for this year's Olivier Awards, Britain's top theater honors. BBC 01/14/00
  • RAGTIME STAR SUES:  Alton Fitzgerald White, the lead actor in Broadway's ``Ragtime,'' has sued New York City and its police department, alleging that he was illegally arrested and strip-searched last July because he is black. Boston Herald (AP) 01/13/00
  • AS A COMPOSER, Andrew Lloyd Webber certainly has his detractors in the theater world. But reviews of his purchase of ten of London's West End theaters have pretty much everyone cheering. "Indeed, it is Lloyd Webber's standing in London's creative theater community that makes his victory so welcome. Under Lloyd Webber's influence, it is widely believed, the West End will be more open to productions with an element of edge and commercial risk." Los Angeles Times 01/12/00 
  • A "HEDLEY" FOR THE 80s: August Wilson makes it to the 80s with his "King Hedley II" the latest in his decade-by-decade tracing of the black American 20th Century experience "True to form, Mr. Wilson has endowed his struggling souls with a metaphysical grandeur and a titanic vigor of language that is like no other dramatist's." New York Times 01/12/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • MEGA-THEATER MOGUL: Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who made his name with a string of hit West End musicals, is buying the Stoll Moss group, which owns ten of London's best-known theaters, including the London Palladium, the Garrick, and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in an 85 million deal. BBC 01/09/00 
  • New York Times report. 01/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • NEW DEAL: Hartford Stage has no problem filling its house for classic plays. But new plays - even acclaimed high-octane productions of new plays - greet rows of empty seats. Now a plan to try and change it. Hartford Courant. 01/10/00
  • WOMEN'S WORK: "Women's voices in the theater continue to be seriously underrepresented." Two festivals in the Bay Area step up to the issue. Backstage 01/07/00 
  • ALL-ABOARD MUSICALS: The QE2 plans to start offering new full-length musical theater aboard ship. Those that do well may move on to Broadway. New York Times 01/06/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
  • CELEBRITY YES, ACTING NO: We are besotted by the celebrity of actors, but do we care anything about actual acting? Not the Bruce-Willis-playing-Bruce-Willis for the 187th time kind, but actual get-into-the-character acting. The new David Hare diary chronicling the struggles of trying to be a serious actor shows how trying it is. Toronto Globe and Mail 01/05/00
  • IS MUSICAL THEATER DEAD? And just why is everyone so eager to ask the question? But maybe to ask it is to ensure its revitalization. Village Voice 01/04/00