DON'T DO BODY PARTS: Singapore's arts scene is tightly controlled
by the government. Last month a production of "The Vagina
Monologues" was banned by the censors. "The actors
submitted the script, including stage directions. Part of the
performance involved briefly projecting a picture of a vagina
as a backdrop. Choo says the performance could have proceeded
without the image but the theatre group refused a change. They
were denied a license and will probably lose any government
Zealand Herald 07/31/00
EITHER LIKE MUSICAL THEATRE OR... James
Joyce's grandson wants to stop the staging of a musical adaptation
of Joyce's "Ulysses." "Stephen Joyce has threatened
legal action over the production of Molly Bloom, A Musical Dream,
which is due to be premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe."
ART: "Performance artists" Yuan Cai and Jian Ji
Xi walked naked across London's Westminster Bridge with slogans
written all over their bodies. The pair last "performed
at the Tate earlier this year when they jumped onto Tracey Emin's
IN THE HEARTLAND: The Utah Shakespeare Festival won this
year's Best Regional Theatre Tony Award a few months ago. The
theatre "was virtually unknown in New York until the Tonys
but well known among a Shakespeare underground in the heartland.
As many as 155,000 theatergoers, mostly young families and older
people from the Midwest and Far West, surge into this sedate
mountain town in the southwestern corner of Utah each summer
for afternoons and evenings of professional theatrical productions."
York Times 07/30/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
ON SUMMER THEATRE: Canada's summer theatres are booming.
"The Ontario festivals are tourism fat-cats who feast on
private dollars. During a decade when government funding of
the arts has been steadily shrinking, the festivals' incomes
and expenditures have steadily grown. Stratford is the largest
performing-arts organization in the country, and its $35-million
budget has increased almost 50% in the last five years. With
smaller theatres and fewer seats to fill, Shaw's growth has
been less spectacular but is certainly healthy."
Toronto Globe and Mail 07/28/00
LAB COMES TO DUBLIN: Tod Machover and MIT's thinky Media
Lab have set up shop in Ireland. "They believe Dublin will
host the creation of an entirely new, large-scale art form that
combines a variety of media. 'We need to figure out what comes
after theatre, what comes after cinema,' Machover says. 'We're
hoping to develop a large part of it in Ireland.' "
Irish Times 07/28/00
BIG BUSINESS OF NON-PROFIT: New York's Roundabout Theatre
was almost bankrupt a few years ago. Tonight it moves into a
new $25 million home and has money in the bank. "To some
extent, the journey of this one nonprofit theater - from basement
to Broadway, from bankruptcy to becoming the country's second-largest
nonprofit theater with an annual budget of $20 million - stands
as a powerful example of how much the world of nonprofit theater
New York Times 07/27/00
registration required for entry)
American actor Kevin Spacey
has started a new company that he hopes will raise more than
£1 million to fund new UK theatre venues and productions. "One
of his ideas for boosting theatre attendance is to introduce
film shows so that places like the Old Vic don't just 'rest
on tradition'." BBC
THEATRES GAIN NEW FANS, LOSE OLD LOYALS: While
audience numbers for Israeli theater are up, intellectuals are
increasingly staying away. Says one disheartened theater-goer,
"theater had started to become as gray and unappealing
as an office, that everything had become technical, that everything
I was seeing in the theater was losing its spark of creativity,
that it had become a musty bureaucratic mechanism, that the
theater was a place where nothing real was happening anymore."
REVITALIZATION: “With more than 100 theaters in Moscow alone
- and another 400 in the rest of the country - Russian theater
has survived, in large part because Russians refuse to let it
die. There were several times when Russian theater should have
fallen flat on its face, but it has survived every crisis with
flying colors.” Many deem director Kama Ginkas largely responsible
- as Moscow’s busiest and most successful director, he saw five
of his plays staged last season alone, each one in its own way
a hit. New
York Times 07/25/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
WE HAVE TO MENTION THE SPONSOR? The Roundabout Theatre sold
its name to American Airlines. The Wintergarden almost had "Cadillac"
above the marquee. The arts love those corporate dollars. But
at what price?
RAUNCHY FOR BOSTON? A Canadian play "Shakespeare's
Dog" has been closed in Boston because, the theatre company
says, the Boston festival found the play "too raunchy."
ABOUT GETTING EXCITED? Chicago's Goodman Theatre is moving
into a long-awaited new $46 million home this November. So why
does the upcoming opening "seem so remarkably lackluster
just four months prior to ribbon cutting? And why does the initial
season for what is clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
seem like an afterthought?"
Chicago Sun-Times 07/23/00
TOUGH: Being an actor is tougher than ever. "In Britain,
over 90 per cent of them are unemployed at any given time. Yet
while the number of graduates pouring out of drama and stage
schools continues to rise, the opportunities are dwindling.
And finding out about openings is harder than ever if you're
not already one of the lucky 10 per cent."
The Observer 07/23/00
IN THE TRUTH: Want to know the real theatre scoop? Talk
to the people who see it all - the ushers. "Indeed, perhaps
no one has seen the changes in theatre-and by extension, some
of the cultural shifts in the society at large-more vividly
than those doughty black-clad ushers who've been moving up and
down the aisles, flashlights in hand, for the long haul."
HOUR: Theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh is in desperate
need of a hit (he hasn't had one since "Miss Saigon").
Now the reviews are in on "Witches of Eastwick" which
opened in London this week. "Judging from the reviews and
the reaction to the show from the theater elite here this week,
Mackintosh seems to have hit a double. And with his unrivaled
talent for marketing and publicity, he just may be able to steal
his way to third, theater people here say.
New York Post 07/21/00
LINCOLN HAS OTHER PLANS: Philadelphia has a thriving industry
of "historical look-alikes" - people who dress up
as Washington or Jefferson or Lincoln for parties or events.
With the Republican National Convention coming to town soon,
business figured to be booming for the bogus Abes, Toms and
Georges. But it seems that Republicans are last-minute partiers,
and now many of the portrayers are booked for other gigs.
Philadelphia Inquirer 07/20/00
HOUR: Cameron Mackintosh's new £4.5 million production of
"The Witches of Eastwick" opens in London to an enthusiastic
TIME NO FIGHTING: Rome's Coliseum will stage its first performance
before a paying audience in 1,500 years. Instead of fighting
lions of gladiators, Greek tragedy will be on the bill. "The
performances were made possible by building a wooden structure
over a section of underground labyrinth that once housed gladiators
and wild beasts, capping years of restoration work." The
Times of India (Reuters) 07/19/00
AT LEAST IT'S OUTDOORS: Ah, it's the British summer theatre
season. "Of course, many of these performances with their
accompanying picnic hampers may be jolly social occasions, but
have as much to do with theatre as a summer's evening at Kenwood
for the 1812 overture and fireworks has to do with classical
music. Essentially these affairs are a substitute for the village
fete, or a form of cocktail party where the culture is gulped
down as easily as the Chardonnay. They are marked by the exclusivity
that so dogs theatre."
The Guardian 07/19/00
TO LOVE: The theatre world gathers to memorialize producer
David Merrick. "It was Mr. Merrick's difficult, enigmatic
personality that pervaded the memorial yesterday. While several
speakers expressed a love of the shows he created, few conveyed
a comparable love of the man." New
York Times 07/19/00 (one-time
registration required for entry
GENERATION: The O'Neill Theatre Conference has a new director,
only its second in 35 years. In his first season at the conference
James Houghton is trying to put the emphasis even more firmly
on the writers, and he has made small but significant alterations.
York Times 07/18/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
FLOP OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS: A $10.8 million Australian
production of "Pan" has closed in Sydney, a failure
by any measure, and one of the biggest disasters in Australian
theatre history. "More than any theatre enterprise in Australia,
including the jinxed Sunset Boulevard and the ill-fated Sisterella,
Pan appears to have been cursed."
Sydney Morning Herald 07/18/00
Martin McDonagh seemed
to have it all three years ago. Coming from nowhere, suddenly
"several of McDonagh's ferociously comic and unsettling
plays" won great reviews and top literary prizes in the
US and Europe. But then there was a drunken squabble with Sean
Connery at an awards ceremony, "some cranky critical backlash
and a few damning interviews" and McDonough retreated.
Now he's back with a new play. Seattle
GRADS OF THE RSC: Movies like the "X-Men" are
all about special effects, things being destroyed and shooting.
So why do you need Royal Shakespeare Company-trained actors
like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan for that? "Shakespearean
actors need to make a living too; why should the Keanu Reeveses
and Tom Cruises of the business grab all the money and the fame?
And one can imagine that a Hollywood blockbuster like ''X-Men''
gives actors such as McKellen and Stewart a few months to rest
their well-trained acting muscles - the equivalent of reading
a beach book after a year of classics."
Boston Globe 07/16/00
SHOULD WE CALL IT ENTERTAINMENT ART?
Performance art got
a lot of attention in the 90s. What's it up to now? "People
seem more interested in packaging it than in actually doing
just say that if performance grew out of a wish to make art
more present, more visceral in the '60s and '70s, that trend
has decidedly reversed itself. Over the past decade, this art
form definitely shifted toward entertainment—or, at least, the
FROM THE FRINGE? Glasgow's Citizens' Theatre "revolutionised
Scottish theatre in the 1970s with highly-charged, visually-striking
productions, and scandalised the good councillors of the city
with blood, nudity, and cross-dressing." Artistic Director
Giles Havergal reflects on how the Citz has reinterpreted itself
in recent years. The
Herald (Glasgow) 07/11/00
ENTERTAINMENT: The surprise 1997 hit movie "The Full
Monty" is set to open on Broadway this fall as a full-fledged
musical comedy, which has some observers wondering whether Broadway
really needs one more "musicalized" version of a slight
tale. "There's nothing new in Broadway musicals adapting
featherweight entertainment. Back in the '50s, shows like 'Damn
Yankees' or 'The Pajama Game' were based on light novels. Today,
those light novels are more likely to be TV shows or movies."
GUTHRIE'S EXCELLENT YEAR:
Theatre had a good year - record subscriptions and box office,
commitments for building an ambitious new home and the extension
of its artistic director's contract.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune 07/11/00
THEATRE: Is theatre in Los Angeles merely a showcase for
movie talent? A ghetto where actors toil until they get discovered
by the movies or TV? Not hardly. "Local stages are a resource
that the industry has been able to exploit with virtually no
outlay of cash." But the thriving LA theatre scene exists
quite apart from the commercialism of the Industry.
Los Angeles Times 07/10/00
MONEY IN SUCCESS: Judging by most of its statistics, the
musical "Footloose," which closed last week on Broadway,
was a pretty good success. It staged 737 performances, played
for well over a year and half, was seen by hundreds of thousands
of people, and produced a cast album, a national tour (with
another planned) and the possibility of future companies in
London and Australia. So why did it still lose money?
Star-Tribune (NY Times) 07/10/00
THEATRE UNEARTHED: Archeologists have uncovered a colonial
theatre at Williamsburg that counted Washington and Jefferson
among its patrons in the 1760s. Chicago
Tribune (AP) 07/10/00
IT FREE AND THEY WILL COME:
government proposes to make admission to museums free. But what
about theatre? "An entire generation has got out of the
theatre habit: education, prejudice and attention span are all
partly to blame, but the biggest barrier is expense. As an incentive
to people who don't like theatre because they've never tried
it, a proportion of seats should be free. There will always
be those who save hard to afford the outrageous prices, but
unless we make it easy and cheap for some of the others, those
who grew up on cheap and easy visits will be dead and there
will be no one to replace them."
The Observer (London) 07/09/00
AFOOTE: "Hollywood may forever think of Foote as the
Oscar-winning screenwriter of the original 'Tender Mercies'
and the adapted 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' but his stature within
theatrical circles has soared in his ninth decade." Los
Angeles Times 07/09/00
HAPPENED TO 'BLACK' THEATRE? "It
seems that black theater has become less mainstream now than
it was 30 years ago. And partly this is because of a polarization
anticipated by the very term 'black theater.' Today, black theater
is like women's theater or gay theater - almost a species more
than a variant, virtually a political statement rather than
an artistic style." New
York Post 07/0900
TIMES FOR PHILLY THEATRE: Philadelphia has had another record
theatre season at the box office. A boom economy and popular
plays are given credit. Philadelphia
WOES SQUEEZE TWO BROADWAY SHOWS: Two high-profile shows
scheduled for Broadway have been scrambling for money this week.
"The Visit," a new musical starring Angela Lansbury
and Philip Bosco set to open in the spring after an out-of-town
tryout in Boston this fall had one of its main investors reduce
their stake. Meanwhile, "Little Women," which was
to have opened in the fall at the Ambassador Theater, has been
pushed back to the spring, while producers try to raise more
York Post 07/07/00
London's theatre press
is ganging up on Trevor Nunn for his three-year-old stewardship
of the Royal National Theater. "In general, critics have
taken Mr. Nunn to task for what they call cautious programming
that they say leans too heavily on crowd-pleasing musicals and
not enough on new work and younger playwrights." New
York Times 07/05/00
registration required for entry)
ART OF CHITCHAT: In Ireland, a gathering devoted to the
art of gossip and idle talk. "At what is apparently the
first festival of its kind in the world, an international cast
of contributors will spend their time in the land of blarney
talking about chatting." The
BROADWAY THEME PARK: David Hasselhoff? The Harlem Globetrotters?
Upcoming attractions on Broadway read more like a cheap weekend
in Vegas than a serious stab at serious theatre.
FOR THE THEATRE?
A group of prominent British
actors writes to England's Chancellor to plead for help for
the theatre. "We feel that for far too long lack of adequate
funding has led to a decline in working opportunities, to fewer
new productions and to smaller casts. The extent of this decline
is such that quality of productions in our regional theatres
is seriously threatened."
ART AFTER WAR: "Croatia remained largely peaceful during
the second half of the 1990's, but the earlier Balkan wars left
a mark on the nation's cultural life. Its once-lucrative $4
billion-a-year tourist industry and vibrant artistic scene -
almost destroyed through the mobilization of a large part of
the male population, emigration and civil unrest - have only
recently shown signs of recovery."
York Times 07/02/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
ON THE "WITCHES":
Theatre producer Cameron
Mackintosh used to be a money machine, with a string of worldwide
music theatre hits. But since "Miss Saigon," his last
big world-wide hit ten years ago, his track record has been
shaky: " 'Moby Dick' sank, 'Martin Guerre' staggered through
three incarnations before closing, and last year his Sondheim
compilation, 'Putting It Together', stumbled and fell on Broadway.
Will his new "Witches of Eastwick" turn his luck around?
Sunday Times (London) 07/02/00