“After a 10-month run on Broadway in 1927, the play was deemed by a grand jury to be such ‘obscene, indecent, immoral, and impure drama’ that it might corrupt ‘the morals of youth’. West was sentenced to 10 days in jail for obscenity, and travelled there in style – garlanded in roses, wearing silk underwear and riding in a limousine.” Who’s reviving it? A troupe called the Dirty Blondes.
“A return to Broadway would be a remarkable moment for Mr. Drabinsky, who was convicted of fraud and forgery in Canada in 2009. As a theater producer he won three Tony Awards, for Kiss of the Spider Woman, Show Boat and Fosse, but he has not had a production on Broadway in 15 years, and is unable to travel to the United States because he is considered a fugitive there.” His vehicle will be a new musical adaptation of Madame Sousatzka.
“LeCompte takes the award for 40 years of Wooster Group work encompassing a string of experimental, boundary-pushing, multimedia shows that include Route 1 & 9, L.S.D. (Just The High Points), Brace Up! and The Emperor Jones. She co-founded the troupe with Spaulding Gray, with Willem Dafoe among its original members; Frances McDormand has performed with the company in recent years.”
“The company said Wednesday that it had recently concluded that the scale of its current productions was not permitted by restrictions on the property, and that it would immediately vacate the premises. Three productions by other theater companies renting the Soho Rep space, including one that was scheduled to begin performances Thursday, will have to be relocated or canceled.”
“Over ambient sound came the disembodied voice of the Canberra musician Reuben Ingall. ‘There are plain-clothed police officers patrolling every floor. You’ll be watched on camera for the whole trip and Australian federal police officers are armed with SR16 semi-automatic assault rifles,’ he said. ‘When you head through security, act as normal as possible. How does a normal person act? Be like that.'”
Says one former student, Paul Ketchum, “He knows exactly where to put pressure to release the inner playwriting beast of his students. Mac would hate this, but he’s like a fucking dramaturgical acupressure neuromancer.” Wellman talks teaching, structure (he hates it) and gossip with another former student, Eliza Bent.
“National Theatre-approved backstage hardware products will be developed as part of a new relationship with theatrical goods supplier Flints. The tie-up means that props and carpentry departments at the NT will test new products for Flints, including paints and other prop-making tools, which will then be given an NT ‘stamp of approval’ and carried in Flints’ catalogue.”
“Ruhl, 42, is based in Brooklyn and is the author of plays such as The Clean House, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, Passion Play and The Oldest Boy. She previously won the MacArthur ‘genius’ grant and is a Tony nominee and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.”
“There was a time when ‘second-acting’ – sneaking into a Broadway theater at intermission before the second act – was as common as the cigarette break in the middle of a musical. It was a time-honored rite of passage, practiced by generations of starving actors and students of the theater. … But today, when security is ultravigilant and shows are under pressure to sell out night after night, the practice has all but gone dark.”
The blaze began on Sunday morning (Sept. 25) under the theatre’s stage; it damaged the stage floor and scenery for the upcoming, and now postponed, production of Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.
“It seems the smaller the community, the more space there is to expand and embellish local narratives. Mixing one part fiction, one part myth, and one part truth, these narratives flourish in the festivals, parades, and plaques that have become the cultural landmarks of a city five miles north of Boston.”
“Other venues are stepping in to fill the artistic void, but many people are still expressing disappointment and doubt about the future of the downtown theater.”
“I wanted something that you would look at, and without having it hit you heavily, you would understand it came from the ’20s and ’30s. We wanted to show a certain modernity that had style.”
“Or … is something else true? Is it actually a bear market? Is our theatre in a moment of peril?”
“Don’t worry if you didn’t know the 43rd president was on trial. This was an off-Broadway verdict, the conclusion to a new play called The Trial of an American President. The trial was fiction, but the vote, from nine members of the audience chosen to be the jury, was very real.”
From Sophocles through Roman spectacles and the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol to Sarah Kane, a look at the means – decorous, horrifying, inventive – playwrights, directors and stage managers have used to depict characters’ ends.
“His often-abrasive theater pieces won’t let you look away – whether it’s an elderly man struggling to control his bodily functions beneath a benevolent painting of Christ (On the Concept of the Face) or a klatch of Amish women cutting off one another’s tongues (The Four Seasons Restaurant).”
“How mortifying would it be to page through the creative writing you did as a teenager? And then, years or even decades later, actually see it in print? That’s what we recently asked a set of notable playwrights” – among them Lynn Nottage, Neil LaBute, Tina Howe, Nicky Silver, and Marcus Gardley – “to do.”
“Life is both ever-various and surprising, and, at the same time, one long uninterrupted (and, admit it, sometimes awfully boring) conversation with ourselves.”
Jack Reuler has worked in theatre in Minnesota and says critics have been an important part of the the community there. “Like with any body of people, some are wonderful and some are assholes and many are in between. Similarly, the real test of a critic is not how well or how often they rave or how viciously they eviscerate, but how they write about the 90 percent of the shows that fall between those extremes.”
Helen Shaw has spent the last 12 years as a theatre critic in New York. She says the state of the field is mixed. “As recently as 2007, critic Robert Brustein could say on a panel that we had 35 ‘really fine’ playwrights; even the hardest-to-please observer would say now that the number has more than quadrupled. Some theatre lovers don’t like to categorize the flood because of the canon’s long history of exclusion.”
Leaving aside Shakespeare and Christmas plays (which you sort of have to do), the leading character on American stages this season is a foul-mouthed sock puppet.
“American Theatre started counting the Top 20 playwrights in 2014 and so far, 2016-17 is the most diverse season yet, with 8 playwrights of color and 6 women represented, an increase from last year (with 3 and 5, respectively).”
Writes the playwright of August, Osage County and Killer Joe, also the actor who won a Tony for playing George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, “His plays not only altered the trajectory of world theatre; their impact is felt beyond the scope of arts and letters. He affected attitudes about race, sex, class, marriage, family, addiction, illness, death. He helped shape the postwar American character. He partly defined the postwar American sense of humor.”
“More than $9m was spent in the first 24 hours on tickets to the musical, which will be staged at the Shubert Theatre from April next year. The theatre’s owners declared themselves ‘thrilled’ with the response. Tickets for the show range from $79 to $189.”
“The situation is exacerbated because Midler’s engagement in the show will be a limited one, beginning performances on March 15th, 2017 and opening officially on April 20. No end date has been announced, … [but] it’s a marathon role and Bette will be 71 when she comes down the steps of Harmonia Gardens Restaurant.”
“[Paul] Crewes, formerly the head of the innovative, Tony-nominated U.K.-based company Kneehigh Theatre, is something of a ‘get’ for the Wallis [Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills] … When it opened in 2013 after more than a decade of fundraising and planning, the more than $70-million startup got off to a bumpy start . While its campus was tricked out with two theaters, costume, wig and prop shops, an educational wing, a spacious promenade terrace and sculpture garden, it didn’t have an artistic director until now.”
Reputations, he knew, were built up only to be torn down: “A lot of playwrights become confused by this and they start doing imitations of what they’ve done before, or they try to do something entirely different, in which case they get accused by the same critics of not doing what they used to do so well.”
“That theme of kindness and cruelty acting in tandem with one another — that ‘teaching emotion’ — was an idea that recurred in his work again and again.”
“Earlier this month, the owners of 54 Below decided to cancel the concert, set for Sept. 11, titled ‘Broadway Supports Black Lives Matter,’ saying in a statement that they supported the Black Lives Matter movement but disagreed with a ‘platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions.'”