“The circus said its debts amounted to $8.3 million, against assets of $3.8 million, in its Chapter 11 filing. The Big Apple Circus began in 1977 and at its height staged more than 300 shows per year.”
“Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”
One of the non-Hamilton-related moments: When the president presented Audra McDonald with the National Medal of the Arts. (And that’s just number six.)
The theatre – which features alumni like Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, Dick Gregory, Smokey Robinson and Wendell Pierce – has been reorganized, with dance and visual arts and other offerings, into the Center for Arts and Culture, with new executive director Indira Etwaroo, who founded “NPR Presents” and WNYC’s Greene Space in Manhattan. Will that be enough to save the historic theatre?
Nearly everyone who has seen Singing in the Rain remembers the instant classic “Good Morning to You,” created when Reynolds was just 19. Now there’s a “Tappy” tribute video that includes Broadway stars from Book of Mormon, Newsies and Cats.
Pretty much, and pretty soon. That’s an unexpected result: “It is an extraordinarily speedy outcome for a film project once regarded as too risky when director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle approached producers in Los Angeles. While film musicals are no longer seen as the financial black holes they were two decades ago, it was a difficult proposition.”
Sure, Broadway shows have investors from all over. But this one “stands out for the size of its success and the concentration of its support in an affluent village, La Jolla, that is about as far from the Garden State Parkway as one can get in the mainland United States. It appears that as much as 40 percent of the show’s financing was raised in San Diego — almost all of it from people who had never previously invested in a Broadway show, and who encountered this one as patrons at the La Jolla Playhouse, where the musical was enormously popular and repeatedly extended.”
The plan: “January 19th will be a moment of gathering within a larger resistance to intolerance at all levels. We aim to create brave spaces that will serve as lights in the coming years. We aim to activate a network of people across the country working to support vulnerable communities. This is not a substitution for protests or direct action, but rather a pledge for continued vigilance and increased advocacy.”
“The funding, provided by the city’s Theater Subdistrict Council, will go to paid training and mentorship opportunities at organizations like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harlem Stage, Roundabout Theater Company and the New York Theater Workshop.”
“How does a cast of 25 actors, plus a dozen stage managers, stagehands, electricians, dressers, props handlers and makeup artists get into the proper groove to envelop a Broadway audience in the antics of an 88-year-old play? Musicals these days are often as large or even larger. But rising costs and a shrinking pool of interested theatergoers have made straight plays of this magnitude an extreme rarity on BroadwayIt’s a complex organism, a Broadway production of this caliber, with a backstage so teeming with experience, talent and ego it could be the subject of an anthropology class.”
“When novelist Michael Cunningham got a call from someone claiming to be David Bowie, he thought it was a friend pulling a prank. He didn’t know he was about to be launched into a yearlong collaboration on a musical involving space aliens, mariachi bands, and an imaginary trove of unreleased songs by Bob Dylan.”
Says the unknown author of Manwatching, “When the idea of it being [performed by] an unprepared man came up, I liked that power dynamic and the act of trust it would require from a man. … An anonymous female voice makes the message so much stronger, and means that any woman who wants to take ownership of it can.” (Her favorite bit of speculation about her identity: “Someone guessed that David Hare wrote it … It’s very funny how quick we are to assume that men wrote everything.”)
Phylicia Rashad. Laurence Fishburne, Leslie Uggams, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and others talk about their first exposure to the playwright’s work and the first time they appeared in one of his plays themselves.
It’s not just that they can sing, dance, and act – that’s no longer enough. Programs are teaching them to write their own shows.
“Is it crazy to think the younger black postmodernists — these interrogators of blackness, these satirists of race — have an intellectual luxury afforded them by Wilson’s dogged devotion to place and history? What made Wilson such an Olympian figure was that he could fit the whole country in an office or a backyard and make the bigness of his ideas seem life-size. As for what he would have had to say about this mutability matter? I’d like to think he’d probably have written a play about it.”
Alexis Soloski: “What accounts for the remarkable rise in revenue and attendance … that the last several years have witnessed? The answer probably relies on both the type of entertainment Broadway has been offering and the new strategies it has found to price and sell its wares.”
“For PFC Frank Loesser and PFC José Limón, their contributions to the war effort took the form of a series of musicals, created for the soldiers to produce and perform themselves. The aim was to boost morale among troops stationed in places where the USO couldn’t go.” Now some of those plays are being revived. (audio)
“There are now almost one million young people investing their free time to make art, and then better art with their friends. There are programs in Afghanistan, Palestine, and refugee camps in Europe; in slums of Manila, Rio and Nairobi; in a Maori community of New Zealand, and an Inuit community of Greenland. Wealthy cities like Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London, Stockholm, Vienna, and Hong Kong even have programs for children living in poverty. There are over 130 different programs in the US alone. Though the research is still scarce, it affirms the enthusiastic claims—intensive ensemble learning in the arts can, and does change the trajectory of kids’ lives.”
Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Kirsten Childs, Nell Benjamin, Stew, Adam Gwon, and Kevin Del Aguila explain how they found their way into this specialized craft – one you can’t go get a degree in.
The Helen Hayes Theater has fewer than 600 seats (and had half that before a balcony was added). The Off-Broadway company Second Stage bought the venue in 2015 and is renovating it. “In the process, the theater company, which focuses on work by living American writers, is trying to figure out how best to use interior design to signal the organization’s decidedly contemporary bent in a decidedly noncontemporary building.”
The audience at “The Color Purple,” which was ending its run, gave her and former President Bill Clinton several standing ovations. One audience member “shook her hand, but said he is still filled with frustration over her loss. ‘She shouldn’t be here. She should be planning her cabinet,’ he said.”
Basically, it’s an experiment: “Those buying tickets for Hamilton – one of the most highly anticipated shows of 2017 – will only receive a hard copy of their ticket when they arrive at the Victoria Palace Theatre.”
The deal with London-based Ambassador Theatre Group comes with a 40-year lease and both Emerson and ATG making capital investments in the 117-year-old building – and the revitalization of a theatre that’s been dark for more than a year.
When she’s not making big data discoveries that slay the conspiracy theories about who else might have written the plays, the scholar Heather Wolfe is creating things like Project Dustbunny, “one of her initiatives at the Folger Shakespeare Library, [that] has made some extraordinary discoveries based on microscopic fragments of hair and skin accumulated in the crevices and gutters of 17th-century books.”
Should playwrights be making theatre that caters to twentysomethings? Or should theatres simply spend more time putting any play they do in context? Or is this all pandering? “We don’t want to create a nation of inactive blobs who passively sit by; we want to create a community of activists who, when they see someone being victimized, jump up and speak out.”
“Tang [Xianzu] is well known in China, though even in his home country he does not enjoy anything like the literary status of his English counterpart – he wrote far fewer works (four plays, [including The Peony Pavilion,] compared with Shakespeare’s 37), and is not as quotable. But no matter. The timing was perfect. Tang died in 1616, the same year as Shashibiya, as Shakespeare is called in Chinese.”
Says the director of the Public Theater, “I feel like I’ve spent the last couple of years outlining very big problems that American theater has to tackle and now we’ve moved into an environment where it will be more difficult to solve those problems.”
“The producer said he had given the Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil musical ‘three shots’ and acknowledged that the writing team had ‘unfinished business’ with it. But he added: ‘I firmly believe there is something wonderful in there but I am not the person that will ever get it out of them.'”
Want to better see and understand the relationships and interactions of the characters and plot lines of the musical “Hamilton?” This engaging interactive scrollable exploration of the show will drop you down a rabbit hole if you’re not careful…
For a new staging of The Tempest starring Simon Russell Beale at Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company is using the same techniques and equipment, including a costume filled with digital sensors, for the character of Ariel that Hollywood has used for Gollum and King Kong.