The circus, for many, represents nostalgia for a “simpler” past — although that past can be tricky to reconcile with the injustices embedded in history. Still, there’s something inherently entertaining about a circus. So the new circuses aim to define what that is…
“It’s no longer controversial to give other authors a share in Shakespeare’s plays—not because he was a front for an aristocrat, as conspiracy theorists since the Victorian era have proposed, but because scholars have come to recognize that writing a play in the sixteenth century was a bit like writing a screenplay today, with many hands revising a company’s product. The New Oxford Shakespeare claims that its algorithms can tease out the work of individual hands—a possibility, although there are reasons to challenge its computational methods.”
How Qui Nguyen started Vampire Cowboys, realized he would never be “mature,” wrote the play Vietgone, and found director May Adrales for a partnership made in theatre paradise.
Can “Amélie” and “Come From Away” make it where West Coast transplants have failed before? The L.A. Times’ Charles McNulty says, “Musicals en route to New York receive an enormous amount of tinkering, polishing and sharpening. Rarely, however, does all this primping smooth over structural cracks in the book or holes in the score.”
The news was announced yesterday, with the publishing and theatre licensing company blaming an “unsustainable rental increase” of up to 300% at the Fitzroy Street premises over the past five years.
Seems like we hadn’t seen much of Wilder’s second-most famous play in recent years; Wilder himself once wrote that “it mostly comes alive under conditions of crisis.” Laura Collins-Hughes talks to three prominent directors – Carey Perloff, Bartlett Sher, and Arin Arbus – and playwright Paula Vogel about both the script’s problems and why this might be a good time to produce it again.
During the big real estate bubble a few years ago that led to China’s now-notorious “ghost cities,” expats like David Borenstein found work as what Chinese called a “laowai-for-rent” – appearing at real estate sales events pretending to be a foreign businessman or musician or athlete in order to make the development look international and important. Borenstein tells Linda Poon what it was like.
Fast-rising Off-Broadway director Saheem Ali writes about how he saw his first show ever on a trip to London and came home to Nairobi obsessed – and came home to the Kenyan capital and cast, designed, directed, choreographed, and starred in his own “very makeshift, highly illegal, passion-fueled” production of it.
A corporate restructuring firm paid $1.3 million for the company at a bankruptcy auction, and the show will go on this fall, celebrating Big Apple’s 40th anniversary.
Cassie Tongue argues that, in the age of Trump, the musical about striking newsboys in 1899 New York is newly relevant – “urging grassroots action to organise, protest and agitate for change, and emphasising the importance of a fearless fourth estate.”
There are three new plays in New York dealing with the Sandy Hook school massacre. Alexis Soloski and Erik Piepenburg speak with the playwrights about how they depict gun violence in their scripts.
Hamilton in London and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are working hard on strategies to combat “the secondary market” and the high prices it charges.
Kahn will leave having made Shakespeare a native language in the nation’s capital, and having done more to reshape and elevate D.C. theater than anyone since the late Arena Stage founder Zelda Fichandler.
The manager of the theatre’s bookshop was formally charged in Magistrate’s Court with sexual assault on a female.
“When Jim Barrie took the original show to theatre he had to give stagehands more time to switch scenery. He created a scene that could be performed at the front of the stage. This scene featured a pirate ship and Captain Hook. The role soon expanded and the rest is history.”
“Listen, I love it when directors and actors make bold choices with Shakespeare, or play against him – and a lot of innovation begins in university or amateur theatres. But there’s a difference between subversive takes and regressive ones.”
“Just as we need to produce more women, LGBTQIA artists, and people of color (that is to say, more people who aren’t straight white men), we need to consider what plays should no longer be produced. This is not about political correctness. This is not about censorship. This is drawing a moral line that defines what is in and out of bounds in our culture.”
Though both shows are making tons of money in their home theaters, they’re trying new things as Hamilton preps for its London opening and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for New York. “‘I’ve been in the business 50 years, and I’ve lived through lots of scalping,’ said Cameron Mackintosh, producer of Cats, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. ‘It’s just got far, far more sophisticated, because of automation’s creeping stranglehold on human beings.'”
Limited-run plays have become standard on Broadway these days, but musicals tend to keep their runs open-ended for as long as the tourists keep coming. So it’s unusual that there are two limited-run musicals on Broadway right now (Sunset Boulevard and Sunday in the Park With George), following another (Falsettos) earlier in the season. Howard Sherman looks at why this phenomenon has developed and whether it can work financially.
The author of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Guards at the Taj will receive the prize at the end of this month. The award from the Dramatists Guild of America was launched just last year, with Stephen Karam (The Humans) the winner.
“There are, unsurprisingly, literally hundreds and hundreds of contemporary writers of color whose plays will move, engage, titillate, outrage, and delight audiences.”
“Theater owners, confronted day after day by long lines of women (and, sometimes, men) clogging lobbies and snaking down stairwells while nervously waiting for an available bathroom, are excavating, annexing, converting and renovating their buildings to remedy the chronic inconvenience. The biggest landlords are also retraining ushers, experimenting with new methods of crowd control, and even reversing the genders on restrooms.”
Rosalind Early reports on how the Repertory Theater of St. Louis sent the playwright-performer on a “listening tour” and how her work there is and is not like that of Anna Deavere Smith.
“She imagined herself a woman of stern integrity: a playwright who would speak truth to audiences who would pay attention because the magic of the theatre would draw them in. But to attract audiences, she resorted to the kinds of tactics that could make critics shudder.” Alice Kessler-Harris looks at where Hellman pulled the balancing act off and where (and why) she failed.
But he did it anyway. The visionary theatre artist and director of the company Complicité writes about why, and how, he staged Stefan Zweig’s Beware of Pity.
Attendance for last year’s varied playbill – which included admired productions of Engaged and “Master Harold”… and the Boys on the festival’s secondary stages – was 237,471. That was up almost 5,000 from the year before, but still the second-lowest ticket sales in Jackie Maxwell’s 14-year tenure as artistic director.
Five theaters across the country have already agreed to produce “Building the Wall,” starting next month. “We no longer live in a world that is business as usual — Trump has made that very clear — and if theater is going to remain relevant, we must become faster to respond. … We cannot hope to be useful if we can’t respond until 18 months after the fact.”
Jones, starring in Glass Menagerie on the West End, is also famous for her turn on the show 24. “Jones played President Taylor in two series of 24, from 2009 to 2010. Many saw a distinct suggestion of Hillary Clinton in her appearance and characterisation.”
Theatres usually plan seasons at least a year and sometimes several ahead, but they’re starting to reshuffle and change the lineups, partly because “artistic directors and theater producers — positioning themselves as first responders in a time of political and humanitarian upheaval — grapple with how to jump-start a current-events conversation with audiences.”
Though its practitioners say this isn’t a new discussion, the contours of Middle Eastern theatre have taken on sharper focus after the election of Donald Trump. But it’s also very like other theatre for practitioners from communities of color: “The next round is equal parts main stage productions … and expanding to directors and designers of Middle Eastern descent. That would be radical.”