“I also think that he was a playwright who was very confident in his interpretation of the play. I once heard him say, ‘No actor or director has ever shown me anything in one of my plays that I didn’t intend to be there.’ I think what he meant by that was not that he had all the answers, but that if you found it, on some unconscious level he meant it to be there. I found that statement – there was something very sad about that statement to me. Because one of things I like most about rehearsal is when somebody brings something to it that I’ve never thought of.”
It was, in her words, “a fucking compulsion,” says Tommy, a mixed-race native of Cape Town who came to Massachusetts with her family at age 15. “I believed the lie that the reason that there weren’t more of us [directors of color] working was because they didn’t believe we were qualified. So I was like, ‘Here I am! Here are the reviews, here’s the sales, here’s the work.'”
The fight, being waged in the chambers of federal judges in New York and Alabama, offers an unusual glimpse into the vituperative backstage wrangling that can erupt over control of a celebrated work of literary fiction when it has been adapted for the stage.
“Cell phones in theatres may no longer be taboo. Well, at least in this case, where 12 Broadway theatres now offer GalaPro, a new app that expands accessibility services by providing audio description, captioning, and dubbing to audiences at every performance.”
“A play based on Adolf Hitler’s youth is sparking controversy for an unusual opening-night deal: Audience members willing to wear a swastika (provided by the theater) during the performance get in free. Those who prefer to pay full price are asked to wear the Star of David. … Producers of the play at the theater in Konstanz, a picturesque city in the south of Germany, say the action is part of an attempt to reinvigorate the national conversation about the dangers of fascism.”
Theatres across the UK face unexpected costs in excess of £180 million under “devastating” EU proposals to ban the vast majority of stage lighting by 2020. Costs in London alone are expected to reach £35 million as venues are forced to replace most of their lighting equipment, with experts warning that venues could go dark as a result.
“The narrow lens is one of the play’s surprises: It examines the titanic forces of urban renewal via a single establishment, never leaving the checkerboard-tiled stage of [Memphis Lee’s] diner. For a play about sweeping change, what emerges is a slow portrait, one that tries to convince you that everything depends on the fate of this single black-owned soul-food cafe in Pittsburgh. … Another surprise in Two Trains Running is how far the play’s fears still echo today, some 50 years after the events depicted (and nearly 30 years since its debut).”
According to an official statement from the Florida Rep board, the reasons for the dismissal of Robert Cacioppo, who co-founded the Fort Myers company in 1998, were “behavioral problems [including] bullying, considerable absence, demeaning individuals (particularly women) both publicly and privately, and anger management issues.”
Responding to the suit filed last month by Tonja Carter, Lee’s attorney and executor, arguing that Aaron Sorkin’s script deviates too much from the novel, a $10 million countersuit filed Monday argues that “the Agreement did not give Ms. Lee approval rights over the script of the Play, much less did it give her a right to purport to edit individual lines of dialogue. It certainly did not give such rights to Ms. Carter, who is not an author, editor, literary agent or critic, and has no known expertise whatsoever in theater or writing.”
“The Pulitzer board called Cost of Living ‘an honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver.'”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a two-part drama now in previews and opening April 22, cost about $68.5 million to bring to Broadway, including not only $35.5 million to capitalize the show — more than for any other nonmusical play in history — but also another $33 million to clear out and redo the theater.
That’s right, a theatre performing a musical Titanic had to cancel when debris started falling on stage “shortly after the ship hits the iceberg.”
This isn’t a new story, but it’s a darn good one. “Word of the performance’s cancellation, which had been broadcast on the radio, was rescinded, and crowds started forming at the theater: Yale students, local fans and trainloads of theater folk from Manhattan. Meanwhile, Mr. Adler and another assistant stage manager crisscrossed New Haven, rounding up the actors from Kaysey’s (a theater hangout) and the nearby Taft Hotel, where most of the cast was housed.”
Part of the huge price tag came from gutting and redoing the Lyric, the theatre where it opens (after record-breaking previews) next week. Of course, one imagines it will easily make its money back.”It’s a huge bet in a flop-prone industry, but also a seemingly safe one, predicated on the expectation that Cursed Child will become a big hit on Broadway, a long-running production that can spin off profits for years.”
“Following intensive protests against the decision to install Chris Dercon as director of Berlin’s radical theater with a strong left-wing tradition, the former head of London’s Tate Modern has decided to call it quits. … ‘Both parties have agreed that Chris Dercon’s appointment has not worked out as hoped, and the Volksbühne promptly needs a fresh start,’ stated Berlin public radio station, RBB, when first reporting the news.”
“The Trout Breaks the Ice is based on the story of Mikhail Kuzmin, who disappeared into the official obscurity imposed by the Soviets on artists considered deviant or who were out of favour. The play’s success comes amid fears that the relative freedom enjoyed by Russian theatre is under threat.”
Even the term ‘immersive’ has become overused. It is being used to flog everything from fine dining to frozen roast potatoes. Some theatre companies liberally sprinkle their marketing copy with the word ‘immersive’ because they know it can add £10 to the ticket price. As Alexander Wright of the Guild of Misrule observes: “People know they can sell immersive shows. Audiences want them. But there can be a point where it stops being art and is just capitalism.”
“Equity is proposing two awards, one for the best ensemble – which it defined as the entire cast – in a musical or play, and one for the best chorus – which it defined as a group that sings or dances, or both – in a musical or play.”
“The iconic actress, comedian, writer and director” – now 85 – “will star in the first Broadway production of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, a poignant and timely drama about an elderly gallery owner in Greenwich Village determined to cling to her independence and fight off the effects of aging.”
“The Writers’ Room will be led by Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, the [Los Angeles theater’s] newly named manager of New Play Development. A group of playwrights will each receive one-year residences beginning in September. There they can give each other feedback on plays, receive dramaturgical support, work with a director and actors, and read their plays to the public.”
“The business is horrible, it’s been horrible forever and it’s worse now because of Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, so legitimate actors that have trained in the profession have a harder time getting hired than personalities on YouTube, or on Twitter.” And what’s more, movie stars “should come to the stage with the right intention. And they should be stage-worthy, not try to come to the stage for credibility.”
“It has been 250 years since ‘modern’ circus was born with Philip Astley’s invention of the equestrian ring in London in 1768. … What is often overlooked about that first event is that Patty Astley, a talented equestrian, was right there alongside her husband in the creation of modern circus. As part of her act, she rode around the ring with her hands and arms covered in bees. The history of circus is replete with powerful, talented female performers and artists. But they have often been overlooked in favour of their male counterparts.”
The Harry Potter play, based on a new story by author J.K. Rowling in collaboration with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, announced Monday that it had set a Broadway record for the strongest preview grosses: $2.1 million in ticket sales for the week ending Sunday at the Lyric Theatre. The Potter news came on the same day that Disney Theatrical Productions announced that its stage musical adaptation of “Frozen” had broken a house record at the St. James Theatre for the second week in a row. After grossing $2,246,997 for the week ending April 1, “Frozen” went on to gross $2,275,395 the following week.
The interim artistic director at the Alley Theatre is weighing the best response to the query of, “What will be Gregory Boyd’s legacy?” Boyd, who left in January, helped grow the company’s reputation as artistic director over nearly three decades but was also accused of harassing several women on his staff and creating an abusive work environment.
Diep Tran: “There is one question that has been lingering both for me and many other women in and around the theatre: If we’re going to stage these retrograde works” – Pretty Woman, My Fair Lady, Carousel and Kiss Me, Kate are all on Broadway this season – “and ‘reinvent’ them for the 21st century, why are men the only ones being given the opportunity to do the rethinking – to give these old properties a ‘feminist twist’? Are male artists the only ones who get to define feminism in theatre in 2018?”
This retrospective meetup in the commercial O.K. Corral of American theater suggests that for at least some parts of the gay community, the canonization of milestone works is taking deeper root in the culture. Not that this signals any end to the struggles of gay, lesbian and transgender people, not by a long shot, or that the works of female and trans writers, particularly those of color, are as yet receiving the same level of prominent treatment as those of these white men. But, as Kushner noted in a telephone interview, the tide of history might be playing a part in this intersection of gay plays.
Most of the tickets to the blockbuster musical about Alexander Hamilton have been sold, but the Kennedy Center’s handling of sales has been marked by confusion and complaints, with many patrons struggling to buy tickets to the 14-week run, which opens June 12.
The West End production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about US founding father Alexander Hamilton won best new musical and outstanding achievement in music.
It attracted an average of 600,000 viewers over the two-hour programme, down 40% on the average of one million people who tuned in last year when the show was moved to a prime-time slot (8pm-10pm) two days after the ceremony.
Theatre history nerds, rejoice! “These one-sheet playbills trace the history of theater in New York. They were originally posted around Manhattan to advertise Shakespeare plays, minstrel shows, new American plays and early musicals. One showcases a performance of ‘The Black Crook,’ which opened in 1866 and is often credited as the first musical. The earliest broadside in the collection advertises the Old American Company’s performance of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in 1785; tickets were four shillings for a gallery seat.”