Theatre

Are We Exiting The Era Of Big Stage Musicals?

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“I think we are in a slight time of shift, in that the sung through musical perhaps is now receding, and the book musical is starting to come back. It’s delicate…you have to have a theme which engages as much as you need glorious music.”

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We’re Losing Our Working Class Actors. And Here’s What We’re Really Losing

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“The important thing is: what do we do about that? Because otherwise we lose all these interesting characters like Richard Burton and Richard Harris, and playwrights like John Osborne who were writing working-class stories. What happens to that? Does that just go? Or do we go back to the 30s when you had incredibly posh people trying to do cockney accents?”

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D.C. Theaters Expand Helen Hayes Awards Into “Helens” And “Hayeses”

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“The split generally falls along professional lines. If most of a show’s performers are Equity (union) actors, that’s a Hayes show. If they aren’t, it’s a Helen, regardless of theater. Got it? … Illustrating how the ‘Helen’ and ‘Hayes’ distinctions really go show by show, not theater by theater, is the case of Arena Stage.”

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Is Washington, D.C. Oversupplied With Serious Theater? Arena Stage And The Shakespeare Worry

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“The town is so crowded … that even voices from the small independent sector have begun to wonder aloud whether the city is oversaturated. Washington also teems with competition for audiences increasingly lured by a burgeoning restaurant scene and the cyber circus of online diversions. All this adds to the special pressure faced by big troupes: They have the most seats to sell, night after night.”

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How “Hedwig” Transformed My Life

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“In Hedwig’s story, I found a message of resilience and self-expression. Keep going, the film screamed at me. Let your freak flag fly, no matter how much shit people throw at you. This experience was shared by millions of queer and trans kids around the world, for whom the movie and stage show became a kind of modern Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

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Which Show Pioneered Race-Blind Casting On Broadway? (Hint: It Was In 1944)

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“Bucking Broadway’s trend,” the musical’s creators – all children of Jewish immigrants, and so no strangers to discrimination themselves – “cast African-Americans to play ‘full-fledged citizens who were portrayed equitably with their white colleagues’.” And they cast a Japanese-American as the ingenue – in 1944.

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But This Snowstorm IS Shutting Down Broadway (Blame Gov. Cuomo)

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“Broadway theatres will go dark the evening of Jan. 26 as a major winter weather system bears down on the Northeast, with anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of snow forecast to fall across the New York City area in the next 24 hours. Several productions have already canceled Tuesday performances.”

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Playwrights Need To Belong In Order To Thrive

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“It empowers both the writer and theater to take risks to create the stories not being written. In addition, writing for a particular community––if you truly honor that audience’s needs––produces plays that are more specific, which in fact makes them more universal and ready for other productions elsewhere in the country.”

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Inside Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade: Can It Evolve The Way The City Has?

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A longtime resident who’d never seen the century-old New Year’s Day spectacle goes behind the scenes with one of the old-line South Philly clubs, meets the new brigades that draw from the city’s growing population of art-minded Millennials, and remarks on some of the parade’s worryingly retrograde elements. (Then she hits the after-party on Two Street.)

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Brian Blessed Collapses While Playing King Lear – Then Comes Back And Finishes The Show

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“The 78-year-old had just begun his lines at the start of the Shakespearean tragedy when he fainted, falling off a raised platform with his crown rolling to a halt at the front of stage.” After being examined by a doctor in the audience and 20 minutes of rest, Blessed returned to the stage, apologized, and started over again.

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Broadway Has No Room Anymore For Shows That Are Merely Good

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“How do you tell somebody who’s going to spend anywhere from $175 to $500 or more, per ticket, for a show, how do you tell them ‘It’s so-so, but you can’t miss this performance’? … Unless you come out of the theater saying ‘I have to tell everybody I know they must see this show,’ the show is going to die.”

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Trying To Give Everyone A Good View Has Made Theaters More Exclusive, Not Less

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Prewar theaters “had a greater capacity at the lower price levels than at the higher, a contrast to today, where there are very few cheap seats and they are all at the very back or the very front. … Seat prices have been levelled up rather than down on the grounds that all enjoy an uninterrupted view of the actor.”

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The Theatre World Gets A Massive New Database Of New Plays

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“Debates had been raged over submission policies—closed, open, credentialed, non-existent, misleading—in private and in public, by playwrights, by academics, and by artistic staffs of organizations large and small. Everyone agreed on only one thing: there had to be a better way.”

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The Thing About Theatre Audiences? They REALLY Want To Talk To You

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“I’ve started to suspect that occasional theatregoers want to engage with a new play sooner than I previously thought and stay engaged for a longer time. They’d like more information before they see a show. They want more things to read and watch afterward. They want to hear from the director and the playwright and the designers, possibly over drinks.”

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Actors In Failed Musical Tour Sue Producers

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“Actors from last year’s failed tour of the musical Copacabana are mounting legal action against the show’s producers for more than £30,000 in unpaid wages. The news comes as it has emerged that planned dates for 2015 have hit further problems.”

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How Ironic Is It That Our Most Celebrated “Un-Blockbuster” Theatre Composer Has A Hit Movie?

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“Stephen Sondheim is the antibody of the blockbuster, the antithesis of mass taste. He writes for questing minds, disdaining sunshine, inhabiting the deep, dark woods of moral ambiguity. At his most challenging, in Sweeney Todd, he elicits our sympathies for cannibalism. At his gloomiest, in Company, he seems to conclude that man’s fate is always to be alone. Sondheim is not an easy date, never a sell-out.”

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Is There Really An Anti-Writer Trend In British Theatre?

David Edgar’s Pentecost at the Cockpit theatre, London, November 2014.

“There has been a shift of opinion against playwriting, in favour of collective methods of theatre. The very activity of playwriting has been attacked as individualistic, undemocratic and even immoral,” playwright David Edgar recently declared. Lyn Gardner begs to differ: “But even if what Edgar is saying is just a provocation, I’m really not sure that talking about an ‘anti-writer trend’ is either true or helpful.”

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