Five actors and four dancers will be leaving the 19-person cast of Dusty, a new show about the singer Dusty Springfield, by the end of August. The producers of the show, which began performances in an Off-West End theatre in late May, keep postponing the press night.
“Why is one considered a beacon of acting talent for playing a disabled character convincingly? Why is it a common expectation that these actors will transform into characters whose experiences they can never truly understand? And, perhaps the most important question: if able-bodied actors continue to be cast in these roles, what opportunities are left for disabled actors?”
Threesome, by Yussef El Guindi, “begins as a bawdy bedroom comedy whose main characters, a heterosexual Egyptian-American couple, invite a white American man into their bed. Over two acts it transforms into something darker, as all three grapple with the fallout of sexual assault, infidelity, war and the pain of lost hope, both political and personal.”
“The subsidised sector is without doubt the research and development arm of the commercial sector, where new productions, new work and new talent are developed. Ultimately, cuts of this magnitude would see the demise of the West End and regional touring as we know it, with far-reaching social, reputational, tourism and economic consequences.”
The director and his colleagues who wrote and staged the nine-hour production that toured the world in the 1980s have returned to the ancient Indian epic for a work titled Battlefield. The four-actor staging opens in September at Brook’s longtime venue, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, and will tour to London, three cities in Italy, Amiens in France, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
“Many of this country’s finest directors (like Antoni Cimolino and Albert Schultz) learned their craft as young actors in Phillips’ finest days. Hundreds of performers credit him as a watershed in their creative existences. Offstage, he was a complex man who inspired intense emotions from friends and enemies alike, but no one who truly cared for the theatre could ignore the great good he did for all of us at a crucial point in the development of theatre in this country.”
“As the term has gained greater currency – even the White House is using it – a belated spotlight has fallen on one of the key contributors to mass incarceration in this country.” In her latest documentary theater piece, “Smith transforms herself into the experts and witnesses she has consulted, including the late educational philosopher Maxine Greene, Councilman Michael Tubbs from Stockton, Taos Proctor, [and] a Yurok fisherman and former inmate.”
That’s the title of a song – written from the point of view of that unwise woman in the audience – recently posted to YouTube by composer Robert Maggio and lyricist Matthew Hardy. “I hope she doesn’t open my iTunes / My recording of Gypsy is Bernadette / And my Evita is Madonna / If she sees it, she’ll be really upset.”
“A lot of times in the past when you’ve seen hip-hop used in musical theatre, it has quotes around it. ‘How crazy! We’re making hip-hop musical theatre!’ We don’t comment on it. We just take as a given that it’s the best way to tell Hamilton’s story, but like any other musical score, Hamilton has his own themes that he uses. It’s Peter and the Wolf; it’s what Sondheim does. When you hear this music, you know Burr’s coming onstage; when you hear that music, you know King George is coming onstage.”
“It’s been horrible to watch our otherwise splendid union’s desperate attempt to boost membership by pretending there was enough money to be made in 50-seat fringe venues to convert [unpaid] productions into paying jobs. And so many of us swallowed it, seduced by the absurd idea that closing down voluntary fringe collaborations in tiny makeshift theatres would lead to paid employment.”
“Details will be announced on Monday for the Lughnasa International Friel Festival which will have, at its heart, a production of one of Friel’s plays presented on both sides of the border in Donegal and Belfast. … The festival will be directed by Séan Doran, who is also in charge of the Samuel Beckett festival, now in its fourth year and due to open next week in Enniskillen.”
“In a scenario out of Footloose, a Tullahoma clergyman tried to unite local church leaders in opposition to a production of the musical Rent, performed by a mostly teen-aged cast. … [But] the only outward protest was a prayer circle of three to four people outside the theatre on opening night.” (includes Q&A with the show’s director)
Douglas Gordon taking an axe to the wall of a theatre after bad reviews of his new production is but one tiny example. Critic Michael Billington offers some more – including Steven Berkoff’s notorious death threat.
“Through theatre, the women in the group tell their stories to the people who need to hear them most: police officers, brothel owners, clients, men. The audience gathers in a circle and, in the midst of them, the women act out a scenario where they have been abused or mistreated. They then invite their audience to suggest how the story could have played out differently.”
Don’t have a program: “There was no designated person whose function was to understand the world of the play, to speak up for the playwright and her intent, to argue for the sanctity of the script. That work struck me as vital. Every conversation I had about student theatre I would pull back to this lack of focus on the text. The text must be the crux of all discussion and choices in the theatre.”
The actress/folk hero explains what exactly the audience member whose phone she took away was doing, where in the theater the offender was sitting, and why her nonstop texting was distracting everyone else in the house. (Patti also reminds us that she’s never stopped a show because of a cell phone or texting.) (audio)