“Julie Taymor has announced the three recipients of the inaugural World Theater Fellowship, a prize for young theatre directors to travel for one year to Central/South America, Africa, Asia, or the Middle East. The winners are Zachary Dorn, Hector Flores Komatsu, and Jesca Prudencio.”
“Shuffle Along,” one of the most ambitious and anticipated musicals of the theater season just ended, will close next month, abruptly and unexpectedly … [The show] was apparently facing a sharp drop-off in ticket sales this summer, after its leading actress, Audra McDonald, is scheduled to begin a maternity leave.”
“On Broadway, Timon and Pumbaa have entertained audiences for years with their Brooklyn accents. But in China, the famous meerkat-warthog duo not only speak Chinese, but they also do so with a distinct beifang, or northern, twang.”
City of London financier Johathan Ruffer “is the main backer of something called Kynren, an all-singing, all-dancing history of Britain from the Romans to the second world war, which will be put on by about 1,000 volunteers in the investor’s rolling backyard” near Durham. “Billed as the biggest live event in the UK since the 2012 Olympics, it features a Viking longboat levitating out of a lake, horses charging into battle, a volley of flaming arrows and and plenty of pyrotechnics.”
Four shows flopped this spring at a total loss to their investors. Here, based on interviews with a variety of Broadway figures, is an autopsy report of sorts for “American Psycho,” “Disaster!” and “Tuck Everlasting,” all of which closed in recent weeks, and “Bright Star,” which wraps up on Sunday.
“There is a growing perception among publications of all kinds that it is no longer necessary to have full-time or professional or paid theater journalists (be it critics, reporters, or feature writers). Full-time writers are replaced with freelancers, and freelancers are replaced with interns, or no one at all.”
Today, the idea that a work written for the theater could “save” a nation—for this was what Aristophanes’ word polis, “city,” really meant; Athens, for the Athenians, was their country—seems odd, even as a joke. For us, popular theater and politics are two distinct realms. In the contemporary theatrical landscape, overtly political dramas that seize the public’s imagination (Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, say, with its thinly veiled parable about McCarthyism, or Tony Kushner’s AIDS epic Angels in America) tend to be the exception rather than the rule.
“I read quite a lot of theatre reviews, and while the best are all sorts of stimulating, I kind of think: we all bloody sound like each other, don’t we? I mean, there’s some textural variety: Susannah Clapp is poetic; Michael Billington does puns; Quentin Letts hates theatre. But, as a rule, it’s difficult to see exactly how theatre criticism has stylistically shifted since Tynan’s time – or before that, even: for Ben Brantley, the most powerful theatre critic in the world, it is forever 1851.”
Javier Muñoz has been Lin-Manuel Miranda’s understudy and alternate from the beginning of Hamilton‘s development, and – except for the ten weeks he spent recovering from surgery and radiation therapy – he’s been playing Hamilton on Sundays and Miranda’s days off since the show opened. Muñoz even got to perform the role for both First Couples.
“Whether you train at say, East 15 or Rose Bruford as an actor, do a maths degree at Oxford, or read history at Durham, the fees are the same. Student loan entitlement, extended in a limited form to postgraduate courses from this autumn, applies to all first degrees. It’s financially no harder for drama students that it is for any university undergraduate.”
“Yes, the actors will be paid for that gig but it doesn’t take into account the unpaid work that went into creating the show and getting the gig in the first place. On paper everything looks hunky dory, fulfilling the safeguards put in place by unions and funders. The reality is rather different.”
Laura Collins-Hughes: “I have always hated The Taming of the Shrew. Of all of Shakespeare’s plays, it’s the only one that upsets me just to think about.” But Julie Taymor loves the piece, and Phyllida Lloyd and Tina Packer are but two of numerous female directors who try to come to terms with it.
“Producer Paul Taylor-Mills has claimed he was forced to wind up his production company after being financially crippled by a duty to pay actors … consistent with [Equity’s] fringe guidelines.”
“Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has made a name for himself writing plays including Neighbors and An Octoroon. This year he won the Wyndham-Campbell Literature award, one of the biggest financial prizes for writers. But a seeming windfall only goes so far. As he puts it, ‘Can anyone really say they’ve made it in New York? … It feels like New York is a game about keeping up. You can’t get too comfortable in any avenue here.” (audio)
“[The] small off-Loop company that is the subject of published allegations of intimidation, sexual misconduct and unsafe stage combat is shutting down permanently.” Artistic director Darrell Cox, the alleged abuser, “declined to speak in person or on the phone but agreed through a spokesman to respond to a series of written questions.”
“The Metropolitan Opera has been transmitting performances live for a decade. The National Theater in London jumped on board a few years later. But Broadway, facing both financial and philosophical obstacles, has been slow to join the trend. Now, after years of start-and-stop progress, Broadway is passing a milestone.”
“We have become fundraisers who occasionally get time off to do a play, as opposed to theatre directors who have to take an interest in fundraising.”
“Was everyone hypnotized and mesmerized like some kind of Manson Family Member? Were all these women and stage managers and directors bedazzled by all the attention and full houses to the point where they simply had to submit to the abuse? Were they drugged? C’mon, people, where is the personal responsibility?”
“Rising rent costs, dwindling institutional support, and [company director Carmen Khan’s] personal battle with cancer last winter all contributed to the decision to temporarily cease performances. Until this morning, [the company’s] website was stuffed with programming through December, and when the Inquirer asked about the status of the theater last week, Khan insisted that nothing out of the ordinary was brewing.”
“The musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, will run at the Victoria Palace Theatre, which is currently being refurbished after Cameron Mackintosh purchased it. Tickets will go on sale for the show in November.”
“The National Theatre is to commission new work for virtual reality headsets. … The first project to be produced is an immersive, 360-degree, verbatim documentary, HOME: AAMIR, which tells the story of a refugee living at the Calais migrant camp. It will premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016.”
Jesse Green: “All four of the musical performance Tonys went to black actors … Ten other actors of color were nominated, as were, even more unusually, a number of black and Hispanic and Filipino artists in the creative and technical categories. … As a result, all the attention to diversity on the show seemed natural and coherent, not inanely appliquéd as at February’s Academy Awards. … This was not just the least white Tonys I can recall but the most earnest. As one commenter on last night’s Vulture liveblog put it, ‘I am so moved by the lack of cynicism in this broadcast, this theatre season.'”
“After the title is picked, one actor steps up to recite a prologue, all in unrehearsed rhyme. Recent shows ranged from ‘Straight Outta Venice,’ which featured some terribly fantastic rapping, to ‘Survivor: Globe Edition,’ which turned into a ‘Tempest’-like romp of romance and murder, along with a monster that beggars description.”
“The appeal for tolerance and the salute to the inclusiveness of the theater community fit seamlessly into a broadcast that promoted the diversity of the Tony field in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite. (Though when the camera ventured into the orchestra seats of the Beacon, the hashtag could have been #AudienceSoWhite.)”
“First-time Tonys host James Corden began the night with a message for the Orlando victims: ‘Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, embraced, and loved. Hate will never win.'”
“Start off by figuring that if you have a reasonable life expectancy, you can wait for ‘Hamilton’ ticket prices to settle and sink. (This is not, contrary to what you might think, a star-driven show.)”
There’s Playbill, of course, and here are more:
And here, Heavy.com shows you how to watch the Tonys for free online (though basically, Twitter can easily fill you in on anything at all).
‘”Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando,’ the awards show posted on their Twitter account.”
“It’s hard for us to get any attention. A lot of people ask, ‘Where are the designers of color?’ And I always say, ‘We’re out there! We’re just as busy as other designers!’ But we work behind the scenes, so we can’t get as much attention as the people onstage.”
“He researched the 18th century paintings of John Trumbull as well as the mash-up fashions of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier and the satiric portraits of Kehinde Wiley, who depicted men and women of color in re-creations of classic portraits. The first eureka came through the budget limitations imposed by the Public Theater readings.”