“Despite the rain, many people were reluctant to leave, greeting other cast members at the stage door and holding out for another possible appearance by Mr. Miranda. Inside, he had gotten his hair cut, now that he no longer needed to keep it long for the role.”
“Like women on Reclaim the Night marches, the mere presence of these girls on stage reminds us that it is not women’s freedom (to be themselves, to dress as they want) that should be curtailed, but rather the prurient way that they are perceived. What’s required is a shift in perception: a piece of hair twirled or teeth biting a lip is not an invitation to something else.”
“There was nothing to misunderstand – those are the words they wrote; they wrote that a male was better.”
“Personally, I wouldn’t want to write something thinking about form, it would scare me. I want to tell something in the best way I possibly can. I would feel hamstrung if I was sat there thinking I have got to completely reinvent the form. The best things work because sometimes you do exactly what the audience wants.”
“People in the theater are the left. I’m always interested in skewering, examining and implicating the people in the room because they are the ones that showed up for the performance. Once you implicate them, then they actually start thinking about what their position is. I’m doing the monologue and if I’m telling you, ‘You agree with me, don’t you?’ and you say ‘I do,’ and I say ‘I do too, I feel so good about that,’ that’s not useful.”
“It was important we expose them to other points of view, but also the experience of shooting. So we took everyone to a gun range in South Philly,” said Ginger Dayle, author of the play Roseburg. “We had reserved the range in advance, but the day we showed up happened to be the day after the Orlando shootings. It made us realize just how important it is to talk about this issue.”
“[Director/designer Michael Counts] prefers to throw his audience into the action cold, toying with their minds, blurring the line between the actual and the merely apparent. ‘Reality doesn’t give you a lot of information,’ he said. ‘Often you sit in a place of wonder and mystery, and you’re trying to figure it out. And that actually enhances your agency.’ In an escape room, it also enhances your fear factor, which is fine by him. He wants people to feel like the danger is real.”
At the society’s annual meeting at the Palmer House last week, that decision topped a list of complaints by members who say the organization has been hijacked by its staff, while dedicated volunteers, historically integral to its operation, have been “thrown under the bus,” as one member put it.
“On his last day as the leader of Signature, [James] Houghton – his voice raspy from recent chemotherapy but still suffused with passion – sat down to reflect on the origins and evolution of his theater. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.”
“Recent conversations around this issue, in film and television as well as in theater, have become more contentious, with comparisons often drawn to traditions of blackface. As the journalist Frances Ryan wrote … last year, ‘Perhaps it is time to think before we next applaud ‘cripping up.’ Disabled people’s lives are more than something for non-disabled actors to play at.'”
For theatre to become a “front porch” space that welcomes diverse perspectives, we as theatre professionals must trust our communities to engage with challenging material, and we must trust ourselves to hear and act upon opinions that challenge our ideas.
The city government’s choice of Tate Modern art msueum director Chris Dercon for the job “has laid bare long-simmering worries about the direction of Berlin’s arts scene. … Critics say that officials are forsaking an artistic tradition of locally produced, politically and aesthetically unconventional programming. Instead, they see an effort to redraw the theater’s mission to make Berlin a more attractive and marketable destination for tourists and for the internationally minded millennials who have moved into many of that city’s trendiest districts.”
“The play Queens of Syria is a chance to put a human face on the worst humanitarian disaster since the second world war. … The play, directed by Zoe Lafferty, has changed over time as the cast has shrunk to 13 women” – from up to 50 during the original workshops in the Suyrian refugee community in Amman – “and personal circumstances have moved on.”
“Negotiations to resolve a minimum wage dispute between Actors’ Equity Assn. and members of the theater community have failed and the parties are headed to court … At the center of the lawsuit is Equity’s 99-seat theater plan, which calls for owners of theaters with fewer than 100 seats to pay Equity actors minimum wage for rehearsal and performance time.”
“Liberty Theaters L.L.C., which owns the building and used it until January as the Union Square Theater, is reconstructing the four-story hall as a six-story office building, marketed by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank as 44 Union Square. The auditorium space will be demolished. A two-and-half-story glass dome will be erected on the rooftop.”
“Yes, it’s conceived and written by Miranda, with Music Director Alex Lacamoire who is Cuban, but the music is mostly rap and a mixture of Broadway shows tunes and other styles. Some argue the music is influenced by Latina/o rhythms. The immigrant theme is salient, but not specifically Latina/o. Does it really matter?”
“You do lose some of the vibrancy, some of the majesty and all of the camaraderie of being there in the theater, which is true whether it’s a live or a taped broadcast.”
“The person’s sanity most important is yours. In an ideal world it would be fantastic if we could all be great friends and there was never tension in the rehearsal room. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.”
“For Elizabeth Swados, being nominated for four Tony Awards in one year while still in her 20s – for Runaways, in 1978 – led to success in an unexpected direction. Or, rather, in several unexpected directions.”
“The winners received $10,000 toward their college educations and a chance to audition for acceptance and a scholarship to the Tisch School of the Arts at N.Y.U. Finalists and other award winners got $2,500 scholarship grants. To make the cut, each student first won a competition as the best male or female high school performer in one of 31 regions. More than 1,000 schools and 50,000 students competed for honors.”
Selfridge’s is opening the venue in its Oxford Street store in London. The first production will be Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, performed by theatre company The Faction, which will allow shoppers to watch rehearsals (something which the store’s management compares to passersby looking in the display windows).
In 2005, Signature Theatre, an off-Broadway house on far West 42nd Street, “did a very hard-to-do thing. They convinced a big corporation, Time Warner, to hand the theater $500,000 to try to chip away at the price barrier. Before that grant, tickets to Signature’s shows had cost around $55. After the grant, they cost just $15.” (includes audio)
“The fairly new online video service BroadwayHD … [on] Thursday night … offers up the first-ever live stream of a Broadway show, the musical revival She Loves Me. And in the process, the start-up hopes to cement its status as the ‘Netflix of Broadway’.” Jonathan Takiff looks at why the Great White Way is so late to the streaming party.
Michael Billington: “I thought I’d look at five key Shakespearean speeches and see how various actors have handled them. I stress that there is no right or wrong – simply a wealth of differences.” (includes video links)
I’m really a nobody. But I believe that we have arrived in a world where if we want to be relevant, we must “art” as big as we can. We must be overly ambitious, and damn the consequences, because if we aren’t, our souls die for sure, and if we are we may simply fail and hit another mark.
“Phase two of the LORT designers study continues to collect data on gender of designers, and begins to look at directors and artistic directors, partially in relation to designers.”
“In a memo sent on Monday, June 27, to subscribers and donors, the company said that if it did not meet its fundraising goal by Friday, July 1, it would suspend the upcoming season — which would be its 50th — to give it time to reorganize and revamp its business model, with plans to return in 2017-18.”
“Twenty-five years ago this summer, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America premiered in the tiny Eureka Theatre in San Francisco’s Mission District. Within two years it had won the Pulitzer Prize … Slate talked to more than 50 actors, directors, playwrights, and critics to tell the story of Angels‘ turbulent ascension into the pantheon of great American storytelling – and to discuss the legacy of a play that feels, in an era in which gay Americans have the right to marry but still in many ways live under siege, as crucial as ever.”
“At a time when many in the arts bemoan shrinking audiences, wonder whether live performance is losing social relevance and even predict the death of theatre, here is a new institution vigorously engaging local and global audiences through national drama. It’s enough to make you ask, why doesn’t Canada have a national theatre?”
“It sounded like your typical aspirational, ‘I want’ musical-theater song. Except for the part where a jaguar, played by Jennifer Lim, roared into the scene and pounced on [Celia] Keenan-Bolger. Also, the horses were cardboard heads on sticks, and the ensemble a team of cardboard cacti (with sad faces drawn in black Sharpie).”