Less than two years after revelations of abuse led to the closing of Profiles Theater Co. and the creation of the advocacy group Not in Our House, “six Chicago-based actresses report an extensive pattern of verbal and physical abuse by Jeremy Menekseoglu, artistic director of the Dream Theatre Company (DTC), a small non-Equity company which recently relocated to the Atlanta area from Chicago.”
“Figures released today by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) showed 2017 was a record year for the capital’s theatre business with box office revenues topping the £700 million mark.” The reasons: Hamilton and Harry Potter.
“The proposals will lead to most of the existing Ambassadors Theatre being demolished, with the existing West Street facade and part of the Tower Court facade retained. Under the plans, the building will then be redeveloped into a flexible performance space with 450 to 475 seats and a new floor built above the auditorium to house a rehearsal space for larger shows.”
The Chicago company is selling a building it own just south of its main campus, where it already has three theaters of various sizes.
“Our industry cannot afford to keep sending the message to its actors that they must suffer in silence, and the change begins in theatre education. How can we train young actors to be advocates for their emotional, physical, and mental well-being? How can we empower students to recognize and respond to their intuition rather than ignoring it? What does it look like to teach self-protection and preservation as part of youth theatre curriculum?”
Are you surprised that these teenage drama nerds are now taking the international stage by storm? I’m not. A theatre class is more than an artistic distraction for students. It can serve as a lightning rod of empowerment for young people. For many teens, the experience of standing in a spotlight on a stage in a play or musical, galvanizing the attention of adults in the audience, is the first time a young person discovers that what they say matters. They learn that words have power, that their voice can move and inspire others.
Critic and scholar Hailey Bachrach on having, for instance, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing played by a woman: “We must think about these things beyond just the blanket assumption that any opportunity for women is narratively good – especially in a play whose embedded gender politics make ‘gender blindness’ more or less impossible.”
It has been reported in IQ Magazine that difficulties selling in the US market has caused the move, but Amazon has not confirmed its reason for ending the service.
For the director who made London’s Donmar Warehouse into a theatrical powerhouse, “the challenge has not only been to accept the magnitude of expectation fans of the movie would bring into the theater … but also to bring to the fore an emotionality better suited to characters in three dimensions.” And the challenge was all the bigger because Grandage had never before directed an original musical or (as with this show) done an out-of-town tryout.
“Billy Bigelow hits Julie Jordan. Henry Higgins molds Eliza Doolittle. Fred tames Lilli. And Edward rescues Vivian. Amid a national reckoning with sexual harassment and misconduct, Broadway is mounting a cluster of musicals this season and next that, some theatergoers already contend, romanticize problematic relationships between women and men.” Michael Paulson looks at how the producers and directors of these shows are dealing with these problems.
Collectively, the cities on this list are responsible for generating more than $112 million in wages for Equity actors and stage managers during the 2016-2017 theatre season. The market leaders are Central Florida – home to roughly 1,000 Equity members, many of whom work on Disney productions on a daily basis – Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Milwaukee/Madison, Kansas City, Denver, Seattle, Houston/Galveston, and Cincinnati/Louisville.
With a new director in place, the financially troubled company decided to take “a year off from producing to get our house in order.” It seems progress has been made: PTC will stage three productions of its own in 2018-19, all by female playwrights, and will present some touring shows and other programs as well.
“If the costs of things like accommodation, subsistence and travel, venue rents and licensing continue to rise then there will come a point where this festival is no longer affordable for the people who give it reason, content, credibility and existence – without whom none of the economic or other impacts would be possible.”
“Only a few months ago, … Lepage would never have thought twice about a nude scene with an actress. But the sexual harassment scandals that have wracked the entertainment industry since the Hollywood mogul’s fall have forced the Québécois master theatremaker to rethink how he works. The fact he was also rehearsing a play, Quills, inspired by the one of the most notorious sexual predators in history – the Marquis de Sade, after whom the word ‘sadism’ was coined – added further fuel for thought.”
Many of the 7,000 who unexpectedly landed in Newfoundland that day had their lives altered by the generosity of their hosts, but Come From Away has given a certain celebrity status to those whose stories are told by the musical.
“A planned increase in federal funding for Soulpepper Theatre has been voted down by the Canada Council for the Arts’ board of directors. On Thursday, the council’s board voted to rescind an increase of $375,500 the theatre company was set to receive. That was on top of a $184,500 ‘core grant’ which the company will still collect this year and again next year … After four civil suits were launched against former artistic director Albert Schultz in January, the granting agency placed Soulpepper on ‘concerned status’ and conducted a review.”
The adapter and director of Harlem Quartet worked on the script for three years, bringing her adaptation to Paris for only three nights before heading out on a tour of France – a tour that, she says, would not have been possible without Raoul Peck’s 2016 movie I Am Not Your Negro.
Generations of Broadway legends have played the role of Dolly, and Peters is (more than) up for it now: “When I took on the role, though, I just — I started from scratch. I read the script, I read The Matchmaker — the play that Mike Stewart wrote [Hello, Dolly!] from — and I found this person, this woman. I found the woman that I would play in it, the Dolly I would play.”
Mark Shenton: “I always apply the test I also use on theatre tickets to assess how useful they are: would I pay ready money to have one? And the answer is hardly ever. Yet theatre programmes have become a habit for many. They are part of the theatregoing ‘experience’ and a happy aide-memoire of the show. But, I often find the information I need just as easily online. A front of house notice will typically list the cast at a particular performance – especially important with long-running shows where substitutions often appear. So I simply take a photograph of it.”
“MCC Theater, a prestigious Off Broadway company, announced Thursday that it was canceling an upcoming production of Mr. LaBute’s latest play and terminating his tenure as its playwright-in-residence, effective immediately. The theater offered no explanation for its action.”
You can understand the confusion that could arise in an audience member who, aware that theatre performances are now broadcast live to cinemas via NT Live and the like, thinks they are entitled to act as a private broadcast channel to their friends at home. Theatre invites you to be uniquely ‘in the moment’ but, for many, it’s now important also to capture it so that you own it forever.
The genre has moved far beyond Disney’s screen-to-stage extravaganzas, Hairspray, and The Producers: in London alone, there are currently live-theatre versions of Network, Jubilee, Fanny and Alexander, and The Exorcist. Says director Chris Goode, “I think what has happened over the last 10 years or so is that we’ve stopped having the idea that theater is essentially a literary form.”
In many ways, fundraising for theatre faces the same patterns and pressures as other nonprofits. But in recent years, numbers have emerged indicating that theatre may be in considerably better shape than other kinds of organizations chasing the same dollars. Zannie Giraud Voss, director of the National Center for Arts Research(NCAR) at Southern Methodist University, gives a sanguine report.
For example, Marianna Calbari in Greece: A plethora of crises – economic, social and political – has fuelled the demand for theatre in Greece. In the midst of unparalleled austerity, the country still outstrips every other European nation in the number of theatres it has per capita. For Marianna Calbari, the playwright, director and actor who shot to fame at the height of the country’s crisis, the stage has been a refuge. “All theatre,” she says, “has the power of consolation.”
Lyn Gardner: “When reviewing space gets tight it is not the shiny, starry mainstream shows in the West End or at the National or the Royal Shakespeare Company that get cut, but the new, the unknown and the innovative.” Especially if those shows are at regional theatres: for a producer, “schlepping across the country and a night in a hotel may be worth it, if reviews by those you trust have alerted you to a company with a great show you haven’t previously heard of.”
Another excerpt from the Dan Kois-Isaac Butler oral history The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of ‘Angels in America’: here, “actors, administrators, and journalists tell the story of one such theater that went to court to fight a local government that wanted to shut the play down – and won.” (Until, that is, the following year.
With “Springsteen on Broadway” — and the approximately $2.4 million it brings in every week — on hiatus, overall sales dipped by $2.8 million to $22 million for 24 shows. Attendance slipped by about 20,000 to 191,186, or 83% of the street’s overall capacity. Those numbers were better than the same week last year (when there were 23 shows playing), with attendance up about 15,000 compared to 2017.
“Only recently has a line been added to the show asking audience members to ‘keep a respectful distance’ from the performers. Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a culture where this nannyish reminder was unnecessary? It would. We don’t.” Alexis Soloski lays out the case.
“The Bossy collective are behind a 15,000-member Facebook group set up in 2016 as a supportive space for women in the creative industries. Now, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and continuing allegations of sexual misconduct in the creative and other industries, the group, has founded a campaign to buy the Theatre Royal Haymarket.”
One actor set up a forum to discuss West End job sharing ideas, and it had hundreds of members within days. Actor Caroline Sheen is for it. ‘”Eight shows a week for a year – it’s a lot for any parent,’ says Sheen, who has a five-year-old daughter. She’s a fan of having the alternate scheme extended. ‘To explore these avenues further means people who are parents have more options open to them. … I’ve only been able to take short contracts, because of the parental guilt of leaving her for so long. A job share would make life easier for parents.'”