“Miranda’s extraordinary success is a boon to an insecure industry hungry for heroes. Theater has long been receding as a popular art form; while it’s a tourist magnet in New York, elsewhere it’s become a fairly esoteric habit for a relatively small though devoted elite.”
“Tuesday 10 September – ‘How do you learn all those lines?’ This question is the one that the public most frequently ask of actors. We laugh about it, laugh at them for being so shallow – as though learning lines were the great mystery in acting. Well, I’ve stopped laughing. It’s an age thing.”
“My first impression is that it’s strange that something I wrote 30 years ago is a musical on Broadway. To witness its tortured history, from this thing that was a quasi-victim of censorship to a mainstream Broadway musical, makes me feel very, very old.”
“I’m with Mr. Butler, albeit for somewhat different reasons. To criticize “Hamilton” because it simplifies and fictionalizes Alexander Hamilton’s life and achievements is to miss the point of the show—something that literal-minded historians too often do when grappling with historical fiction.”
“A survey of 18,000 people in 15 countries reveals, for example, that 88% of surveyed Mexicans like Shakespeare, compared with only 59% of British people; 84% of Brazilians said they found him relevant to today’s world, compared with 57% in the UK; and 83% of Indians said they understood him, far more than the 58% of Britons.”
“But the question is complicated, because this production of ‘Shuffle Along’, a show that first opened in 1921 as one of Broadway’s earliest all-black musicals, features songs from the original but an almost entirely new book. It is arguably as much a production about ‘Shuffle Along’ as it is a production of ‘Shuffle Along.'”
“If the tea leaves prove correct, the Tony Awards could wind up feeling like one big infomercial for Hamilton. Which is pretty awesome! Except for the one person from Hamilton’s creative team getting screwed out of a nomination, if not a win. Say hello to the show’s sound designer, 49-year-old Nevin Steinberg.”
“It was another landmark for the show—since only nine musicals have won the award in the last hundred years.”
“David and Ben Crystal, a father and son team, have recreated what they say is Shakespeare’s original pronunciation, or OP, as they call it – how Shakespeare’s plays would have been sounded around 1600. … The OP accent that emerges from the Crystals’ research sounds closer to the Northern English or even some American accents.” (audio)
Becoming a Jacobean playwright was so much more than a change in terminology.
“Harper Lee, the author who first gave life to the story and became this town’s most famous resident, died in February. The play, which is an adaptation of her novel, is being produced this spring for the first time by a nonprofit she” – and her controversial attorney, Tonja Carter – “created, not the local museum that had relied on it for revenue.”
The other two finalists were Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Stephen Karam’s The Humans.
Playwright David Hare: “When I was young, British theatre was like a tree in which many different birds could nest. But now it’s just for the hawks.”
“I image we’d see chaos and bloodshed in Shubert Alley if it was somehow passed over, the likes of which New York hasn’t witnessed since the Astor Place Riot of 1849, with Lin-Manuel Miranda pleading with his fans for some sanity.”
“What makes this initiative unusual is that these plays are already guaranteed full productions beyond their one-night-only staged readings.”
“It can be troubling to sit in an expensive theatre seat – that might cost close to what some people live on for an entire week – and watch actors portray the less fortunate.”
“Even at this stage of her career, Ms. Mitchell said, Ms. Birch is an important writer, in the tradition of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield — ‘those tough women who can also do exquisite lyricism.'”
“If your friend wrote the play, do not tell her upon curtain that ‘the actors were really talented.’ Actors are popsicle sticks painted with eyes and animated by her mind and your praise can immolate itself on a bonfire stoked with those sticks, thanks.”
“The deal, which was announced by a lawyer representing more than two dozen actors and dancers who were part of the show’s development and first productions, is a major victory for the cast and could have ripple effects in the theater industry, where the huge success of “Hamilton,” and the lack of profit-sharing, catalyzed a growing debate about actor compensation.”
“Given the relative paucity of minority stories, why would an investor be drawn to them? Why risk $100,000 on an unknown black writer when you could put it into the next David Mamet/Al Pacino collaboration?”
“With all the hoopla and hubbub, it’s tempting to think all the other shows are Aaron Burr. Imagine working on a big new show for years, pouring millions into it and then finally finding a Broadway theater, only to discover that all anyone wants to talk about is the cool nearby rival?”
“[The] global entertainment behemoth that has 17 different shows running worldwide is once again trying to establish a long-running production in New York City, the major-league market that has most stubbornly frustrated its ambitions. … So now Cirque is trying a high-wire hybrid – a combination of theater and acrobatics, with a splash of old Hollywood, in one $25 million musical called Paramour.”
“[The rep system] is not really functioning much these days. Directors are less willing to run a company – an ongoing company – because the temptation, if you do have a big enough budget, is always to spot cast, but what you don’t get is a sense of continuity,” Alan Ayckbourn said.
“STX Entertainment is in advanced negotiations to make Gypsy with the Grammy and Oscar winner taking the lead role, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (Rain Man) directing.”
“The show dramatizes that our founding documents weren’t handed down on stone tablets, and the founders weren’t saintly philosophers. They could be vain, petty, self-destructive; they fought each other as viciously as they fought the British.”
“While the play had its world premiere at the National Theatre in London, in collaboration with Headlong, the creative team and cast wanted a future life for the show. When a West End or New York transfer didn’t come together, they tried another way.” NT exec Tim Levy explains how it happened (and might happen again).
The keynote speech at this year’s American Theatre Critics Association conference in Philadelphia.
“You may not care much for the song (‘I wish I was your cigarette, smoked on through your lips/killing you softly with my tar and seeping out your nostrils’), but what’s undeniable is the vocal prowess of Ms. Blanchett.”
“In an ensemble theatre company, often it’s actors and other artists who hold the keys to what type of work is produced and which artists the company chooses to work with in the future. Oftentimes, these companies are made up of wonderfully talented white artists. They hit a brick wall, however, when they aren’t willing to give up opportunities in order to grow diversity in their artistic family.”
“While the most recent critiques of ‘Hamilton’ have focused on race, some scholars have also noted that it’s an odd moment for the public to embrace an unabashed elitist who liked big banks, mistrusted the masses and at one point called for a monarchal presidency and a Senate that served for life.”