“Each decade gets an hour, an outfit, and ten songs (give or take), which were popular among the specific segment of America that Mac has focused on for that span: ‘90’s alternative lesbians, say, or turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants. It is a queer, feminist, anti-racist version of American history, and judy (Mac’s stage gender pronoun) tells it with sequins, balloons, and plastic toys.”
“The winners will split a $45,000 prize. The playwrights will also be given a weeklong retreat with a director, dramaturg and actors at an organic farm in upstate New York, and the plays will be given staged readings, intended to help with their development, at regional theaters around the nation.”
“It would be naive to think that seeing a play makes you a better person. If that was true then we critics who go to the theatre almost every night would be paragons of virtue.”
“[Ken] Jennings’ tweets could easily have been explained as a joke that didn’t translate well online, but in his next message, his final one on the subject, Jennings’ doubled down on his animosity towards the theatre and its audience. He wrote, ‘@HESherman @LouisPeitzman ok but they’ll have to turn up their hearing aids.'”
Steketee hopes the data will encourage companies to hire more women, and not just those who are already famous.
“Houstonians will shell out $200 for a touring production of Book of Mormon but would dismiss us based on looks. Or they simply didn’t even know we were here because of the lack of attractiveness factor.”
“To see Shakespeare as a court official working to please his political masters is not to reduce him to the level of functionary or propagandist. It is to marvel anew at the ways in which he could use even such humbling demands as sources of imaginative energy. … We begin to see a Shakespeare for whom the distinction between freedom and necessity is scarcely relevant. Here is Shakespeare as an opportunist in every sense, a political operator taking advantage of a shift in power and a voracious artist for whom the need to please new masters is not a restriction but a creative stimulus.”
Perhaps the most daunting finding was culled from 88 theaters that have shared numbers with TCG every year since 2005. That year their average attendance peaked at about 107,000. Since then there has been a fall-off of 8.7%, an average loss of about 9,000 theatergoers for each company over the nine years.
“The equal-opportunity Barrymore nominations turned into near-equal-opportunity wins at Theatre Philadelphia’s celebration of itself. The most wins were four each, going to Theater Exile’s The Whale, a play about a morbidly obese gay man, and to Norristown’s Theatre Horizon production of the Stephen Sondheim fairy tale musical Into the Woods. Beyond that, most of the nominated entities went home with more than a little something.”
“Over 6,600 productions were staged across the venues in 2014 – an increase of 2% on 2013 – earning £438.6m in ticket sales. Venues that seat over 500 and principally present, rather than produce, took three quarters of this total – a proportion that appears to be rising. Producing theatres also enjoyed growth though, with larger venues taking 9.6% more at the box office in 2014 and smaller ones 3.5%.”
The Grand Unification Theory of Theatre Reviewing begins, as all theories must, by rejecting the historical paradigm. The historical paradigm, in this case is “A good review = A positive review.” But what to replace this with?
“Aiming to visit every country in the world to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, and the 400th anniversary of his death, it has visited 136 countries out of 196. The only country the company could not get permission and insurance to visit was Syria, so they performed in the Zaatari refugee camp on the Jordanian border to an entirely Syrian audience.” (photo journal)
“[Isabella’s] willingness to be a martyr for chastity – and Angelo’s moral crackdown, backed by capital punishment – would seem less quaint to the Tea Party wing of the Republicans, at the Vatican, or in countries and cultures subject to Islamic sharia law. And so the conflict in the Vienna of the play between sexual licentiousness and censoriousness has an obvious contemporary topicality, while the play’s broader exploration of the nature of justice is perennially relevant: at the Globe, the production is part of a season under the umbrella theme of ‘Justice & Mercy’.”
UK Theatre member venues – predominantly theatres outside London – recorded £429 million at the box office in 2014. When added to the box office for theatres that are members of the Society of London Theatre in 2014 (£624 million), it reveals that theatre across the whole of the UK recorded a total box office of £1.05 billion.
“Prices rose much faster than overall inflation, which was around 1.5% between 2013 and 2014. But the rising prices did not stop people going to shows. More than 18 million tickets were sold in 2014 – up 2.4% since 2013.”
“Hoping to become a cultural staple for the city, Detroit Public Theater is modeled after New York’s Public Theater (hence the name). Its mission: not only to foster new artists and dig into the community with theatre programming, but present challenging new works.”
“Even with all the greatest copywriters in the world, it’s hard to improve on ‘Love Love Loved,’ especially when replete with visual aid and the concise hashtag ‘greatforhiphopheads.’ One can only hope the affection was genuine and spontaneous, rather than a matter of shared interests. Not that we would really know, either way. Given the intricate networks of agents, executives and representatives at the upper echelons of the entertainment business, I suspect there were elements of both.”
“Last week, they unveiled what they call ‘The Jubilee’: an initiative inviting theatres across the nation to pledge to produce only plays written by women, people of color, LGBTQA individuals, and writers with disabilities for a whole season.”
“Friends of the actor say they’ve never seen him so despondent. He sits in his dressing room after the show “totally lost,” one says. And sources say he’s getting no help from Mamet, who saw two dress rehearsals and the first preview and then vamoosed to California.”
“Broadway lotteries that offer deeply discounted tickets have blossomed since 1996, when “Rent” made some $20 seats at the Nederlander Theater available for every performance. (It started as a first-come, first-served offer but evolved into a lottery.)”
“I screamed more in that tiny haunt than I did walking through some of the top haunts in the United States with every high-priced animatronic and 20-foot-tall monster available. I believe the key difference was how immersed I was in the story and the personal connection I felt with the girl and the ghost.”
“Nick Starr has claimed the West End’s current ‘old and ageing’ playhouses are unable to accommodate [any] contemporary theatremaking … that is more innovative in form than revivals of old plays, and said new venues were needed to provide homes for theatremakers who want to create for spaces that are non-proscenium arch.”
“Inspired by airline and travel booking websites, the centre began using the Neo-Ticketing system in October 2015, testing a number of different algorithms that automatically adjust ticket prices according to time or demand.”
Inspired by Netflix and Amazon, the site lets audience-goers find exactly what they want — options include a show with puppets, a Shakespeare revival or a romance, and many more. There also are guides for folks who like their shows 90 minutes or less, family friendly or even scary, in time for Halloween.
“Rogue laughter,” as Boston-area actress Marianna Bassham calls it, has become an occupational hazard for actors, an annoyance for audiences, and an increasingly common phenomenon on stages from Boston to Broadway and from “A Streetcar Named Desire” to last year’s New York revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” starring Denzel Washington.
Under the initiative starting next spring, the producers of “Hamilton” will make tickets to select Wednesday matinees available for $70 for students attending New York City public high schools. The Rockefeller Foundation will subsidize $60 of each ticket, and students will pay just $10.
“My fellow arts leaders, the next time you find yourselves asking, “Why don’t our audiences include younger people? Why is our neighborhood gentrifying? Why aren’t we staging more innovative shows and developing young talent?”—rethink your admission prices and your outreach strategy.”
In the end, any new production of Shakespeare—on Broadway, TV or movies—is a kind of translation, a gambit for clarity and relevance amidst mystery. Maybe it’s the literal-mindedness of Play on! that has drawn such outrage and mockery.
Rizzo has written for the Courant for over thirty years. He has also contributed to such publications as Variety, American Theatre magazine, the Sondheim Review and The New York Times.
“We’re trying to make the digital capture of a Broadway show more like an original cast recording — something that’s done for every show as a matter of course.”