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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Return of the Kings Just in case you missed it (as if that were even possible,) Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane are back on Broadway, reprising their starring roles in The Producers. "The two actors, whose performances so delighted critics and audiences that the show has not been able to sustain its once formidable ticket sales without them, were enticed to return for 14 weeks at a salary of $100,000 a week each, an enormous sum for the theater." It's a situation that seemed ripe for a huge, high-profile flop, but the reviews this morning, a day after the pair's re-debut, are unanimous in their assessment: Lane and Broderick own these roles, and the public is unlikely to accept anyone else. The New York Times 12/31/03

  • Producing Chemistry The Broadway public is on record: Lane and Broderick are Bialystock and Bloom, and no one else will do. Michael Riedel agrees, and chalks it up to the easy, almost improvisational interaction between the two stars: "They broke each other up several times throughout the show, and, during the final number, when Broderick dropped his cane, Lane burst out in joyous laughter. That chemistry is in many ways a key to the success of the show, which, at its heart, is a love story between two lonely misfits." New York Post 12/31/03

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Fo: Taking On The Prime Minister Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's biggest critic these days comes from the stage, where Dario Fo unleashes his criticisms. "For all its grave accusations, "The Two-Headed Anomaly" is an almost vaudevillian romp. The show consists largely of short, fat and bald jokes about the prime minister and his councilors. It stages bawdy attacks not only on Mr. Berlusconi's politics but also on his personal life and his ethics. But that is exactly what Mr. Fo's fans expect and want." The New York Times 12/31/03

The New Age Of Understudy Pity the understudy. Most understudies rarely get that Cinderella call to the stage. But "the Royal Shakespeare Company's new director, Michael Boyd, has waved his magic wand and decreed that she shall go the ball - every understudy at Stratford is now contractually guaranteed at least one full public performance per production. As a morale booster, this seems to me both humane and practical, and it is also evidence of a new trend that brings the understudy out of the dressing room and into the spotlight." The Telegraph (UK) 12/30/03

Where Are New York's Great New Musicals There is plenty of musical theatre going on in New York. Most of it isn't first-rate. "New York is awash with performing talent, so why, aside from the obvious factors of cost and the inherently high failure rate for any collaborative art form, aren't the new works worthy of their actors?" Financial Times 12/30/03

Theatre Vulture New York theatre columnist Michael Riedel is "one of the most influential (and feared) media figures in Manhattan today," writes Richard Ouzounian. It's because of his "take-no-prisoners style of reporting." Says Riedel: "I think of Broadway as a very important industry for New York, and so I write about the business of Broadway. The shows that are making money and hiding it, the shows that are losing money and lying about it. I cover it all." Toronto Star 12/30/03

Monday, December 29, 2003

2003 On Broadway - Revenue Up, Ticket Sales Down 2003 Broadway grosses are "projected to be $730 million, up roughly 3.2% from the $707 million for 2002 and nearly 10% from the $664 million for 2001, when that year's final quarter saw the aftereffects of the Sept. 11 attacks. In terms of ticket holders, however, the league is projecting figures of 11.2 million in attendance during 2003, down from the 11.4 million in 2002 and down nearly one million from the record 12.1 million achieved in 2000." Backstage 12/29/03

Sunday, December 28, 2003

"Grease" Tops UK Top Musical Poll The musical "Grease" has been named the UK's most fravorite musical of all time, according to a Channel 4 poll. "When it was released the UK was in the grip of punk rock and Grease, set in 1950s America, was seen as a harmless antidote to the Sex Pistols. The film went on to become a box office smash taking $340m worldwide." BBC 12/28/03

After 27 Years, Mousetrap To Close After more than 9,000 performances in 27 years, "the Toronto production of The Mousetrap will close Jan. 15. Producer Peter Peroff says business has been down about 40 per cent this year, which he attributes to the combination of SARS, the war in Iraq and the Alberta mad-cow scare, all of which have made it difficult to attract the busloads of U.S. tourists upon which the long-running Agatha Christie whodunit relies." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/27/03

Where Are The New Broadway Musicals? By some measures you could say this has been a good season for the Broadway musical. But it hasn't been, really. Where are the new songs? The really new work that worked? "There's a real reluctance on the part of producers to take on new composers because to some degree no one is sure what a Broadway show is supposed to sound like anymore. Is it supposed to sound like Michael John LaChiusa? Or Alan Menken? If the Broadway sound were the pop music of the day, which it used to be, it would sound like hip-hop, but I don't think anyone feels there's much of a Broadway audience for that at the moment." The New York Times 12/26/03

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

NEA Shakespeare Program Pacifies Critics New Criterion editors have generally been against public funding of the arts in general and the NEA in particular. But "it is gratifying to report that the National Endowment for the Arts seems finally to have come around to our way of thinking on these issues. Under the leadership of the distinguished poet and critic Dana Gioia, the NEA has said farewell to the ephemeral and the meretricious. One evidence of the agency’s new commitment to quality is Shakespeare in American Communities." New Criterion 12/03

Is "Buffy" The Best Musical Of All-Time? A TV poll to name the top 20 musicals of all time includes - an episode of the American TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. "An all-singing episode of the cult teen sci-fi drama will battle it out with favourites such as Chicago, Cabaret and The Sound Of Music. Buffy is the only TV show to make the top 20 in Channel 4's The 100 Greatest Musicals." London Evening Standard 12/22/03

Broadway 2003: More Money, Fewer People "Fewer people saw shows on New York's Broadway during 2003 - but takings have gone up during the past year. Theatres predict the year will end with 11.2 million people visiting Broadway's venues, down from 11.4 million in 2002. But takings are expected to be up to $730m (£414m), compared with $707m (£401m) the previous year - helped by top ticket prices hitting $100 (£56). Broadway theatres are putting the drop in visitors down to a lack of big shows opening during the summer." BBC 12/23/03

Monday, December 22, 2003

Humana Chooses Festival Playwrights "For the second year in a row, the Actors Theatre of Louisville has filled five of its six slots for the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays, running Feb. 29-April 10, with works written by women." Backstage 12/19/03

Star Turn For Scotland's National Theatre? Finally Scotland has its National Theatre. Should it cast big movie stars to make itself successful at the box office? "It is not Hollywood names that bothers many in the theatre establishment, but the idea that the National Theatre is seen as a means of getting them, of making theatre 'sexier'. Is that what they were lobbying for all these years? You don’t need a national theatre for that...+ The Scotsman 12/21/03

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Tower Out On The Street London's "Tower Theatre had a 155-seat auditorium, two bars and rehearsal rooms, all housed in a fifteenth-century tower and hall in Canonbury, north London, rented from the Marquess of Northampton. Here they put on 20 full-scale productions a year, opening a new show every three weeks. But an alleged slip on the part of their lawyers led to the loss of their protected tenancy, and in March they became homeless. The financial consequences were disastrous." The Guardian (UK) 12/21/03

Who Can Stand For This? "Go to nearly any Broadway house, any night, and you can catch a crowd jumping up for the curtain call like politicians at a State of the Union address. And just as in politics, the intensity of the ovation doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the performance. The phenomenon has become so exaggerated, in fact, that audiences now rise to their feet for even the very least successful shows." The New York Times 12/21/03

Theatre - Year Of The Woman? (Playwright, That Is) Do women make good playwrights? There seems to be some prejudice in the industry suggesting they don't. "There is no question that most of our celebrated playwrights are male and that female writers are responsible for only a small minority of the plays produced in this country. But these historical trends are starting to change — and the proof is in the listings. Almost all the talked-about plays Off Broadway this fall were written by women." The New York Times 12/21/03

'Storefront Theater' Fights City Hall Chicago is teeming with theater groups, and in recent years, a lively subculture of theaters performing in semi-converted grocery stores and abandoned warehouses has sprung up, to the delight of audiences and critics. But many of the performance spaces are not even remotely up to city building codes, and "2003 may be remembered as a year not unlike 1999, a year in which the city cracked down, hard, on small theaters operating without a license... Unless the city streamlines the process by which a small theater can open its doors legally and affordably, 2003 may be remembered as the year the pendulum swung too far - and Chicago theater never quite recovered in full." Chicago Tribune 12/21/03

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Charlotte Repertory - Bumps On The Way To Greatness In 2001, Charlotte Repertory Theatre's board embarked on a five-year plan to become one of the best regional theatres in America. "Two years later, the Rep's trustees have driven away two artistic directors, two managing directors, two literary managers, and the first full-time development director in the company's 27-year history. In the wake of artistic director Michael Bush's sudden resignation last month, there is no permanent artistic leadership at Charlotte Rep, and the company is further from realizing its ambition than it was" Backstage 12/18/03

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Producers To London The Producers is going to London. Richard Dreyfuss and Lee Evans are to star in a West End version... London Evening Standard 12/17/03

A Year For Issues Theatre What kind of year was it for British theatre? Michael Billington writes that: "A year ago I bemoaned British theatre's detachment from politics. Where were the plays that dealt with the big issues? The heartening thing about 2003 has been theatre's reconnection with the wider world. We have had plays about Iraq, David Kelly, the railways, racial tension and Belfast. Theatregoing no longer seems a pleasantly marginal activity. The most cheering aspect of the year was the varied and rapid response to the Iraq crisis." The Guardian (UK) 12/18/03

American Immigration Bars Canadian Actor After weeks of trying to get an important Canadian actor into the United States for an upcoming production, San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre finally gave up and recast locally. "Since the creation the Department of Homeland Security, it has been increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for foreign artists to get into this country. While we tend to hear more often about artists from 'hostile' nations, such as Cuba, having the door slammed in their faces, the policy is obviously affecting Canadian artists as well." San Francisco Chronicle 12/17/03

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Stratford Signs Exec Director To 2015 Ontario's Stratford Festival (one of Canada's largest arts organizations) has signed executive director Antoni Cimolino to a contract extension that runs until 1015. "Under Cimolino's stewardship, ticket sales since 1998 have increased from 523,000 to more than 600,000 and the festival has been in a budget surplus in each year of his administration. The operating budget has increased from $34-million to $51-million annually." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/16/03

Theatre U Why should someone go to a university theatre program in Texas rather than work at a proper theatre? Greg Leaming, artistic director of Southern Methodist University's theatre program says his program can do things other theatres can't. "There's no reason why a person can't decide to go to the theater and say, 'Let's go to SMU.'We have the resources to do larger things than professional theaters can afford to tackle these days, and do them well. We just have to keep the bar raised good and high." Dallas Morning News 12/16/03

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Hard Road To Reinventing The RSC The Royal Shakespeare Company has fallen on hard times. "Millions of dollars in debt, scrambling for London outlets for its work and hungrily in pursuit of a vigorous new aesthetic, the company is in the midst of an ambitious attempt to reinvent itself under a new artistic director, Michael Boyd, the fifth man to hold the job since the company's inception in 1960. Each step taken by this new administration is being watched closely, especially since it's encountered obstacles in exporting productions from Stratford." Washington Post 12/14/03

Frozen In Time - When Literary Estates Say Hands Off Are protectors of literary estates too protective of the work they watch over? "In a theatrical age where the director is king and the quickest way to make your mark and your reputation is to let your ego run rampant on an established text, it is perhaps not surprising that estates and literary executors feel bound to protect the reputations of those who can no longer protect themselves. Unfortunately, these guardians often behave like ferocious guard dogs and are in danger of deterring directors and theatre companies from tackling classic works in new ways and keeping those texts alive." The Guardian (UK) 12/13/03

The Year Theatre Shrank The essential act of theatre is that it is live and that it happens in front of an audience. But what audience? In the past year, theatre artists have been playing with the idea of theatre created for audiences of one (or two...), theatre created special-sized for those willing to experience it. New York Times Magazine 12/14/03

Are Film Defections Hurting Theater? As more veterans of the theatrical stage defect to Hollywood, establishing lucrative film careers, many in the theater world are lamenting the trend. But are stage actors really damaged goods the minute they appear on film? "Is [Judi] Dench less convincing as the Countess of Rossillion in All's Well That Ends Well than, say, Peggy Ashcroft was, because the latter had avoided playing James Bond's boss? Do [Ian] McKellen's decades of speaking the greatest verse ever written help or hinder him and us when he starts spouting piffle about pixies chasing rings?" The Guardian (UK) 12/13/03

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Broadway - Standing In This has been Broadway's Year of the Understudy. "Thanks to star walkouts, babies, influenza and the common cold, understudies - typically theater's most obscure, least appreciated actors - have been stepping into the spotlight in record numbers." New York Daily News 12/11/03

Mixed Results For Ontario Theater Fests What with the down American economy and the SARS scare keeping many tourists out of Ontario, the last couple of years have been a struggle for the Shaw and Stratford festivals, southern Ontario's duelling theater showcases. The numbers on the latest season are out this week, and Stratford posted a modest surplus, while Shaw announced its first deficit in a decade. Still, Stratford exceeded 600,000 ticket-buyers for the fourth year in a row, even after having to cancel six shows as a result of the massive power outage which hit the northeast in August. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/11/03

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

TV Nation (On Stage) Plays are starting to look too much like TV, complains playwright Joanna Laurens. "Where are the subtle plays, plays that address current social issues by sidling up to them, not by hitting you over the head with them? That is what I want to see. I don't want the same experience from both television and theatre. The mediums don't function in the same way - and yet, they are increasingly being used interchangeably. Let's put this play on the screen; let's put this film on the stage. Let's clog up our theatres with naturalism." The Guardian (UK) 12/11/03

UK Theatre: Wanker Nation? What can you tell about a country by the plays it produces? An American critic drops in to the London stage, and reports that British playwrights seem to have a dismal perception of today's UK. "The organised, shimmering intelligence of contemporary British theatre contrasts, shockingly, with its vision of a hopelessly incompetent wanker nation. Is the Great Brittle of these 12 plays, a country where no one has any faith in anything, true to the life people are living outside the theatre? Or is the truer portrait of Britain in late 2003 that piece of street theatre enacted by thousands of well-behaved, jolly protesters in Trafalgar Square last month, toppling the papier-mché statue of George Bush? The Guardian (UK) 12/11/03

"Angels" - Missing Out "Angels in America" is such a creature of the theatre, that no matter how skilled the screen translation, it loses something on the TV. "For all its gorgeous writing, “Angels” doesn’t prove suited to film the way “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” did. Mr. Kushner’s plays are strict creatures of the theater in ways that many of his predecessors’ and most of his contemporaries’ are not. He is our foremost playwright of the imagination. I mean this partly in the sense that he can send characters darting off to Heaven or Antarctica without seeming foolish, but mostly in the sense that, on the stage, his plays demand that we engage our own imaginations." New York Sun 12/10/03

An Authentic Shakespeare Audience, in Manhattan This week, Lincoln Center Theater's production of Shakespeare's Henry IV played to a packed house - of public high school students. Student audiences are rarely a performer's dream, but this one was apparently quite different. "Certainly they were not the usual Wednesday matinee crowd. They hooted, cheered, hissed and roared with laughter. They were probably closer to an Elizabethan audience at the Globe than anything the actors at the Vivian Beaumont Theater had ever faced. It was, in the language of the theater, a great house." The New York Times 12/10/03

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

The Shaw Festival's Disastrous Season At The Box Office Ontario's Shaw Festival saw revenues and attendance plunge this season. "Total attendance at the Niagara-on-the-Lake theatre festival in 2003 was 269,407, compared with 315,477 in 2002 and 331,001 in 2001. Revenues from theatre operations slumped to $13.2 million, compared with $16.9 million in 2002. No one was available last night to comment on how deeply the festival will be in the red. One previous estimate in the Star put the total at about $2 million." Toronto Star 12/09/03

Monday, December 8, 2003

Wright: Melbourne Theatre Stuck In The 19th Century "According to Tom Wright, theatre in Melbourne has become stylistically mired in late-19th-century naturalism and has lost its intellectual edge. 'There's a discourse in Melbourne, mostly led by Adrian Martin, that takes cinema seriously and contextualises it as an art form. That's exactly what's lacking in theatre. No one's providing a sense of historical perspective, and that makes it easy for theatre companies to develop a certain plodding sensibility where comfort becomes the major factor'." The Age (Melbourne) 12/09/03

Why "Angels" Is So Powerful "Angels in America is, like any good funeral, more for the living than for the dead. That's where "life beyond hope" comes in. Even if an AIDS cure were announced tomorrow, survivors and caretakers couldn't simply block out the last quarter-century and groove on the latest Rufus Wainwright disc. You've seen the purple leg - in the flesh - and there's no going back." Philadelphia Inquirer 12/08/03

Goodspeed - Embarrasment Of Riches Connecticut's Goodspeed Musicals has been offered a sweetheart deal to leave the town it's called home for 127 years. Maybe the theatre could operate in two venues? "While it would be great to support two theatres, I don't think it's possible. We have to choose between the two towns. The clock is ticking: We want to finally get this theatre built so we're not going to drag our feet in making a decision." Backstage 12/03/03

  • Previously: Opera Rules Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House, has for years talked about building a larger, state-of-the-art facility to complement his Victorian candy box of a theater in the town of East Haddam. Now the company is planning not just for a new theater but for the literal transformation of the town, with theaters, new retail space for galleries, restaurants and specialty shops, a pedestrian plaza, a possible musical theater school, a 30,000-square-foot scene shop, riverfront walkways and, most dramatic of all, a showboat with a 700-seat dinner theater cruising the river. Hartford Courant 02/07/00

Why "Angels" Don't Fly On TV The TV version of "Angels in America" has been well-hyped. Jan Herman watched and came away disappointed. "The common complaint that big films come off poorly on the tube applies doubly in this case to big plays. It's hard to imagine how Nichols spent $60 million when the production looks like a routine TV drama, despite the special effects. Actually, in contrast to the play, which largely dispensed with realistic scenery and left most of the design to the imagination, Sunday night's "big event" often looked so set-bound and old-fashioned in the way it was shot that routine TV dramas have more edge." Straight Up (AJBlogs) 12/08/03

Sunday, December 7, 2003

What Happened To The "Angels" Effect? Back in 1993, "Angeles in America" was a miraculous thing, and it promised a generation of new plays that would follow. But, writes Frank Rizzo, "the plays that followed, on Broadway at least, were largely more of what had come before: naturalistic or tiny-cast shows centering on family crises or issues of personal identity. They examined the characters as individuals; some were wonderfully done, but few explored who we are as a community, as a country and a member of the global village. They...furthered their canons but did not necessarily stretch their art. But nothing compared to our being touched by Angels." Hartford Courant 12/07/03

The Problem(s) With Chicago Theatre The hit musical "Urinetown" had its origins ten years ago in Chicago in a tiny storefront. But the show never got traction there, and it took a move to New York and a decade for the show to morph into a hit. "And yet had 'Urinetown' become a fringe Chicago musical - which it was inches away from becoming - it likely would have run here for a month and then sunk without a trace in a city that still seems woefully unable to propel its homegrown properties to national prominence and longevity - unless those artists involved ship out for the coasts and start all over." Chicago Tribune 12/07/03

Labor Fight Tearing Up Touring Shows In America "Labor strife is the most contentious dispute in touring theater today, a battleground that could create aesthetic and financial casualties for audiences as well as producers and presenters. Using non-Equity actors can greatly reduce a producer's costs of putting a show on the road: Union actors in major productions earn $1,252 a week plus $742 in expense money, which covers lodging, meals and other incidentals of life on the road. Non-Equity producers generally don't disclose their payroll figures, but the union asserts that non-union performers' earnings hover around $500 a week, with an additional $250 for expenses." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 12/07/03

Saturday, December 6, 2003

Two Glitzy London Theatres Get A Redo "If you want plush, if you want opulence, if you want to revel in the theatrical experience, then this winter you are in for a treat with the rebirth of two of London's finest Edwardian theatres, the Hackney Empire and the Coliseum. Thanks to dollops of lottery cash and the generosity of private individuals these two masterpieces by that greatest of Edwardian theatre designers, Frank Matcham, should open on January 28 and February 7 respectively." But what about London's other theatres? The Telegraph (UK) 12/06/03

Canadian Theatre's Color Problem There's a big problem "simmering beneath the surface of mainstream Canadian theatre," writes Kate Taylor. "In a country that is increasingly racially diverse, the on-stage faces continue to remain almost exclusively white." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/06/03

Thursday, December 4, 2003

MTM Quits Neil Simon Play Mary Tyler Moore has quit Neil Simon's new play while still in rehearsals. "Ms. Moore was seen storming out the backstage door minutes before the 2 p.m. curtain on Wednesday. Several sources close to the production said she had just received a brusque letter written by Mr. Simon and delivered by his wife, the actress Elaine Joyce, reproaching her for not knowing her lines. Ms. Moore had received prompting through a microphone in her ear, the sources said." The New York Times 12/05/03

Dario Fo's Natural Target Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has an unpleasant habit of burying dissent in the media (of which he controls a fair amount). So who's ready to skewer him? Playwright Dario Fo, of course. "Thus the time is clearly ripe for Fo to write and perform a commedia dell'arte based on Berlusconi. Fo and, involuntarily, Berlusconi have been building up to the moment for more than 40 years." Financial Times 12/05/03

Bringing Multimedia To The Stage Live theatre offers an audience experience that can't be duplicated by TV or on film. And yet, "theatre artists are increasingly toying with multimedia, often in commercial settings. Off- and Off-Off-Broadway, is a daring and natural breeding ground for multimedia experimentation." Backstage 12/04/03

D.C. Shakespeare Theatre To Expand Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre has announced plans for a new 800-seat theatre to go with its existing home in the district's downtown. The new theater will cost $77 million, and is expected to open in 2007. The project is a gamble, since there is plenty of theatrical competition in Washington, but the company is confident that it can sell 1,200 tickets a night, and says that its subsribers support the expansion. Washington Post 12/04/03

  • Revitalizing a Downtown Benjamin Forgey says that the Shakespeare's new building, having been wisely placed on a key block of Washington real estate, will be one of the most significant additions to the city's architectural and cultural scene in recent memory. "Together with MCI Center, it signifies the reinvention of the old downtown as a new center of arts and entertainment. And as part of a big, oft-stalled development taking up three-quarters of a very large, strategically key city block, it demonstrates that complex obstacles can be overcome with enough patience, time, money and, above all, foresight." Washington Post 12/04/03

Insensitivity Alleged at Toronto's Factory A Toronto theater has cancelled a production of Chilean playwright Carmen Aguirre's play, The Refugee Hotel, after Ms. Aguirre complained publicly that director Ken Gass was disorganized, culturally insensitive, and ethnocentric in his casting decisions. Gass insists that he made every effort to find minority actors for the production at the Factory Theatre, but was unable to cast more than one. Aguirre claims that Gass stated flatly that "I want superb actors for your play and actors of colour are not superb." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/04/03

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Businessman/Actor Named To Head New Scottish National Theatre Richard Findlay, a trained actor and respected businessman who runs a media empire, has been named as the Scottish National Theatre's first director. "The Scottish Executive this year set aside £7.5 million in funding for the theatre over two years. It is to operate on an entirely untried model - with no building of its own, commissioning productions from existing theatres and companies." The Scotsman 12/04/03

The Secret Lives Of Critics "When you see the critics at the theater,chatting up the ushers, signing autographs for all who want them, we seem like a mild-mannered bunch; if you tickle us, do we not laugh? But underneath, we’re vicious, vicious! We’re sworn members of a secret organization, a vast writing conspiracy. Compared to the New York drama critics, the Masons look like the Girl Scouts. And this season’s bad reviews are just the beginning." New York Sun 12/03/03

Everybody Wants A Piece "Just like any dedicated arts group, Loose Moose Theatre, a 26-year-old improv company in Calgary, has been going against the grain and bucking a trend -- although certainly not on purpose." The company was forced out of its home in a thriving Calgary neighborhood last winter, and has been searching for a new home ever since. Meanwhile, other theater companies around town have been moving into new spaces with significant help from provincial and federal arts funding programs, and a further influx of public money into Calgary's theater revival seems certain. There may even be some for Loose Moose. National Post (Canada) 12/03/03

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

When Harry And Sally Went To the West End A musical stage version of the movie "When Harry Met Sally" is headed for London's West End. It's the latest in a string of theatre projects to be made based on movies. "The play is set to open in February for an initial limited run of 16 weeks. The role of Sally - Meg Ryan in the film - was likely to go to an American actress, producer James Tod said." BBC 12/02/03

Chicago Theatre Crackdown "Several small, non-profit Chicago theaters still are reeling from a surprise Nov. 21 crackdown by the City of Chicago's Department of Revenue on venues without the required Public Place of Amusement (PPA) licenses. And at least one of the city's theaters consequently has given up its home for good." Chicago Tribune 12/02/03

Austin Musical Theatre Files Bankruptcy "In the biggest smashup of the two-year Austin arts bust, Broadway Texas, formerly known as Austin Musical Theatre, filed for bankruptcy Monday." Austin American Statesman 12/02/03

Monday, December 1, 2003

"Spam" On "Cam" Too Much For Broadway? Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame) has been talking about writing a show for Broadway called "Spamalot." "But opposition to "Spamalot" has come from an unexpected quarter: Plans are also afoot for a revival of the classic Lerner and Loewe musical "Camelot" on Broadway that same season. Those producers aren't keen to share even part of their title. Recently, an attorney from "Camelot's" production team faxed a note to the Monty Python people suggesting that since "Camelot" got there first (it was originally produced in 1961, while "Holy Grail" was released in 1975), perhaps the "Spam" folks should consider changing the moniker of their production." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 11/24/03

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