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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Brazil Is Mad For Musicals "Two distinct but interrelated types of musical theater have won a following here over the decades: traditional imported Broadway musicals and home-grown, often quirky Brazilian musical shows that draw on a variety of sources but add distinctly local twists." Los Angeles Times 07/31/05

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Seattle Theatre Glows Healthy Seattle theatre has rebounded after a couple of down years. Every major theatre in the Seattle region reports increased ticket sales, reduced deficits and a generally healthy outlook... Seattle Post-Intelligencer 07/28/05

Report: Discrimination Common Against Disabled Actors A new study says discrimination against actors with disabilities is high. "Performers with disabilities are more than 50 percent more likely to experience workplace discrimination than Americans without disabilities." Backstage 07/28/05

Theatre Calgary's New Top Guy Theatre Calgary has a new director. He's "Dennis Garnhum, 37, a London, Ont., native who has been living in New York for the past three years, is a chameleon director whose résumé includes musical theatre, opera, American and British political drama, murder mysteries and a number of new Canadian plays." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/28/05

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Broadway On A Record Pace "Maybe it's the air-conditioning or the advertising or even - imagine this - the entertainment, but Broadway is sizzling. Eight weeks into the 2005-6 season and despite an oppressive blanket of heat flopped over the city, box-office sales are up by 9 percent over last summer, with a 5 percent increase in attendance, making for the industry's fastest start ever... The attendance and box-office figures, which include sales through Sunday, put Broadway on track to set records for both attendance and gross sales, good news for an industry that saw negligible growth last season. Bullish Broadway executives say much of the summertime boom is the result of a current crush of tourism, including many overseas travelers drawn to the United States by the weak dollar." The New York Times 07/28/05

Tough Times To Be A Controversial Playwright "These are awkward times for provocative playwright Dennis Kelly. In May, he had a play at London's Hampstead Theatre with the controversial title Osama the Hero, and now his new one, After the End, shows what happens in the wake of a terrorist nuclear attack... Does Kelly have any doubts about writing about a terror attack now that one has happened? 'The bombs in London are so recent that I'm not really sure what I feel. The play is about how we behave, and it argues that terrorism, no matter how terrible, cannot change our society - only we can do that. It's us that choose to become monsters - terrorists can't make us monsters.'" The Telegraph (UK) 07/27/05

Rea Blocked From American Appearance "American Equity, the professional actors' union, has invoked contractual and financial barriers that make it impossible for Stephen Rea, noted Irish film and stage actor, to appear in Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's long-advertised world premiere of "Henry" by Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy... The impasse between Equity and PICT over Rea was because the Small Professional Theatre contract with Equity under which PICT operates states, 'Non-resident aliens shall not be employed in Small Professional Theatre productions.'" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 07/27/05

The Next Davidson It's not easy being the son of a legend. Just ask Adam Davidson, who has started to carve out a name for himself in the L.A. theatre scene, even as he simultaneously attempts to slip out from under the considerable shadow cast by his father, Gordon, head of the Center Theater Group for 40 years. Los Angeles Times 07/27/05

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Black Theatre In The UK Looks To Move Forward England's Arts Council has denied a funding request for a new dedicated black theatre called Talawa, setting off a storm of criticism from the company. But not everyone is sure the council's decision will hurt black theatre in London. "While nobody in the black theatre community... is glad to see the project fail, and all express concern about Talawa's now uncertain future, many see this as an opportunity to reassess the needs of black theatre in Britain when its profile is undergoing significant changes." The Guardian (UK) 07/27/05

PICT Director Departing "Stephanie Riso, a co-founder and managing director of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, will leave the company in January to pursue her career as a performer and composer... Riso co-founded PICT with the company's artistic director, Andrew Paul, in 1996." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 07/26/05

But It Worked On The Home Shopping Network! As it turns out, nobody in New York is much interested in the life of Suzanne Somers. The former sitcom star spent $4 million to bring her autobiographical, one-woman show to Broadway, where it received scathing reviews, flopped hard and closed after less than a week. A further planned tour to Toronto has been scrapped as well. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/26/05

The Little Avant-Garde That Could The problem with running an avant garde theatre, of course, is defining success. Are you successful if your product is so cutting edge that audiences stay away in droves? Or if you are so convincing that you bring in the crowds despite the difficult content? And once you've been discovered by the public, how do you keep your edge in the face of the encroachment of the mainstream theatre world? If you're L.A.'s scrappy City Garage, you just keep right on plugging away like you always have, worrying about the art more than the bottom line, and raising the theatrical standard to a level far higher than the average experimental troupe. "Indeed, City Garage's auteurist single-mindedness, particularly as applied to its original works and adaptations, is unique in Los Angeles theater, perhaps in the country." Los Angeles Times 07/24/05

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Old Vic's Day Of Reckoning London's Old Vic is launching an ambitious project to find the 50 most talented young people in the city's theatre scene, and to give them exactly 24 hours to do something impressive with their moment in the spotlight. "Over the span of a single night and day teams that have never worked together before must write, produce and perform plays. At 10pm the 'companies', each consisting of a playwright, a director, a producer and a handful of actors, is put together for the first time. The playwrights have all night to come up with a script; cast and crew have from 7am to rehearse it and learn their lines, before curtain up at 8pm. It's terrifying for old timers, let alone newcomers. Yet the practice of creating a piece of theatre in the crucible of such a short time is not only invigorating but also immensely instructive." The Telegraph (UK) 07/25/05

Is Dublin's Abbey Still Relevant? With Dublin's historic Abbey Theatre in the throes of a powerful fiscal crisis, Mary Kenney worries that a large percentage of the Irish public may not be interested in saving it. "Although they say, in opinion polls, that that they approve of a national theatre, not enough ordinary people really go there. [BBC soap operas] Coronation Street and EastEnders, along with Irish television soaps such as Fair City, now provide the everyday stories that were once part of the Abbey repertoire. When you go to the Abbey these days, the audience is often composed of visiting Americans and the well-heeled Dublin bourgeoisie. After it is "restructured", with proper subsidies, I hope that it will connect more to the life of the people." The Guardian (UK) 07/25/05

Waiting For A Half-Century Samuel Beckett's masterpiece of 20th century drama, Waiting For Godot, is almost more of a caricature than a touchstone these days, with parodies abounding. Even so, 50 years after its premiere, Godot "has lost none of its power to astonish and to move, but it no longer seems self-consciously experimental or obscure. With unerring economy and surgical precision, the play puts the human animal on stage in all his naked loneliness. Like the absolute masterpiece it is, it seems to speak directly to us, to our lives, to our situation, while at the same time appearing to belong to a distant, perhaps a non-existent, past." The Guardian (UK) 07/25/05

Probably Shoulda Seen This Coming "An abridged version of the Broadway hit Spamalot will open in Las Vegas in 2007 at a custom-built theatre. Casino impresario Steve Wynn plans to stage the show at his Nevada resort at a cost of more than $50m. The musical, written by Eric Idle and based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, opened on Broadway in March and won three Tonys in June." BBC 07/25/05

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Topical Musicals Reach Critical Mass At Edinburgh Fringe "Alzheimer's, 9/11, Asbos, the Yorkshire Ripper, the 'war on terror', the apocalypse - there's no shortage of provocative topics on the Edinburgh Fringe this year. The extraordinary thing is they are all being tackled in musicals. It's striking that song-and-dance extravaganzas can be staged out of such sensitive subjects. How did a 'low' artform get so grown-up?" The Observer (UK) 07/24/05

How Much Is That Plane Ticket To New York? Broadway junkies just can't seem to get a proper fix in the Twin Cities. "There's much to brag about in local theater, from the reported number of seats sold to the fact that we have three Tony-winning regional playhouses in Minneapolis: the Guthrie, which is completing its $125 million, three-stage complex on the Mississippi River; the Children's Theatre, which will soon unveil its own $24 million expansion, and Theatre de la Jeune Lune, whose inventive creations have drawn a growing international following. But the upcoming seasons in Minneapolis and St. Paul, each without a pre-Broadway show or buzz-heavy blockbuster, make us look as if we are in the sticks." Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 07/24/05

No Stopover In Twin Cities For Broadway-Bound Shows Minneapolis is an arts mecca, no doubt about it. But there's one category in which it consistently loses out to Chicago and San Francisco: premieres of Broadway-bound plays and musicals. Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 07/24/05

Non-Equity Tour May Prompt Leafleting In LA The formula is simple: Budget woes demand cheaper shows. But when theaters cut costs by hosting nonunion touring productions, Actors' Equity feels compelled to object -- as it threatens to do if the debt-saddled Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities presents a non-Equity tour of "42nd Street."
Los Angeles Times 07/24/05

A Star In The Making In Western Mass. "Every summer, a theater world routinely awakens, Brigadoon-like, in the Berkshires. But the past few summers have brought a genuine surprise: Julianne Boyd's nonprofit Barrington Stage Company, which has emerged as a serious challenge to the dominance of the region's most established venues." A little show that premiered there, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," won two Tony Awards this year. The New York Times 07/24/05

Friday, July 22, 2005

Avignon Takes A Dive France's world-renowned Avignon Festival is having a bad year, with critics calling it "purgatory" or worse, and patrons walking out of performances in droves. "The festival was crippled in 2003 after a strike by theatre workers, but returned with healthy audiences last year. Ticket sales for this year's events had been strong." One critic described this year's festival as the worst in 37 years, and another wrote, "You think you've reached the last point in mediocrity, pretentiousness and confusion. But no. There is always something worse." BBC 07/22/05

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Comedy Of Errors Nearly Becomes A Dublin Tragedy "Ireland's national theatre, founded 100 years ago by WB Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, narrowly avoided having to turn out the lights and declare insolvency this morning. The entire management board offered its resignation yesterday after a disastrous year in which it managed to lose almost €1m [$1.2 million] into a 'black hole' without even noticing. The Abbey has slipped €3.4m into the red and witnessed a battle of egos worthy of Oscar Wilde's cruellest comedy. Now a report by independent financial consultants has accused the byzantine management structure of gross incompetence." The Guardian (UK) 07/22/05

Inside The Lines The tourists who pack Broadway shows seem, unaccountably, to have developed a new habit of standing in line outside the theatre they're waiting to enter, when they could just as easily walk right up to the door and walk to their $100 reserved seat anytime they please. No one seems to know why they do it, and no native New Yorkers seem especially eager to point out that the big line o' tourists isn't strictly necessary. "There was no rational reason to stand in line. Had security lines at airports inured people to standing around, waiting to shed their shoes? Or had Americans since 9/11 come to see lining up as a sign of good citizenry, and a rejection of unseemly anarchy?" The New York Times 07/20/05

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Enduring Appeal Of Vintage Musicals? "Popular culture has turned divisive and pop-based musicals are unlikely to be outings that the whole family can enjoy. What gives the musical form its growing heritage status is an appeal that carries across the generations, from war vets to under-tens, and that is such a precious rarity in our fissured society that it demands conservation and participation. Poised at the midpoint of high and mass culture, musical theatre reaches the parts that more formal arts cannot begin to touch." La Scena Musicale 07/20/05

Monday, July 18, 2005

Guthrie Reports A Mixed Year Minneapolis' Guthrie Theatre reports its lowest number of subscribers in seven years. "The Guthrie, which has been led since July 1995 by artistic director Joe Dowling, reported total revenues of $18.6 million and total expenses of $20 million. After a $1.4 million transfer from other funds, the Guthrie had a surplus of $25,874. The theater reported 27,172 subscribers for the 2004-2005 fiscal year -- 3,000 fewer than the previous fiscal year." The Star-Tibune (Mpls) 07/18/05

Colorado Loves Theatre (But Mostly One Theatre) "Colorado theaters drew 1.7 million patrons and generated $54 million in ticket revenue in 2004, according to a first-of-its-kind survey by The Denver Post. Pretty good for a state of 4.6 million people. But then there's the tragic frown: Nearly half of those who attended the theater anywhere in Colorado went to a show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. That's great news for the largest performing-arts center between Chicago and Los Angeles. It is not such good news for the nearly 100 other theater companies in Colorado fighting over the other half." Denver Post 07/18/05

Broadway - The Disney Years "Broadway has never truly been owned by anyone, but its eras always have been defined by the proliferation of a particular producer or creative team. Forty years before Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein had five musicals running at the same time. Producer Manny Azenberg once had seven shows running simultaneously. "And how many shows did David Merrick have running at one time?" Schumacher asked. Still, this is unmistakably Disney's time on Broadway - and all things Disney-like." Denver Post 07/18/05

Shakespeare In The Original English London's Globe Theatre is going to stage a production of Shakespeare in what is thought to be its original pronunciation. "Actors in Troilus and Cressida will recite their lines with accents believed to have been heard on the stage during Elizabethan times. It follows on from brief experiments with original pronunciation during the company's run of Romeo and Juliet in June 2004." BBC 07/18/05

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The $27-Million Musical Is Underway It's six months until the massive new Lord of the Rings musical opens in Toronto, and casting and set-building are well under way. "At $27-million, LOTR is the most ambitious and expensive musical production in theatre history..." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/16/05

No Doubt, The Play's A Hit One of the biggest surprises on Broadway this season was the box office success of "Doubt." "In the surprisingly brief space of four months, "Doubt," by playwright and "Moonstruck" screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, is in the black, a condition that most Broadway productions never achieve. In mid-June, its producers announced the play had made back the $2 million spent to get it to Broadway. Now their talk is about how best to widen "Doubt's" reach. Plans are already in the works for a national tour -- another rarity for a non-musical. A London run, naturally, is being discussed, and there's early buzz about a movie." Washington Post 07/17/05

Success Is Relative "When it comes to the health of theater in Colorado, it all depends on whether you see the mask as half-comedy or half-tragedy. On the smiley side, Colorado theaters drew 1.7 million patrons and generated $54 million in ticket revenue in 2004... But then there's the tragic frown: Nearly half of those who attended the theater anywhere in Colorado went to a show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. That's great news for the largest performing-arts center between Chicago and Los Angeles. It is not such good news for the nearly 100 other theater companies in Colorado fighting over the other half." Denver Post 07/17/05

Where Theatre Still Has Teeth In the wake of the London bombings, the British arts press has been focusing on a West End play that would be controversial under any circumstances, a docudrama called "Talking To Terrorists." The fact that such a production even exists speaks volumes about London's attitude towards political theatre, and makes for a striking contrast with an increasingly prickly American public. Chicago Tribune 07/17/05

Friday, July 15, 2005

Wicked Good Box Office "Wicked" is in Chicago for an extended stay. It's earning more than $1.1 million a week at the box office. "Ponder for a moment the astonishing appeal of "Wicked." Many people think "The Producers" was a hit. Yet its tours have dribbled into decline. Overly dependent on its original stars and with a limited urban audience, "The Producers" was a solid performer, for sure, but its New York staying power actually is turning out to be nowhere near what many people predicted. "Wicked," which got lousy reviews compared to "The Producers," is a genuine popular hit. And those come around about as often as a tornado hits Oz." Chicago Tribune 07/15/05

The State Auditor And The Theatre Taxes A random audit of a small theatre in Seattle earlier this year led the State to rule that actors should be paid as employees rather than contractors. That means theatres have to make deductions and pay new taxes... and where does that come from? Actors' pay. "I don't think there's any producer in town who wants to screw [over] actors—it's just a matter of what you can afford to do. It sounds weird to [debate whether] actors should get minimum wage. Well, they should—but they weren't getting anything before, so the theaters that are actually trying to pay something are being told, 'Unless you can pay them the whole amount, don't pay 'em.' That's pretty much what's being said." Seattle Weekly 07/13/05

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Plans For UK's First Black Theatre Fail Britain was to have its first black theatre, due to open in 2007. But plans for the theatre have collapsed as the Arts Council pulled the plug on the proposed resident company, Talawa. "The council has lost faith in the company, after bitter internal disputes and a string of resignations, and in the business plans for the new theatre." The Guardian (UK) 07/14/05

The Real Drama Is Just Offstage The Minneapolis-based Playwrights' Center has a unique mission - distributing seed money and creative support to local dramatists - and it has long been a welcome part of the Twin Cities' theatre community. But a new artistic director has begun to take the center in new directions, some of which have ruffled some powerful feathers. Now, the controversy over the center's direction has burst into the open with the wide distribution of a scathing e-mail written by a local playwright and former theatre critic. The e-mail may even have caused the center to lose $25,000 in funding from a local foundation. City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) 07/13/05

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why Perform The Complete Shakespeare? "Why Shakespeare now more than ever? There's no end of blah-blah about eternal values, which remains as eternally true as it is eternally dull. There is also the less-banged-on-about simple pleasure of watching his plays. If we are on an island we would prefer to be deserted with the complete Beethoven than the collected John Barry. This is yet more dramatically the case with Shakespeare, who is not just head and shoulders above the playwriting competition, he's floating around in a hot air balloon waving benignly at everyone from Aeschylus to Caryl Churchill. But beyond the eternal blah-blahs and the sheer devilry of it, there is a sense now that Shakespeare is moving into his moment." The Guardian (UK) 07/12/05

Philadelphia Theatre's Boffo Year This past season was a terrific one for Philadelphia theatre, with artistic success and strong box office. "Great," "phenomenal," "pretty fabulous" were among the adjectives employed by management of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Walnut Street Theatre and Arden Theatre Company respectively, the organizations that are finishing the season with grand slams. Philadelphia Inquirer 07/12/05

Lloyd Webber Sells Theatres Andrew Lloyd Webber has sold four of his West End theatres. "
Lord Lloyd-Webber said the £10m proceeds would be put towards the refurbishment over the next five years of his eight remaining music houses, including the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. 'These wonderful, treasured buildings have always been my first love and I am so pleased that we can ensure that they will be preserved and modernised,' he said."
The Guardian (UK) 07/12/05

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Year of Shakespeare The Royal Shakespeare Company reveals details of its ambitious plans to produce the entire stage works of Shakeseare in a single season. "The year-long festival will see every word ever written by the playwright performed in Stratford-upon-Avon from April 2006. The Complete Works will embrace film, new writing and contemporary music as well as a comprehensive survey of theatre artists currently interpreting Shakespeare worldwide. It will be the first time all 37 plays, sonnets and long poems have been presented at the same event." The Guardian (UK) 07/11/05

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Day Theatre Went Dark In London "For the first time since the Blitz during the Second World War, every West End theatre cancelled its performances that day. Several shows that were due to perform matinee performances cancelled those first; then, as the police urged everyone to stay away from central London, evening performances were cancelled, too. All public subway and bus transport in central London was suspended in the immediate wake of the attacks, making it impossible for performers or audiences alike to get to the theatres in any case. Some theatres, like the Royal Court, automatically refunded all patrons who had booked. Others are seeking to exchange tickets for future performances." Backstage 07/10/05

Why Do Mamet's Progeny Sound Like Sendups? "The language they use to show their smarts and their cool is the language that all of Mamet's men use: R-rated and graphic. They rattle off four-letter words the way a jazz pianist does blue notes -- to spice up a performance that might otherwise be too bland. The problem is that Mamet's followers in all the narrative arts have made that language mainstream. As a result, the first-act tableaux in a Chinese restaurant, spiels in which three of the salesmen jockey for power, have lost their outrageousness and now seem more like sendups of Mamet." Boston Globe 07/10/05

The Plays That Wouldn't End Apparently, things just aren't worth enjoying anymore unless they're "extreme." The tag gets put on everything from skateboarding to soft drinks, so why not theatre? "Marathons (as savvy marketers have called them since the running boom of the 1970's) defy conventional ideas about how long full-length plays are. These productions can run 20 hours or more." The New York Times 07/10/05

Friday, July 8, 2005

Is Andrew Lloyd Webber Dismantling His Theatre Empire? "Lloyd Webber is at a crossroads and the path he chooses over the next weeks will redraw the map of London's theatreland and, it is believed, possibly change it forever. He is London's biggest theatrical landlord and it has been known for months that he is considering selling his business, but we can reveal that, after this weekend's festival he will meet his advisers to consider a range of options that include a complete withdrawal from the West End." The Scotsman 07/08/05

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Touring Children's Theatre Tries To Make It At Home "Since it began in 1961, Theaterworks/USA has become the largest touring children's theater company in the country, with as many as 14 shows on the road at a time, traveling to 1,320 cities, towns, villages and hamlets, including Washington and Los Angeles as well as Cando, N.D. (population: 1,372). But now the organization also wants to make it big in its own hometown, which happens to be New York City, where getting noticed is not easy." The new York Times 07/08/05

Plays Rarely Require 63 Acres Of Stage Space, Anyway Shakespeare & Company, a summer troupe based in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, is selling half of a 63-acre parcel of land it bought in 2000 in an effort to wipe out a $2.2 million debt and give the company a modicum of financial stability. "The sale also means that company founder and artistic director Tina Packer's stalled campaign to re-create on the site London's Rose Theatre, where several of Shakespeare's plays were mounted, can move forward again." Boston Globe 07/07/05

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

A West End Check Up - How To Keep It Healthy London's West End is doing well right now. But how to keep it thriving? How might it have to change to stay succesful in 20 years time? Herewith some strong opinions... The Guardian (UK) 07/06/05

Half of Jujamcyn Theaters Up For Sale "The owner of Broadway's third largest theater chain is looking for a partner. Rocco Landesman, the colorful Broadway producer who bought Jujamcyn Theaters last year for $30 million, is trying to sell a 50 percent stake in the company for about $50 million." But Landesman, who is pursuing some of Broadway's richest financiers for the partnership, could get more than he bargained for, given Broadway's long history of political and financial squabbles. New York Post 07/06/05

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Fire Destroys Berkeley Rep Shop A fire has destroyed Berkeley Repertory Theatre's scene shop. "The Rep's two theaters and adjacent School of Theatre in downtown Berkeley were not affected by the three-alarm fire, but the rented warehouse where the company has built all its sets for 15 years, located many blocks away in northwest Berkeley, was destroyed. The Rep's immediate losses, estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, were principally in the form of tools and materials." San Francisco Chronicle 07/05/05

Lloyd Webber To Sell West End Theatres A Lloyd-Webber is close to selling four of his 12 West End theatres for about £11 million. "The sale would change the face of theatreland, with a big new theatre owner - Broadway producer Max Weitzenhoffer - entering the West End fray." The Guardian (UK) 07/05/05

Why Is The West End So Celeb-Happy? "Take, for example, the Postman Always Rings Twice. On stage we had the dense lacklustre performance of Kilmer, in the audience there was Tracey Emin trying to start a standing ovation and Terry Wogan looking on. Is this what theatre has become? Celebrity Luvve Island? Ewan McGregor in Guys and Dolls, Ross Geller in Some Girl(s) - oops, sorry it's David Schwimmer isn't it, and Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic. Then there's the audience which is equally star-studded. It's as if success can only be measured by your sleb count and the length of your ovation depends on the number of stars studding the cast not the quality of the performance." The Guardian (UK) 07/03/05

Major Sponsor Pulls Support For Edinburgh Fringe Play A major sponsor at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has withdrawn its support for a play and ordered its logo removed from all publicity surrounding it. "Smirnoff, which sponsors The Underbelly venue, has a reputation for cutting-edge advertising, but the content of Dirty Works, by New York-based British playwright Jamie Linley, has proved too much for the vodka firm." Scotland on Sunday 07/03/05

All White In The Heart Of America Robert Trussell has a problem with a Kansas City shakespeare festival's casting. "Once again, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has assembled an all-white cast for its annual production, which this year is “Much Ado About Nothing.” The festival hasn’t indulged in monochrome casting every year, of course, but minority representation has been a troubling issue since the organization was founded in 1993. I have no doubt that I will hear from a few readers who see this as, well, much ado about nothing. I’ve heard all the arguments before. They usually go something like this: The actors at the Globe Theatre were white, so what’s the problem? There were no Asian, African or Hispanic actors in Shakespeare’s day, so why are you shoving diversity down our throats?" Kansas City Star 07/03/05

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Hooked On The Advance Sale Broadway's "The Odd Couple" has already sold $18 million in advance sale. That leaves few tickets available when they go on sale this week to the general public. "The type of advance sale that "The Odd Couple" offered through American Express is increasingly popular among producers, guaranteeing money in the bank long before the reviews come in. It also cuts down on costs, reducing the need to advertise after the show opens." The New York Times 07/03/05

West End's TV Stars Leave Town Empty It's been fashionable for American movie and TV stars to try their hand at theatre in London's West End. But "their performances refute the seemingly self-evident principle that human flesh generates more heat than celluloid. These actors are all playing the sorts of irresistible sexual enchanters from whom a wink is as good as a kiss." But what works on screen doesn't necessarily translate to the stage. The New York Times 07/03/05

A Director Weighs In On Critics Why isn't American theatre criticism more of a "companion piece" than a Consumer Reports verdict, wonders Anna Shapiro. "Two things baffle me and make me angry, and they are this: When somebody writes about a new play and says the play is beautiful; the production is beautiful; the performances are stunning; the directing is weak. That makes me angry. But not as angry as: The direction is beautiful; the production is wonderful; the actors are amazing; the play is weak. That makes even less sense to me." Chicago Tribune 07/03/05

The Actors And The Cattle Call "For the last quarter century, for five days every summer, the League of Washington Theatres has held an open audition -- a cattle call for local actors. Eight hundred or so people get to shovel their head shots, résumés and 90-second monologues into the faces of auditors from a couple of casting agencies and 54 local theaters (more precisely, 53 local theaters and, for some reason, the Actors Theatre of Louisville). Your odds aren't great, but sometimes people get discovered and cast in meaty roles." Washington Post 07/03/05

Mass Shakespeare For Kids Ten thousand children from 400 schools in the UK are taking part is a mass shakespeare event. "The event - One Night of Shakespeare - is a collaboration between the BBC and Shakespeare Schools Festival. Organisers hope to enter the Guinness World Records for the most performances of Shakespeare on one night. Pupils will perform their own interpretations of shortened versions of some of Shakespeare's plays, directed and produced by their teachers." BBC 07/03/05

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