AJ Logo Get ArtsJournal in your inbox
for FREE every morning!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Evita Revival In London Andrew Lloyd Webber is reviving "Evita" in London. "It was a huge success when it was first staged in 1978 but has not been seen in London for more than 20 years. Argentine singer and actress Elena Roger will take the lead role in the new production when it opens at London's Adelphi Theatre in June." BBC 01/31/06

Monday, January 30, 2006

New York Theatres Take On George Bush A theme on New York stages, these days? Bush-bashing. "I used to get booed (in Las Vegas) two or three years ago when I made a George Bush joke. Now they laugh and nobody boos because things have changed." Backstage (Reuters) 01/30/06

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Can You Copyright Stage Direction? An ongoing legal dispute between a New York director and the theatre he was working for could wind up having wide implications for the theatre world at large. The director, who was fired after disputes with the producer and the playwright, "claims in his complaint that his staging contributions... constitute a copyrighted work of intellectual property, owned by him, and that the defendants must therefore pay for infringing the copyright," since the show went on after the director was let go. The New York Times 01/29/06

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bloodless "Lestat" Might Die In SF The new musical "Lestat", based on Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles," is in trouble in its San Francisco run, and might not make it to Broadway. "A production source says Warner Bros., which is producing the $12 million musical, has told the creative team that, unless the changes are sweeping and effective, the lid on the 'Lestat' coffin will be hammered shut in San Francisco." New York Post 01/27/06

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Model Sues Spamalot For Ad A model is suing the producers of the hit Broadway musical Spamalot for using her image in a promotional poster without permission. BBC 01/26/06

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Theatre That Never Gets Done Is Shunt the most innovative theatre in Britain? The Guardian (UK) 01/25/06

Critics: "Temple" Was Bay Area's Best Of 2005 The best play in the Bay Area last year? According to critics, it was Leigh Fondakowski's "The People's Temple," a "documentary theater piece based on the real-life tragedy of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. The play was produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre in association with Z Space Studio." San Francisco Chronicle 01/25/06

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Broadway, Fully Booked Two very successful Off-Broadway plays have been trolling for On-Broadway theatres to move to. But everything is booked... The New York Times 01/25/06

New Leader For Royal Court New Playwrights Dominic Cooke, 39, associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has been named to lead London's Royal Court Theatre. Anthony Burton, the Royal Court's chairman, said that Cooke had "dazzled the interview panel with his inspirational vision, innovative programming ideas and plans for change". The Guardian (UK) 01/25/06

Play-Driven... Is This Controversial? "British theatre has been a broad church - and the result? Tension, perhaps, but for 50 years Britain has arguably led the world in producing top-class theatre-makers, whether they have made it with a pen or a pointy finger or a bit of both. But now, it seems, 'the play' - or at least, the model of a script, written by a playwright, directed by a director and performed by an actor - has had its day. Admittedly, those of you who have been to the theatre recently might be forgiven for thinking this prognosis a little premature, but judging by the hand-wringing of a procession of some of the nation's leading practitioners, the play is dead - especially the well-made one." The Guardian (UK) 01/24/06

Monday, January 23, 2006

The New New Musicals A new generation of improbable-sounding musicals is hitting London stages. "A key common denominator among this new breed of offbeat shows is that they're about the lyrics as much as the music." The Guardian (UK) 01/21/06

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Does It Pay To Be First? Premieres draw attention to theatre companies. But what do they do for the company? "Anybody who's running a theatre in America today has to serve two masters: You have to serve the aesthetics of the community and give them shows they want to see, and we have to serve the art form or else we're just doing museum pieces. Theatre is live and future-oriented, and I'd hate to think we're just doing the familiar. Institutional theatre has got to take risks." Backstage 01/20/06

Spamalot Heads Home The Monty Python-inspired musical, Spamalot, is headed back to its spiritual and linguistic home. The wacky show, which has broken ticket sales records on Broadway, will begin a run in London's West End this fall. The Guardian (UK) 01/21/06

Rings Engagement Will Be A Costly One, But Sales On Track "The final cost of the long-awaited stage adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which begins previews at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre on Feb. 2, may exceed its projected budget of CAN$27-million... [Still,] the most ambitious and expensive stage show in history seems to be on track. As of this week, advance sales were closing in on $15-million." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/21/06

Friday, January 20, 2006

GM Quits Stratford Sponsorship (Wants A Different Vehicle?) "In recent years GM had partnered with the Stratford, Ont., Shakespeare festival to provide it with more than $100,000 each season in money and in-kind assistance. GM vice-president of corporate affairs Dave Paterson said the decision to stop backing Stratford was made last summer in response to what he called "our very rapidly changing vehicle lineup." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/20/06

A Place For August Wilson's Legacy "For reasons ranging from grief and mourning to awe and admiration -- and including some celebrity exploitation and publicity grabbing -- the world was suddenly full of Wilson proclamations, events, tributes and dedications. Just before he died, a Broadway theater was renamed to honor him. There is a move afoot to rename a Seattle street to commemorate him. Inevitably, there has been speculation about Wilson's place in history. Will he become a permanent icon, like Eugene O'Neil?" Seattle Post-Intelligencer 01/19/06

The Man Who Fixes Theatres Kent Phillips is the theatre doctor. "Kent is the great healer for theaters. He chops costs big time, throws out big ambitious shows, presents smaller-cast shows, cuts payrolls -- but theaters then do survive." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 01/19/06

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Royal Shakespeare Closes Stratford Theatres The Royal Shakespeare Company is closing its Royal Swan Theatre for two years as it rebuilds. "Locals said they were unaware of a two-season closure and there are claims the town could lose millions of pounds of tourism spending, greater than first thought. While the RST is closed, the temporary Courtyard Theatre, with about 1,000 seats will be used." BBC 01/18/06

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

London's Olivier Awards Nominees "The National Theatre dominated the new writing categories, with Coram Boy, its recent children's play, Howard Brenton's controversial drama Paul, and Simon Stephens's On the Shore of the Wide Wild World receiving nominations." The Guardian (UK) 01/18/06

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Way To Get London's Theatre World Mad At You... Dominic Dromgoole is in his first year running London's Globe Theatre. So he holds a press conference, and launches a series of... colorful... assertions duly reported in the press. Said assertions put Dromgoole at odds with... well, everyone?
The Guardian (UK) 01/16/06

Sir Andrew's Excellent New York Adventure As "Phantom" becomes the longest-running show on Broadway, surpassing "Cats", Andrew Lloyd Webber goes to New York, keeping a diary along the way... The Telegraph (UK) 01/16/06

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Changing The Equation "It looked a lot like a reality show. Last month, [Toronto's] Soulpepper Theatre Company held the ultimate audition... Unlike most drama training programs (such as the National Theatre School, George Brown College, and so on) in which inexperienced students pay tuition in exchange for training and connections to the 'real world,' Soulpepper Academy is the real world, and its students working artists. As such, it reverses the financial equation. It will pay its students for their time. Each will receive an annual income of $30,000." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/14/06

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Marin Theatre Director Moves On Lee Sankowich is quitting as director of the Marin Theatre Company after 16 years. "His tenure at Marin has been marked by improvements in general production quality as the budget has grown from about $800,000 to $2 million. He also attracted some national recognition with a commitment to developing new works." San Francisco Chronicle 01/12/06

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why "Phantom" Holds The Record What is it about "Phantom" that made it the longest-running show on Broadway? Emma Brockes: "I think it's about the importance of not judging people by appearances, although the moral is undermined a bit when the phantom goes on a killing spree after being dumped. Still, the tunes are catchy and it thrills audiences without making them uncomfortable. This is the secret of its success." The Guardian (UK) 01/11/06

50 Years Of New Theatre "This year, the Royal Court Theatre celebrates 50 years as Britain's leading national company dedicated to new work by innovative writers. Its most important achievement has been to put on new plays by new writers about vital contemporary issues - and to make them matter to people who don't normally go to the theatre." The Telegraph (UK) 01/12/06

Did Phantom Make Broadway, Or Vice Versa? The record-setting run of Phantom of the Opera is getting plenty of press, but the show's success is about more than just the popularity of Andrew Lloyd Webber and a masked antihero. "Although the price of tickets [on Broadway] has skyrocketed — the top regular price seat is $110, and up to $360 for 'premium seating' — Berlind says a booming economy has meant that people are willing to dig deep into their wallets if shows warrant it. And so far, people have been showing up. In the last week of 2005, 20 shows were at more than 90% capacity, with Wicked bringing in an unprecedented $1.61 million." In other words, Phantom is where it is because of a Broadway theatre scene that has never been more robust, and that shows no signs of slowing down. Los Angeles Times 01/11/06

Lestat Slammed By Critics In Pre-Broadway Tryout The splashy, big-budget, supposedly Broadway-bound musical version of Anne Rice's bestselling vampire novels has run squarely into a wall of critical derision in its tryout run in San Francisco. "The creative team has nearly driven a wooden stake through the heart of author Anne Rice's much-loved Vampire Chronicles," says one Bay Area daily, and that's one of the kinder reviews. San Francisco's largest daily summed up the brickbats nicely: "Didactic, disjointed, oddly miscast, confusingly designed and floundering in an almost unrelentingly saccharine score by Elton John, Lestat opened Sunday as the latest ill-conceived Broadway hopeful." Broadway.com 01/11/06

  • Is The Director Sinking Lestat? "Theater people are whispering that [Lestat director Rob Jess Roth] has to be replaced by a stronger and more imaginative director if [the show] is going to have a chance in New York... Roth has a poor track record on Broadway. He directed Disney's Beauty and the Beast, a third-rate production that no one will confuse with Julie Taymor's great staging of The Lion King. He was given a shot at directing Aida, but was fired after his production opened to poor reviews out of town. His third musical — The Opposite of Sex — was aborted out of town, also because of poor notices." New York Post 01/11/06

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Acting Through The Ages What does it mean to be an actor at the various stages of one's life? The Guardian (UK) 01/10/06

Monday, January 9, 2006

Preserving The Play "We forget that the live performing arts, and particularly theatre, are more than almost anything else at the mercy of the whims of producers. It's difficult enough, of course, to persuade anyone to mount a new play. But once that play has finished its initial run, and at best the production revived once in a subsequent season by the same theatre, even a very good play is likely to disappear into oblivion. It's almost a unique problem." The Guardian (UK) 01/09/06

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Phantom By The Numbers "Phantom of the Opera" has played longer than any show in Broadway history. It "is a record breaker in many respects, having grossed nearly $600 million since opening in 1988, the most ever for a Broadway show. When you add in the original London production, numerous foreign productions and three United States tours, the worldwide box office exceeds a whopping $3.2 billion, surpassing every other stage production and even the world's highest-grossing film, "Titanic" ($1.8 billion)." The New York Times 01/08/06

Broadway Sets A New Year's Record 2005 was a blockbuster year for Broadway, and it wrapped up with a record-setting performance in the biggest week of the year. The week between Christmas and New Year's nearly always racks up the biggest box-office gross of the season, and this time around, 28 shows took in more than $25 million over the week, making it the highest-grossing seven day period in Broadway history. Chicago Tribune (AP) 01/08/06

Two Countries Separated By A Common Musical? There was a time when, if a musical was a smash hit on London's West End, it was soon to be a similar hit on Broadway, and no one bothered asking whether the action and staging would "translate" well to an American audience. But increasingly, the biggest hits in London are falling flat in America's leading theatre cities. Part of the problem is simply the London audience's affection for a specific style of theatre from which American audiences long ago moved on. But the larger issue may be the incredible specificity of recent London productions: shows which require an offhand knowledge of recent UK political and social history are likely to meet with blank stares across the pond. Chicago Tribune 01/08/06

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Stratford Scores £20 Million "The planned £100m transformation of Stratford-upon-Avon's Royal Shakespeare Theatre is to get a £20m grant from the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands. The project has already secured £50m from the Arts Council of England." The Guardian (UK) 01/06/06

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Ian Tops Most-Powerful Theatre List David Ian, chairman of Live Nation’s global theatrical division has topped the annual Stage 100 list of most influential theatre people. He replaces Andrew Lloyd Webber who led the list the past 5 years. "Theatre impresario Cameron Mackintosh is listed in second place this year, with Lloyd Webber slipping down to third equal with Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, founders of the Ambassador Theatre Group." The Stage (UK) 01/04/06

Can Hitler Be Funny... In Israel? The Producers may be a global box-office smash, but there are still certain places you just wouldn't expect a musical centered around a fictional work of theatre called "Springtime for Hitler" to show up. Israel, for instance. But there it is on the marquee: The Producers will be making its Tel Aviv debut this month - in Hebrew, no less. "In a nation created out of the Holocaust, where at least a quarter-million survivors of the catastrophe still live, it is -- to say the least -- a bold artistic and commercial move." The artistic director of the theatre where the show will be staged says that Israelis are a "mature" audience with a good sense of humor, and doesn't expect any problems. Chicago Tribune (Cox) 01/04/06

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

An Underlying Malaise In British Theatre? "On the surface, British theatre is in its healthiest state in years. But is this buzz of activity hiding a creative slump, in which celebrity and 'ticking boxes' are prized over innovation?" The Guardian (UK) 01/04/06

Monday, January 2, 2006

"Phantom's" Record Run This month, Phantom of the Opera will have played continuously on Broadway longer than any other show in history - 18 years. And three of the original cast members are still performing in the show. "After a special gala performance on Jan. 9, "Phantom" will have been performed 7,486 times, one more than "Cats," which closed five years ago." Washington Post 01/02/06

Home | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©
2002 ArtsJournal. All Rights Reserved