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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Seattle's Theatre Fanatic Joe Boling likes theatre. And he goes. "In 2002, Boling attended 427 theatrical productions, 8.2 per week. He routinely sees four shows on Saturdays. "You can do five, actually," he said, counting on his fingers. "A touring children's show at noon, a two o'clock matinee, a show at the Children's Theater at 5:30, a regular production at eight, then a late-night show." He writes reviews about almost everything he sees, posting them on the TPS website. Boling calls his theater writing "commentary," not criticism. The Stranger 08/31/06

Hamburger Out At Dallas Theatre Center After 15 years as artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center, Richard Hamburger is calling it quits. "I've been running theaters for 20 years. It has been an incredible gift, but it's 24/7. Coming to the end of a contract, it was time to assess moving on. I feel like I need some breathing room." Dallas Morning News 08/31/06

Chicago Theatre Versus The Critic, Round 3 More letters of complaint and a spirited defense by Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss' negative reviews of a workshop project: "Reviewing of this showcase has been standard practice for a number of years; the proof is in the archives. In addition, I heard not a peep from the Stages staff after publication of my review of last year's showcase. Perhaps that was because the 'mixed to positive' reviews were more acceptable to them. In fact, I would bet that a copy of my review was submitted as supporting evidence for many grants, etc., that the Musical Theatre Writers' Workshop made to funding organizations this season. You simply cannot have it both ways." Chicago Sun-Times 08/31/06

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

  • Chicago Critic Defends Workshop Reviews Chicago Sun-Times theatre critic Hedy Weiss is defending herself against criticisms from the Dramatists Guild over reviews of workshop performances she wrote. "Ms. Weiss said that she had reviewed the festival in the past without objection and no one had told her she could not review it this time. She also said the festival was a public event, with an advertising campaign and tickets. (A ticket to one performance cost $15.) 'If you are given a press kit and if you are given pictures, what are you supposed to do with them'?" The New York Times 08/31/06

  • Previously: Dramatists Speak Out Against Theatre Critic The Dramatists Guild of America is protesting theatre critic Hedy Weiss' reviews of eight projects in the Chicago Sun-Times a few weeks ago. "These musicals were presented in workshop. Every musical in workshop is understood to be a work in progress. Workshopping a new musical provides an opportunity for writers to evaluate their work as it evolves, protected from the consequences of critical appraisal. This security allows writers to take chances, to be bold, maybe even to embarrass them­selves—in short, to do their work." Dramatists Guild 08/28/06
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Amadeus" And I Simon Callow was 29 years old and a struggling actor when the script for Peter Shafer's "Amadeus" landed on his doorstep and the role of Mozart offered. Not a bad way to make a career... The Guardian (UK) 08/29/06

Bloggers Versus The Critic The Philadelphia Inquirer got a new theatre critic - Toby Zinman - this year. Some in the city's theatre community have grown to hate her work, so they set up a blog to air compaints. 'We Love Toby! The Blog' is an ascerbic rebuttal to reviews the bloggers don't like. The blog is sometimes savage, but Zinman says she doesn't read it... Philadelphia Magazine 08/28/06

Americans Stay Home; Shaw, Stratford Struggle "U.S. tourism to Canada fell by 5 per cent in 2005 and will have dropped another 1.6 per cent by the end of this year, the Conference Board of Canada predicts. That leaves the Shaw and Stratford festivals struggling to balance budgets in which as much as 40 per cent of box-office dollars come from across the border, and weighing the economic and political reasons that Americans still aren't travelling." The Globe and Mail (Canada) 08/29/06

How Oregon's Acting Scene Can Trump New York's "Ashland, Ore., the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a small town with a population of around 20,000. The theaters are full, and the audiences — the majority of whom are from California, Oregon, and Washington — enthusiastic. But Ashland is definitely off the radar of New York casting agents. Working here isn't like doing a stint at the Williamstown or Berkshire Theatre Festivals, where well-known New York actors regularly do shows in the summer. What Ashland offers, however, is significant: a warm, supportive community, a chance to play an unusual variety of roles, and, not least, a degree of job security almost unknown in the theater world." New York Sun 08/29/06

Plan For Transforming A City: Restore A Theatre "Arts-minded visitors to the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts may think of Pittsfield as little more than an urban speed bump on the way to Stockbridge, Williamstown and the glories of Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow. But the city is betting that, with the help of a long-neglected jewel of a theater, it too can make a place for itself on the region’s arts map. After a two-year, $22 million restoration, the century-old Colonial Theater will reopen tonight for a year-round season that kicks off with a week’s visit by a touring company of 'Rent.'" The New York Times 08/29/06

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dramatists Speak Out Against Theatre Critic The Dramatists Guild of America is protesting theatre critic Hedy Weiss' reviews of eight projects in the Chicago Sun-Times a few weeks ago. "These musicals were presented in workshop. Every musical in workshop is understood to be a work in progress. Workshopping a new musical provides an opportunity for writers to evaluate their work as it evolves, protected from the consequences of critical appraisal. This security allows writers to take chances, to be bold, maybe even to embarrass them­selves—in short, to do their work." Dramatists Guild 08/28/06

  • Previously: Eight Chicago Musicals And Nothing To Recommend "The eight deeply flawed new musicals showcased in this year's Stages 2006 marathon at the Theatre Building seemed to suggest the artform has fallen on very hard times. None of the shows presented last weekend, whether in semi-staged or concert reading style, was ready for prime time." Chicago Sun-Times 08/16/06
Sunday, August 27, 2006

Thriller - Jacko Next For Juke The latest jukebox musical to try to hit? The songs of Michael Jackson, about to take to London's West End. "Thriller Live features more than 80 performers including a gospel choir, children's ballet and West End singers and dancers to reinterpret the singer's most memorable songs. Producer Adrian Grant has hailed the show a 'musical celebration' and says it will help to revive Jackson's status as the King of Pop." BBC 08/27/06

Canadian Wins Edinburgh Comedy Award "A Canadian comedian's take on a debauched weekend away in Amsterdam has won this year's £8,000 'if.commedies' prize, the new name for the Perrier award, one of the most highly regarded accolades in comedy." The Observer (UK) 08/27/06

Best Of The Fringe (In Repertory) Fringe festivals offer so many plays, how do you sort out the best and makes sure people get to see them? The New York Frings has an idea: "Ten of the audiences’ and critics’ favorites from the current festival will run in repertory at two downtown theaters through Sept. 24 in what the organizers, Britt Lafield and John Pinckard, say will become an annual showcase called FringeNYC Encores. For the Fringe, this provides another opportunity for its shows to be noticed by producers and earn a possible commercial transfer." The New York Times 08/27/06

Kandernebb - A Partnership That Survives Death There's a new musical out being billed as the latest from John Kander and Fred Ebb. But Ebb died (of a heart attack) in 2004, so how can this be? The two had such a close partnership, it's impossible to thibnk of one without the other. "If that relationship, which produced the scores to 'Cabaret' and 'Chicago' and 'Kiss of the Spider Woman,' was often misunderstood as romantic, it’s not hard to see why: the two men worked in the theater, neither had a wife, and over the course of their 42-year collaboration their last names had all but fused into one, a songwriting entity that Mr. Kander, now a vigorous 79, calls 'Kandernebb'." The New York Times 08/27/06

At Edinburgh - An Angry Theme As usual, there are all manner of productions at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But "the vein that runs through the festival this year is anger: anger at the state of the world in general, and anger at America in particular. Comedians need only display a picture of President Bush to provoke hollow laughter or indignant booing, depending on the context." The New York Times 08/26/06

Lloyd Webber Goes Russian Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen his next project. It's a musical adaptation of "Mikhail Bulgakov's fantastical tale of the Devil, a talking cat, Christ and Pontius Pilate, a tormented writer named Master and a girlfriend named Margarita, who becomes a witch. A Faustian tale that satirizes the oppressive Stalin regime, the novel is considered a major work of 20th century Russian literature." Yahoo! (Playbill) 08/26/06

Friday, August 25, 2006

Canadian Play Wins Edinburgh Fringe "Goodness, a play by Canadian Michael Redhill, has won the Best of Edinburgh award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The prize means the play by the Toronto-based experimental theatre company Volcano will be produced in New York." CBC 08/25/06

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Was V&A Serious About Theatre? New questions have been raised about the Victoria & Albert's intentions for the Theatre Museum in London. "Serious doubts were raised by the Theatre Museum’s ruling committee over whether the Victoria and Albert Museum made a genuine attempt to consult the theatre industry over the institution’s future." TheStage 08/24/06

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

In Edinburgh - Free The Fringe! The complaints have been flying in Edinburgh this summer about the inflated costs of performing in and attending Fringe venues. "But all across Edinburgh, just for August, in pubs from Bruntsfield to Leith, something really very exciting is happening. The Free Fringe is an inspirational example of what can be done with a dream, determination and a lot of wholehearted cooperation." The Scotsman 08/23/06

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Broad Donates Money To Save Yiddish Theatre Collection Eli Broad is donating $186,000 to pay for cleaning, restoration, archiving and a permanent display of a collection of Yiddish theatre artifacts. "The cache includes programs, photographs, plays, costumes, mus of a trove of ic manuscripts, props and other material. The items were moldering in a dilapidated building at 31 East Seventh Street that housed the Hebrew Actors Union, now defunct. Champions of Yiddish theater had been trying to save the collection, and eventually placed it with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Manhattan." The New York Times 08/23/06

Quinn To Be New Actors Union Director Patrick Quinn, president of Actors' Equity Association, has been named executive director of the union. "Quinn is a longtime working actor with 10 Broadway credits. He has also been a union insider for almost 30 years -- he was elected to the Equity Council in 1977." Backstage 08/22/06

Too Many Shows Frozen Too Soon "When is a theatre show finished? I don't mean what time does the curtain come down (or rather not come down in the case of Edinburgh where curtains and traditional stages are thankfully in very short supply) but at what point do the cast and director stop working on the show in order to improve it?" The question "is particularly pertinent here in Edinburgh where there is a lot of fragile and fledgling work on view. This is a wonderful chance for companies to really develop a show in front of an audience, but often it simply doesn't happen." The Guardian (UK) 08/22/06

Monday, August 21, 2006

Best Of Times For Black Canadian Playwrights? The fourth triennial meeting of the AfriCanadian Playwrights Festival has attracted more than 60 playwrights among the more than 200 theatre folk attending. "It is the best time (for black Canadian playwriting). I think these stories have not been heard enough; I think they're being heard more and more and they can only enrich everyone's lives." Toronto Star 08/21/06

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Longtime Dallas Theatre Center Head Leaves "Clearing the way for a new artistic director to program the Dallas Theater Center's anticipated 2009 move to downtown's Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, Richard Hamburger announced Tuesday that he will leave the group next spring after 15 years." Dallas Morning News 08/15/06

Bill Rauch Tabbed To Run Oergon Shakespeare Festival "Before launching a successful freelance career several years ago, Rauch spent two decades guiding the Cornerstone Theatre Company, a Los Angeles company he co-founded. Cornerstone collaborates with diverse communities to create shows rooted in timely concerns such as the plight of laid-off steelworkers and the role of religion in American life." Seattle Times 08/20/06

Broadway's Busted Road Game "By almost any definition, Broadway has been enjoying a very good run for the last few years, if not for the last couple of decades. Attendance has been rising despite ever increasing prices, so that overall ticket revenue — even after being adjusted for inflation — has more than doubled in the last 15 years. But the road, which by some measures brings in as much revenue as Broadway, is far more of a boom-and-bust business." Right now, it's a big bust, with huge declines in box office. The New York Times 08/19/06

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ebb's Final Curtain Call A Smash With Critics Curtains, the final show collaborated on by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb before Ebb's death in 2004, is currently running in Los Angeles, is already ticketed for a Broadway debut next year, and "judging by the reaction of audiences and critics, Ebb's faith in his final show was not misplaced." New York Post 08/18/06

Thursday, August 17, 2006

MN Fringe Sets Attendance Record "The Minnesota Fringe Festival had another record-breaking year in both ticket revenues and total audience size. The 11-day performing-arts extravaganza, which ended Sunday, sold 44,814 tickets, a slight increase of 200 tickets over last year... There was some speculation within the Fringe community that attendance would dwindle in a year that featured more newcomers and fewer well-known names." Average attendance per show was down slightly, but Fringe organizers say that's because, without many big-name blockbusters on the schedule, the audience fanned out more than usual. Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 08/17/06

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Eight Chicago Musicals And Nothing To Recommend "The eight deeply flawed new musicals showcased in this year's Stages 2006 marathon at the Theatre Building seemed to suggest the artform has fallen on very hard times. None of the shows presented last weekend, whether in semi-staged or concert reading style, was ready for prime time." Chicago Sun-Times 08/16/06

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NY's Atlantic Theatre Has A Great Year On Stage And Off "It has been an unusual year for the Atlantic. As medium-size nonprofit theaters go, it has been unusually successful. Two of its shows — half of its season — were picked up for commercial runs on Broadway. The company has a paid membership of 3,500. How the Atlantic found itself there is a tale of nimble negotiating and real estate jujitsu that could almost be the subject of a David Mamet play, albeit one in which the little guys come off pretty well in the end." The New York Times 08/16/06

How Much Will Commercial Success Alter NY Fringe? "As its 10th season runs from Aug. 11-27, the New York Intl. Fringe Festival is straddling the line between a grassroots cheerleader for offbeat legit and a seductive draw for commercial hopes. While few in the theater community imagine that all of this year's 217 shows are suited for the big time, even fewer forget 1999. That's the year 'Urinetown' dominated the fest, beginning its march to three Tonys and a two-year Broadway run. That and other transfers -- including 'Matt and Ben' and tuner 'Debbie Does Dallas' -- helped push the festival to a new level of relevance." Variety 08/13/06

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blog Theatre Hits At Edinburgh Fringe "No fewer than four shows based on blogs are appearing at this year's Fringe, including Girl Blog From Iraq: Baghdad Burning, taken from the writings of 27-year-old "Riverbend", who records daily life in Iraq. But what's surprising is that the wave of blog-inspired theatre has been so long in coming; after all, it's the world's fastest-growing genre of writing." The Guardian (UK) 08/15/06

Scottish National Theatre Proves Its Worth The new National Theatre of Scotland has produced a hit at the Edinburgh Festival. "To all the scepticism and debate about Scotland's even needing a national theatre, to all the sometimes self-lacerating, politically fraught recent inquiries into the devolved nation's culture, the new NTS has slapped down the best kind of answer: rather than more words, a most eloquent piece of work." The Guardian (UK) 08/14/06

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A New Respect For Chicago's Drawing Power For years, Chicago's theatre scene has been treated by New York as just another stop on the national touring schedule, and unworthy of the semi-permanent productions enjoyed by audiences in select cities like Toronto and Los Angeles. But a touring production of Wicked has proved so successful in the Windy City that it has been granted permanent status, thus breaking the so-called 'Chicago curse'. " Chicago Tribune 08/12/06

One Artistic Retreat, Hold The Solitude Deep in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, a little-known group called the Orchard Project is offering a unique opportunity to theatre troupes that create their work collaboratively. The idea is to provide companies the same kind of retreat that writers and directors have enjoyed for decades. "Eventually [the Orchard Project's campus] will include four rehearsal spaces, costume and prop storage, and housing for 70 participants." The New York Times 08/13/06

New Face Will Try To Revive Colorado Shakespeare Fest The Colorado Shakespeare Festival has tapped veteran actor Philip Charles Sneed as its new producing artistic director, replacing Richard Devin. Sneed inherits a struggling organization with budget problems and "plummeting attendance." Denver Post 08/12/06

An Unusually Dull Fringe This year's Minnesota Fringe Festival- the largest such fest in the U.S. - wasn't bad, exactly, says Dominic Papatola. But it sure wasn't very exciting. "Most of the political theater I saw had a rote, unimaginative quality about it, as if artists couldn't think of anything new to be mad at President Bush about but still felt compelled to be angry. The comedy shows I took in were amusing but not fall-down funny. Clever ideas seldom resulted in equally clever execution. And as for the usually plentiful nudity at the Fringe? I saw a grand total of one bare backside the whole of the festival." St. Paul Pioneer Press 08/13/06

Friday, August 11, 2006

Commercially Viable Shows Need Not Apply New York's Fringe Festival is ten years old, long enough to have settled into a comfortable place in the national theatre scene. But like everything in New York, it's tough to keep the Fringe small-time. "The professionalizing, or Sundance-izing, of the Fringe has been a concern for the entire life of the festival, particularly after a 1999 entry, 'Urinetown,' made it to Broadway and won three Tony Awards. Partly in reaction, the Fringe has been actively looking for little-known and first-time artists in the selection process." The New York Times 08/11/06

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Edinburgh's Purple Cow: Just Make It Go Away! Udderbelly, a new Underbelly venue shaped like an upside-down cow, is not a hit with Lyn Gardner. "People often assume that because I'm a theatre critic I must be in favour of new theatres. Wrong. Contemporary drama really doesn't need - and on the whole is ill-suited - to the playhouse, and it certainly isn't going to be shown off to best advantage inside a giant purple plastic cow. It just makes everyone involved look ridiculous." The Guardian (UK) 08/08/06

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

National Theater Of The Deaf Faces New Financial Crisis The National Theater of the Deaf was in grave financial danger earlier this year. Then, when it looked like the situation had been solved, the NEA came calling, wanting payment of a long-overdue debt. “The N.E.A. has great respect for the National Theater of the Deaf, and we have worked very closely with them for many years to try to arrive at mutually agreeable and beneficial repayment plans. Each plan has been agreed upon by the National Theater of the Deaf, and each time they’ve been unable to meet the requirements. It’s unfortunate, but we’ve come to a point where this has to be resolved.” The New York Times 08/10/06

The 90-Minute Star Wars George Lucas has given the Reduced Shakespeare Company permission to do a condensed version of the Star Wars movies. "The films total more than 13 hours but this should not pose a problem for the company that did the Complete Works of Shakespeare in 97 minutes. 'In the space of 20 minutes I'm going to be Jabba the Hutt, Jar Jar Binks, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker'." The Guardian (UK) 08/09/06

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Gimme That Old Time Fringe We think of fringe theatre as being a young person's pursuit. This year's Edinburgh Fringe has attracted many older performers. "But why? Most acts will tell you that the Fringe is an outrageously difficult place to make a profit. So are these performers trying to revive flagging careers with shows that, profitable or not, will give them a higher profile than a sold-out seaside show in the West Country? Or should we be less cynical and accept that the anything-goes spirit of the Fringe is just as appealing to the winner of Opportunity Knocks 1975 as it is to young stand-ups playing their first solo shows?" The Times (UK) 08/08/06

The Actors? We Got 'Em On TV Producers of a new production of "Grease" on Broadway will cast leads through a TV reality show. "NBC said on Tuesday it will broadcast a talent show titled 'You're the One That We Want' -- a play on a hit song from the show -- in which viewers can vote for singers to play the roles of the naive new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski, and Danny" Yahoo! (AP) 08/08/06

Mom And Dad Just Loved Your Fringe Show All those five-star online reviews for Minnesota Fringe Festival shows: Could it be -- gasp! -- that they're written by friends and family of performers? Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 08/07/06

Air-Rights Money To Benefit NYC Theatre Community? Maybe Not. Two Manhattan theatres are finally taking advantage of a previously unused 1998 air-rights transfer law intended to benefit the theatre community through a surcharge added to the price of the development rights. "But there’s a snag. Though two developers — who are buying the air rights for more than $20 million — are ready to hand over the special payments, the city government is not prepared to accept them. It never created the fund to hold the money or the council that is supposed to oversee it. As a result, it is not clear if the theater community will ever directly benefit from the windfall." The New York Times 08/06/06

For Midtown Revival, "Fantasticks" Clones Its Village Space "Fans of 'The Fantasticks' entering New York's new Snapple Theater Center to see the Off-Broadway revival of history's longest-running musical will notice that some things look very familiar. The show's new home at Broadway and 50th Street has been configured to reproduce the seat arrangement and some of the ambience of The Sullivan Street Playhouse, the gemlike Greenwich Village theatre where the cast sang 'Try To Remember' for nearly 42 years, from 1960 to 2002." Playbill 08/05/06

American Girl Actors Back On The Job "Actors working in musical shows at the American Girl Place theatre in midtown Manhattan returned to work on Saturday after walking out for two days late last week, an Equity official said Monday. Though the two sides have not resolved the central issue -- whether management would recognize the actors' attempts to join Actors' Equity Association and thereby receive the benefits a union contract would provide -- officials at American Girl welcomed the actors back and said they would be paid for the time they missed, according to Maria Somma, a spokesperson for Equity." Back Stage 08/07/06

Monday, August 7, 2006

Royal Shakespeare Company At Full Speed The Royal Shakespeare Company is in the midst of some turbulent activity. At the center of it all? Director Michael Boyd... The Telegraph (UK) 08/07/06

Actors Protest Scottish Smoking Ban " 'The smoking legislation aims to protect the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,' runs its official line. 'This applies equally to actors, performers and theatrical audiences as it does to other workers and members of the public.' In a country where 13,000 people die every year from smoking-related illnesses, this might seem sensible. And local support for the ban has risen from 56% to 78% since the Smoking, Health and Social Care Act came into force in March. But Scotland had reckoned without the Edinburgh festival, where the appetite for controversy is insatiable, and where artistic freedom is as sacred as the right to a pint at 5am." The Guardian (UK) 08/07/06

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Loneliness Of The Long Distance Actor Being in a long-running show is a blessing for the actor's bank account. But there is a downside. "It has all the elegance of an old vaudeville clunker: The good news for a theater professional’s nearest and dearest is having that person end up in a long-running show. The bad news? The same." The New York Times 08/06/06

A Responsibility To Be Hard Hitting? Richard Montoya's Culture Clash has made a career out of trenchant political commentary. So what is the responsibility of creators of such work? "Do the creators of, say, the hit musical 'The Drowsy Chaperone' feel a certain responsibility to their audiences? I would assume yes. But for Culture Clash and other dramatists of color, it remains a loaded and constant question. I must admit I sometimes suffer from responsibility fatigue." Los Angeles Times 08/06/06

Friday, August 4, 2006

Actors' Dispute At Toy Store "Simmering tensions between Actors' Equity Association and the American Girl Place doll store in midtown Manhattan boiled over [yesterday] when actors walked away from their jobs to protest management's refusal to establish a contract with the union." Backstage 08/03/06

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Has New York Lost Its Political Nerve? "A brief glance at Broadway confirms that the American market for political theatre is at an all-time low. Domestic dramas dominate; the Tony Awards are bypassing the middleman and going straight to British practitioners. And although no one seriously expects commercial theatres - which are sponsored by large corporations - to champion provocative writing ("Everybody knows you don't bite the hand that feeds you," says Shinn), the subscription theatres, the not-for-profit venues which are the breeding ground for new work, seem to be losing their nerve." New Statesman 07/31/06

British Theatre, Decade By Decade "Want to find out about British history? Look no further than its theatre. As the National Youth Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary with six new plays marking every decade since the 1950s, Michael Billington examines the concerns - and the blindspots - of Britain's postwar dramatists." The Guardian (UK) 08/03/06

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

D.C.'s Source Theatre To Become Arts Center "After six months of uncertainty about the Source Theatre Company, the Cultural Development Corporation, a private, nonprofit group, announced yesterday that it is buying the theater's building at 1835 14th St. NW and will make it an arts center. The moribund, 33-year-old Source Theatre Company will cease to exist, but the building will be called the Source." Washington Post 08/02/06

Writing Drama, Not Propaganda, With A Political Conscience What, John Heilpern wonders, makes good political theatre? "Brecht, the most overtly political playwright and propagandist of the 20th century, didn’t change a thing politically.... Nor has any play in history. Remember, no 'Lysistrata' ever stopped a war. No play or work of art ever changed the world. They change the way we perceive the world." New York Observer 08/07/06

In Battle Of Shaw Vs. Stratford, Shaw Wins Canada's Stratford Festival may have the bigger budget and the better-known name, Tony Brown concedes. "But I still prefer the almost always-invigorating work done at the Shaw Festival, in the twee-little village of Niagara-on-the-Lake in the wine-producing region just north of Niagara Falls. The Shaw Festival is smaller -- it spends $20 million a year, has 68 actors and is staging 10 shows this summer in three theaters -- but it is smarter by a country kilometer." Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 7/30/06

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Good Start For D.C. Fringe Washington, D.C., mounted its first ever Fringe Festival this summer, and Peter Marks says that the district is a better place for its presence. "[The Fringe] broke down artistic barriers, making an institution-driven town more hospitable to entrepreneurial spirits in theater and dance, to independent types eager for a local platform to show what they could do." Washington Post 08/01/06

God Forbid They Ever Declare A Sweeps Month Nielsen, the company behind TV ratings, has come to the stage, pioneering a new strategy to allow theatre companies to assess the impact of their presentations on the paying public. "Using Hollywood-style data mining techniques and the Internet to contact hundreds of thousands of theatergoers, Live Theatrical Events is changing the way shows are marketing themselves, on and off Broadway." The New York Times 08/01/06

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