ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

THEATRE

‘Moulin Rouge!’ — An Oral History Of A Broadway Smash Snuffed Out By Disease

"Set in fin de siècle Paris but supercharged by 75 pop songs, it opened to a rave from The New York Times ('This one's for the hedonists,' exulted Ben Brantley), and it was regularly selling out all 1,302 seats, even during a holiday season when it cost $799 to watch from a cafe table encircled by cancan dancers." Then...

Take It From A Times Theater Critic: The Trump-To-Shakespeare Analogies Really Don’t Work

Jesse Green: "I admit that I do it too. … But even these comparisons are reductive — in both directions. Shakespeare's characters are much richer and more readable than someone as unforthcoming as Trump. At the same time, we'd be lucky if he were merely Shakespearean; no made-up villain, even Iago, is as alarming as someone for whom all...

Founders Of Belarus Free Theatre Get Death Threats From Lukashenko Government

"We will definitely find you … and we will hang you side by side." So said a column in Sovietska Belarus, the more-or-less official newspaper of the post-Communist dictatorship. The targets were Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, who fled to the UK as political refugees in 2011 but have continued to work long-distance with Belarus Free Theatre, which they...

How Did American Theater Deal With The Trump Era? Urgently

"For the most part, it didn't aim straight at the president. … Rather, producers elevated formally adventurous, politically incendiary plays — like Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me and Jeremy O. Harris's Slave Play — that spoke meaningfully to our nation’s troubled soul. Audiences, hungering for that holiest of dramatic experiences, catharsis, used the ritual of theatergoing...

Stage Union Volunteers To Help Theatres Be Vaccination Sites

Jonas Loeb, communications director of IATSE, says this time around turning music venues into a vaccination center would require a new configuration. “It doesn’t use any unusual technique.” He adds, “The workers know those venues better than anyone else and can help hook up all necessary utilities quickly and efficiently. To them, it’s a relatively normal job, but with...

What’s To Become Of The Trump Impersonators?

“No one is going to want to see my Donald Trump” now. Anyone who is seeking Trump comedy after Jan. 21, I just feel bad for them.” - Washington Post

UK Courts Are Leasing Theatres For Courtrooms – Artists Are Objecting

Three national lockdowns in Britain, as well as tough social distancing guidelines, have hampered the business of England’s court system this past year, creating a huge backlog of cases. Since July, the country’s courts service has been renting suitable spaces — like theaters, but also conference centers and local government buildings — then turning them into temporary courtrooms. -...

The Musical Fantasy World Created By Teens That Has Spawned Three Concept Albums For Broadway Shows

Yes, it's partly because of TikTok and the world of duets, collaborations, and free-flowing (but in this case, very directed) creativity. But it's so much more: "Averno the setting of a sprawling, cross-platform universe over TikTok (125,000 followers), Instagram (47,000 followers), Spotify (1.4 million streams), YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr. It encompasses podcasts, livestreams, novels and short stories, TV and film scripts, an extensive alternate-reality...

Unlocking The Technology Of Relationships

What does it look like when a small-scale, long-term community effort in Detroit is connected to a small-scale, long-term community effort in Seattle or Dallas? What is there to learn and exchange in that story being shared? In a national or federal approach to storytelling, you lose so much texture, so much detail, because in an effort to make...

Lessons From 40 Years Performing Online

"Everything about the experience of using a computer is still flat, everything uses these windows, but then we also have high-speed processes that allow for these windows to actually be functional." - Howlround

When Yiddish-Speaking Puppets Roamed The World

Puppetry had never been part of the Yiddish theater tradition, but in 1920s America, they were all the rage. So in 1925-26, a pair of writers created a Purim shpiel (the Jewish equivalent of a Christmas panto) with puppets. It was such a smash success that the two men ended up creating a puppet company that put on...

How Paris Theatres Keep Putting On Plays While The Pandemic Has Stopped Public Performances

Shows were running in the French capital for a few months last year, before a big new wave of COVID infections led to a new lockdown and a crop of new productions were going to waste. But not anymore: leave it to Parisians to find an inventive way to break the rules while officially obeying them. - The New...

Negro Ensemble Company: A Brief History Of A Pathbreaking Theater Group

The NEC's roots lay in a drama workshop for Harlem youth that founder Robert Hooks ran in a makeshift theater in his apartment until the landlord found out. The professional company was born in 1967 with a Ford Fourndation grant, and it went on to become perhaps the most successful Black theatre group in the world, with a Pulitzer,...

For 100 Years, Magicians Have Been Sawing People In Half

On January 17, 1921, in a north London theatre, "an English magician called Percy Thomas Tibbles literally and laboriously sawed through a sealed wooden box that contained a woman. It was a sensation and has since become one of the best known magic tricks, performed with all manner of tools and varying degrees of blood – always involving someone...

Do Critics Shape The Theatre Of Their Time? Ben Brantley Says —

"Has it really happened that way, though? To go back to my paragon, Pauline Kael, she was perceived as shaping the course of Hollywood, and I'm not sure she did when you look back at it. Culture — like history, and we know how perverse and also cyclical history can be — follows its own inevitable patterns. … I...

Our Free Newsletter

Join our 30,000 subscribers

Latest

Don't Miss

function my_excerpt_length($length){ return 200; } add_filter('excerpt_length', 'my_excerpt_length');