ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Why Did Scott Rudin Step Back From Broadway? Maybe Not Just Because He’d Seen The Error Of His Ways

The key seems to have been Rudin's high-profile, high-stakes production of The Music Man, set to start previews in December. While some of the key people involved in the revival reportedly showed "apathy" about the allegations of Rudin's appalling office behavior, the two stars did not: Hugh Jackman told others he was "very concerned" but did not give an ultimatum, while Sutton Foster said publicly that she would go if he did not. - The Hollywood Reporter

At The RSC, ‘The Winter’s Tale’ Is Finally Coming Together After Two False Starts

The COVID lockdown hit Britain just days before this production was to open and put the company's entire operations on hold; the show was set to start again last autumn when a second lockdown had to be imposed. Now, by heaven, they're doing it, at least for broadcast on BBC Four. "What's curious is that, if you were looking for a drama that distills the emotions so many of us have been through in the past year, it would be hard to find a better candidate than The Winter's Tale." - The Guardian

Many Theatres Have Survived The Pandemic So Far – But The Future Is An Open Question

Ironically, bringing audiences back may be the issue. "While this year looks fairly stable, a greater threat may still lie ahead. The emergency infusions of cash that kept so many companies afloat — as well as savings from furloughs and shifting artistic output online — will trickle away once they start staging shows again for live audiences, which could begin on a significant scale later this year." - Washington Post

Scott Rudin’s Apology Is Not Enough

Not great: "Broadway producers I spoke to told me that Rudin seems to be sincere about stepping away from the day-to-day running of his megahits, The Book of Mormon and To Kill a Mockingbird, but no one seems to think he’ll be relinquishing his financial stakes. When Broadway resumes, so will his revenue streams." What can Broadway, and Hollywood, do? - Los Angeles Times

In New Jersey, A Closed Theatre Results In An Arts Incubator And Virtual Shows

There's no audience; there's no one in the building, but Newark Symphony Hall is busy. There's a new "career accelerator and business incubator" in the making. "Musicians, singers, dancers, actors, spoken word artists, directors and theater technical staff are eligible for the program," and some of the proposals will result in virtual shows. In pandemic times, it could be far worse. - Newark Star-Ledger

After Reports Of Abuse, Scott Rudin Claims He’ll ‘Step Back’ From Broadway

Rudin emailed the Washington Post on Saturday to issue an apology for years of causing pain to colleagues (and employees). He also wrote that he would be "taking steps that I should have taken years ago to address this behavior." But specifics remain unclear; "Rudin declined to elaborate on the statement, or on what exactly retreating from 'active participation' entails." - Washington Post

Head Of New York Theatre Workshop To Step Down After 34 Years

James C. Nicola, the artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, announced on Friday that he will step down in June 2022. At that point, he will have spent 34 years — nearly half his life — at the off-Broadway theater, which spawned the once-in-a-lifetime hit musical “Rent” and grew under his leadership into a steady home for provocative fare by the likes of Caryl Churchill, the Five Lesbian Brothers and the director Ivo van Hove. - The New York Times

Through Assassination, Official Harassment, And Right-Wing-Media Smears, A Theatre In A West Bank Refugee Camp Keeps Running

The Freedom Theatre, founded in the Jenin camp in 2006, has as dual missions "to build back Palestinian identity destroyed by years of brutal occupation and tour the often unheard, first-hand experiences of Palestinians to the international community." Ten years ago, the company's co-founder and leader, Juliano Mer-Khamis, was murdered just outside the camp. Director Zoe Lafferty, who has worked several times with the company, writes about how tenaciously it has kept at its work in the face of enormous obstacles. - The Stage

Political Theatre Is Useless If It’s Just Preaching To The Choir – So What To Do About It?

"When political theatre preaches to the choir, it removes its potential to disrupt. Indeed, by having such a laser focus on bringing “awareness” to issues, much political art forgets to have a point of view. Art in the current landscape tells us that we live in a racist society or that violence against women exists, but it doesn’t tell us how to fight back. So, we’ve left behind activist theatre and are now engaging in an empty journalistic theatre." - Howlround

With Theatres Closed, Regular Folks Have Taken To Doing Play Readings On Zoom

"Over the past year, as many theaters worldwide have remained closed, online play reading groups have arisen to fill that dramatic gap, with more or less prowess — on Zoom, on Skype, on the audio-only app Clubhouse. Some participants merely read their lines, scripts in hand, others act them out. Many clubs stick to Shakespeare and affiliated classics, but plenty range more widely, integrating contemporary plays, Star Trek episodes and film scripts." Some stage professionals have started readings as well, and groups are even moving offline and gathering in parks. - The New York Times

On Zoom, Using Ancient Greek Theater To Process Modern Traumas

"Ancient stories, and texts that have stood the test of time, can be portals to honest and dignified grappling with present wounds and longings and callings that we aren't able to muster in our official places now. It's an embodiment of the good Greek word catharsis — releasing both insight and emotions that have had no place to go, and creating an energizing relief." Krista Tippett interviews Bryan Doerries, founder and director of the project Theater of War. (audio) - On Being

Where Second City’s New Chief Means To Lead The Improv Institution

Says Jon Carr, who came to the company's Chicago headquarters from Dad's Garage in Atlanta four months ago, "It's a little strange, because there’s nothing routine happening at any of right now, so it's a lot of rebuilding of things from scratch." - American Theatre

Steven Leigh Morris On What Did In LA Stage Alliance

"When members of the community say about LASA that they didn’t feel included or respected, my heart goes out to them. I ran the organization, and I often felt the same way." - Stage Raw

Performers In South Africa Protest For More Government Help During The Pandemic

For the performing arts community, the closure of Cape Town's Fugard Theatre was something of a last straw. "In just a decade of existence the theatre, named after world-renowned playwright Athol Fugard, had become a much-loved venue that put on work by local writers as well as internationally known plays and musicals." Artists are asking their government to do much, much more for them - and their strapped venues. - BBC

Where The World Of Comedy Throws Obstacles, These Women Have Forged Their Own Paths

It's not easy for a woman in comedy, and that's doubly true for a Black woman. Ask Ziwe (who now has a series on Netflix). "You really have to create for yourself and create in that vacuum because you’re not going to get the instant gratification and validation." - Variety

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