“Thayne Jasperson, who plays the British loyalist Samuel Seabury, is the only cast member still in his original role. Emmy Raver-Lampman, by contrast, started as part of the ensemble on Broadway, left the show in April 2016 for SpongeBob SquarePants, returned as an ensemble member in the Chicago production of Hamilton, and is now playing Angelica Schuyler in the first national tour. She and Jasperson talked to TheaterMania about their experiences with the musical and how it’s changed since the summer of 2015.”
The company, founded by Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Matt Besser and the training ground for many comedians, sketch actors and Saturday Night Live cast members, is moving from its longtime base in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood to the group of Off-Broadway theaters on the far west end of 42nd Street.
“If, in any given year, somewhere up and down the UK, you can see a starry production of Hamlet being staged with Big-Name Acclaimed Actors showing off their Big-Name Acclaimed Acting Chops, then the cachet of that role is reduced. No question. It’s the basic economics of scarcity: when every Tom (Hiddleston), Dick (Burton) and Jude Law has had a crack at moodily wafting on stage, like a Smiths fan in search of legitimate melancholy, then theatre’s great and good might consider that it is time to call a moratorium on more Hamlets.
“Her plays are staged almost twice as often as anyone else’s on the list, far ahead of venerated figures like Eugene O’Neill and August Wilson, who edged her for the top spot last year. (The survey excludes Shakespeare, America’s perennial favorite.) Although men still write three-quarters of the plays that get produced, Gunderson has built a national reputation with works that center on women’s stories. And, though most playwrights also teach or work in television, she has managed to make a living, in San Francisco, by writing for the stage.”
They mistakenly believe it improves their performance, he says. Saying actors must refocus their attention on preparing properly, Nighy argues the trend has been propagated by those who simply “don’t want to do their homework”.
A reporter visits Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons to watch the Bard Hall Players rehearse Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Every member of the cast and crew is a medical student; several have degrees and/or previous professional experience in music or theater.
The 50-year-old company, a legend of the late 20th-century downtown avant-garde theater scene, is back at the old P.S. 122 building, just renovated, in Manhattan’s East Village. Reporter Zachary Small visits the new Mabou Mines HQ and talks with co-artistic director Sharon Fogarty and company co-founder Lee Breuer, who – at age 80 – is premiering a new play there.
“When I entered the industry the playwright was regarded as the most important person in the process and slowly in the new century things have moved over to director’s theatre, and the directors not only run the theatres, choose the plays, but they also want to be auteurs in the rehearsal room, and that is a new development.” Hare said playwrights are being forced to write like film writers, which he believes is unhealthy for theatre.
“[The character Song Liling’s] true gender was the meant-to-shock big reveal of the original Broadway production … [But] by now, the play has been in the repertory for nearly 30 years. As [actor B.D.] Wong said by phone recently, ‘The cat is out of the bag.’ Yet here’s the thing, as I saw when I bought a ticket and went to an early preview: [David Henry] Hwang has made a new cat, and [Julie] Taymor has put it in a very different bag.” The playwright talks with Laura Collins-Hughes about that brand new bag.
Laura Collins-Hughes talks with actors B.D. Wong and George Takei, playwrights Julia Cho (Office Hour) and Jason Kim (KPOP), and National Asian American Theater Company co-founder Mia Katigbak.
Sondheim was one of the first people I told about my idea for a piece about Alexander Hamilton, back in 2008. It was in this townhouse, on the first floor. I’d been hired to write Spanish translations for a Broadway revival of “West Side Story,” and during our first meeting he asked me what I was working on next. I told him “Alexander Hamilton,” and he threw back his head in laughter and clapped his hands.
“In Asia, where a youthful stand-up comedy scene is still developing, comedians in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia are finding creative ways to tell jokes about sex and politics, while coming up against cultures of censorship and taboos.”
At the famous theatre at Epidaurus, the claim has always been that you could hear a pin dropping or an actor whispering onstage even in the farthest seats. But a team of researchers has done extensive tests there, at Argos and at the Odeon in Athens, and they found that – while these ancient venues are hardly as bad as, say, the Sydney Opera House or Lincoln Center’s original Philharmonic Hall – this hear-a-pin-drop business is a myth.
Rochester, Minnesota’s Civic Theatre is asking the city for $80,000 on top of its usual $200,000 appropriation. In June, after news stories detailed seven different allegations of abuse for the former executive director and former board members failing to stop the abuse, the theatre also fired its popular artistic director. Now the theatre’s in need of funds as well.
The musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie scooped the major awards, but who won everything else? Here’s the list.
Or your basement, if you’re the producers of these immersive theatre nights in the Bay Area. What if you and the other 20 people there hate the show? Well, there’s food. “Preshow offerings include wine, cheese and charcuterie. Postshow a whole buffet is served.”
Susan Jonas: “The presence of women [in top theatre jobs] is typically inversely proportionate to resources. So it does indeed matter when women are leaders of not one but six of the biggest theatres in Britain and Ireland. I recently interviewed five of these groundbreakers … Each is a unique visionary, but I learned that they do share certain elements beyond gender.”
The board of the American Jewish Historical Society, based in Manhattan, canceled a public reading of Rubble Rubble by playwright Dan Fishback, a critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The play is about disagreements within a family over Israel and Palestine, but, says Fishback, “The people who made this decision had no access to my script. This was about my beliefs.” Criticism of the cancellation came swiftly, and one artist removed work of hers from display at the Society.
While the three-venue complex at London’s Southbank Centre saw its best attendance (93%) in 14 years, with a boost in box-office income, its report says that the NT has relied too much on revenue – by nature uncertain – from the likes of War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to offset government funding cuts.
“Nick Parr has resigned after just two years as chief executive of Dundee Rep, which boasts the country’s only full-time company of actors. He has left with immediate effect less than two months after the Rep’s new artistic director, Andrew Panton, took charge of his first show.” While the company saw revenue rise under Parr, last week a newspaper column argued that morale at the company was sinking due to a perceived change in culture there.
“This is a new wrinkle in the very old book of showdowns between producers and critics. It’s one thing to have a preview period for performers and stagehands to settle in; previews even used to be significantly discounted, a good-faith concession from producers to fans as shows found their footing. But using an entire tour stop as a critic-free preview zone? That’s not how out-of-town tryouts or tours run. Eventually reviewers report.”
The high “Dolly” ticket, which is for weekend performances, reflects strong demand to see Bette Midler’s Tony-winning turn before her run ends on Jan. 14. And the front row provides an opportunity for fans to be quite close to her: She performs the title song on a passerelle, a walkway that arcs in front of the stage, and she often reaches out toward audience members, sometimes shaking their hands.
First of all, name the problem. “When talking about gender parity in writing for the theatre, most of the conversation focuses on plays. Musicals get lumped in, and we assume the same solutions will impact both media once implemented. I don’t believe that’s true. Musical theatre is a related but different medium from playwriting. The path to production is different. The financing is different. The means of exposure are different. We need to be talking about musicals separately.”
The tech companies certainly want it. Check this out: “A new immersive lab has opened in Brighton which will enable theatre companies to experiment with virtual reality technology.”
No, the “free market” does not deliver theatre to every corner of the U.S. It took the NEA to do that – and it took theatre people to agitate for an NEA in the first place. “Theatre artists and administrators from all over the U.S. knew firsthand that the absence of non-commercial funding was preventing theatre from reaching audiences who had no access to professional theatres. Theatre practitioners, critics, and leaders were determined to change that—and to put theatre into the national conversation.”
Lincoln Center Theater will produce the revival directed by Bartlett Sher, whose revivals of South Pacific and The King and I there were enormous successes. Unusually, the actors playing Eliza (Ambrose) and Higgins (Harry Hadden-Paton, who played Bertie Pelham on Downton) are roughly the same age. Also in the cast will be Norbert Leo Butz and Diana Rigg.
“Les Waters, who has served as artistic director for six seasons, will depart next summer to pursue personal projects, according to a press release sent Wednesday. … Waters has produced 78 plays and directed 18 in Louisville during his six seasons at the helm. His leadership ‘invigorated’ the Humana Festival of New American Plays, according to the release from Actors Theatre, and plays debuted at the festival were seen across the country. “
Lyn Gardner reports on the project by London’s Czech Centre and the interactive company Oneohone to perform updated versions of Havel’s Vaněk Plays, which were originally staged in secret in a Prague apartment after the Czech Communist government banned the playwright.
Brook understands what divides cultures. As he says in his book, “if in English we speak words, the French speak thoughts”. Yet he also sees common factors, especially in the universal search in actors for ever greater self-disclosure. “If we were transported back to the Elizabethan theatre,” he says, “I think we’d be shocked by the crudity and coarseness of what we saw.
The glasses will enable D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences to read live captioning on the lenses during a performance, removing the need for captioning screens in the auditorium. NT director Rufus Norris said the glasses mean that for the first time, D/deaf audiences will be able to attend any performance during a production’s run, rather then rely on the limited number of captioned performances – up to four per show – that are currently scheduled.