Liz Durand Streisand’s online platform — which is, in fact, called Broadway Roulette — is basically the Hotwire of theatre: producers, like airlines, may be willing to release discount tickets in order to sell seats, but they don’t want the whole world to know that they’re resorting to cutting prices. So the customer will specify a date and order tickets, but the actual show will be a surprise.
The job of policing the morals and decorum of play scripts had been centered in the Lord Chamberlain’s office since 1737, but by the 20th century postwar period, a new generation of playwrights had had enough. Nick Smurthwaite looks at what theatremakers had to go through before 1968 and at the artists who campaigned to change it.
Despite its passionate fan base and access to Broadway’s high-wattage talent, “Theater Talk” has come to close. Its last show aired in July. Susan Haskins, the show’s host and executive producer and a co-creator, said the show ended after a change in leadership at CUNY TV, which broadcast the program, led to a dispute over editorial control.
Turns out that sales actually go up, at least for this nonprofit theatre in Utah – though that might partly be because, smart move, they “even rode Hamilton’s coattails a bit, staging a concert version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s earlier musical, In the Heights.”
From hurricanes to fires to tornadoes, high school theatres have been asking Samuel French to help them rebuild their lost play libraries. That was catch as catch can for years – but now it’s official (and those in the path of Hurricane Florence are likely to need it).
Maureen Beattie: “We must not give up because when the media has moved on and it’s not famous people [being accused] anymore, that’s when the bastards are going to crawl out from under their slimy stones and go, ‘I’m here again, nobody’s going to be watching us.'”
Philadelphia seems to be finding out: “Justice for non-binary people is about naming and acknowledging that we exist in rehearsal, performance, and audience spaces. It’s about creating braver spaces amidst verbal and physical harassment on the street as well as in respectable, progressive establishments. It’s about training companies to understand and respect the non-binary experience before they invite us into the room. It’s about paying non-binary folks for their emotional and intellectual labor when we’re asked for dramaturgical help in a creative process. It’s about theatres doing their own research before expecting non-binary folks to educate them.”
A night at the theater can mean everything from parking and dinner, to elbow room in the lobby and in the seats, all on top of the price of a ticket. The city’s entertainment czars know this; that’s what drove the remarkable expansion of theater after theater a decade ago, with boosted capacities and bigger lobbies. Even now, more money is being raised to convert comparatively new complexes into more fully rounded destinations.
Jan Fabre, known for his 24-hour stage marathon Mount Olympus, has been accused – in an open letter by 20 employees and interns at his Antwerp-based stage company Troubleyn – of “humiliation, intimidation and semi-secret photographic activities” as well as trying to extort sexual favors from dancers and offering them jobs or money afterward to keep quiet.
Touring is always in some sort of crisis. And currently it’s at the mid-scale, as highlighted by ACE’s Analysis of Theatre in England report in 2016. Venues say there is a dearth of shows, while producers say there’s not enough demand to make them. Meanwhile historic mid-scale audiences are ebbing away, undernourished, making the whole thing even less viable. It’s a catch-22. At conferences, roundtables and gatherings we lament, in hushed tones, the unsolvable conundrum of the mid-scale.
A troupe from Berlin’s Schaubühne was giving the first performance of a three-night run at The Egg in Beijing when one scene moved some audience members to shout out critical remarks about the Chinese government. Censors told the performers to remove that scene or have the tour cancelled, and they did; even so, the theater at the tour’s next destination, Nanjing, has suddenly experienced “technical difficulties.”
To complement its more conventional WhatsOnStage Awards, the publication’s new WhatsOffStage Awards will have categories for best box office, stage door, theatre website, front-of-house staff, and so on.
There are 14 actors in the enormously complex Off Broadway premiere of this ambitious bilingual play, a multigenerational drama that aims to be equally accessible to deaf and hearing audience members at every moment of every performance. There is one featured cast member and one shadow cast member for each of the seven characters. The shadow cast performs entirely in A.S.L.; the featured cast, in a mix of English and sign.
“We’re not paid to be soothsayers; we’re paid to give our honest opinions on a particular time and day, based on our own long experience of writing about and loving theatre.” But “the new age of social media now means more than ever that critics are increasingly a reduced part of the equation.”
The conceit of Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus is that the Roman civil war is over, madmen have taken power in the failing empire, and two servants — played by Andrea Martin and Nathan Lane — have the job of cleaning up all the dead bodies. Five-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe will direct, with set design by four-time Tony laureate Santo Loquasto.
As part of Playbill’s Back to School week (#BwayBacktoSchool), we have combined past Schools of the Stars features that track where members of the casts for each Broadway show went to college, along with a bit of added research, to present the ten colleges currently most represented on Broadway (plus a few honorable mentions).
“As the discourse rages on about whether or not political correctness is destroying comedy (spoiler alert: it isn’t), these 13 comedians decided that self-interrogation is ultimately a good thing. They opened up about the material they’ve performed that hasn’t aged particularly well and how owning up to it has helped grow their comedic voices.”
“When I started touring universities, my first impression was not Wow, these softies can’t take a joke! It was Oh dear God, they are so young! … Some of them are only 17. A lot of them are virgins. For many of my student audience members, it’s the first time they’ve seen comedy in person. It is actually kind of scary for them: What is this strange adult woman going to do? Is she going to point me out and embarrass me in front of my hallmates?“
“Cultural official Shahram Karami told the official IRNA news agency Monday that Iran’s judiciary had ordered the detention of the play’s director, Maryam Kazemi, and the manager of the theater that hosted it, Saeed Assadi. … Both were taken into custody Sunday evening, after the broadcast of a video trailer about the work.”
Johanna Pfaelzer, who is currently the artistic director of New York Stage and Film, a nonprofit best known for its Powerhouse Theater summer program at Vassar College, will become the next artistic director of Berkeley Rep starting next fall. She will succeed Tony Taccone, who has been at Berkeley Rep for 33 years, 21 of them as artistic director.
Er, yes, that cancelation seems like a good idea for everyone who’s self-employed and earning less than £6.205 per year.
Many of the theatre’s founding investors in 1766 made that money directly from the city’s slave trade. The Old Vic’s artistic director: “The theatre is undeniably a part of the slave trade legacy in Bristol. … The building came out of that economic boom and I don’t think it is enough anymore to just assume that people then did not know the trade was wrong.”
Almost all of the leads in Les Mis are from other countries, and that’s not unusual for productions in Mexico. But there’s more: “The fact that the foreign actors from Argentina, Brazil and Spain are generally taller and more fair-skinned than the Mexican actors also means they fit the conventional look of a leading role, especially when the production is exported from the United States or Europe.”
“We’re telling the best stories that we can possibly tell — the most dynamic, the best writing — period. The fact is: Voices that have been too often marginalized in our theater have some of the most exciting stories to tell. So if we’re going to tell the best stories, we darn well better have a mix of storytellers and stories that reflect gender diversity and many, many other expressions of identity.”
Alexis Soloski talks with the artistic director of the British theatre company Forced Entertainment, whose show Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare charges through the plays with a cast of household items.
“The big changes to the Macbeth at the Folger Theatre include famous monologues that have been substantially trimmed; a newly heroic Macduff and Lady Macduff, who have bigger roles than Shakespeare dreamed of; and witches in extended sequences of song and dance. … This Macbeth is a painstakingly assembled revival of a version that’s about 350 years old, adapted by William Davenant as London’s theaters reopened after being shut down for 18 years during England’s Civil War.”
A controversial play about the relationship between whites and Indigenous peoples will finally be presented after previously being cancelled following criticism of content judged culturally insensitive. The Paris-based Theatre du Soleil says in a statement it will put on Quebec playwright Robert Lepage’s Kanata this December.
A shift in the Regional Arts Commission’s funding philosophy, as reflected in its most recent round of grants, has raised concerns in the St. Louis arts community, with some applicants receiving zero funding, including theater companies like New Line that have consistently been supported.
“Lovers of drama, comedy and green onion cakes flocked to the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in record numbers this year. … Patrons purchased a record 133,276 tickets to more than 1,600 shows, generating $1.46 million in box office revenue, an increase of 10 per cent from last year.”
“[The STC] has reached across the Atlantic and tapped British director Simon Godwin as its new artistic director effective next August, signaling a commitment to large-scale classics on its two downtown Washington stages.”