“The iconic actress, comedian, writer and director” – now 85 – “will star in the first Broadway production of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, a poignant and timely drama about an elderly gallery owner in Greenwich Village determined to cling to her independence and fight off the effects of aging.”
“The Writers’ Room will be led by Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, the [Los Angeles theater’s] newly named manager of New Play Development. A group of playwrights will each receive one-year residences beginning in September. There they can give each other feedback on plays, receive dramaturgical support, work with a director and actors, and read their plays to the public.”
“The business is horrible, it’s been horrible forever and it’s worse now because of Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, so legitimate actors that have trained in the profession have a harder time getting hired than personalities on YouTube, or on Twitter.” And what’s more, movie stars “should come to the stage with the right intention. And they should be stage-worthy, not try to come to the stage for credibility.”
“It has been 250 years since ‘modern’ circus was born with Philip Astley’s invention of the equestrian ring in London in 1768. … What is often overlooked about that first event is that Patty Astley, a talented equestrian, was right there alongside her husband in the creation of modern circus. As part of her act, she rode around the ring with her hands and arms covered in bees. The history of circus is replete with powerful, talented female performers and artists. But they have often been overlooked in favour of their male counterparts.”
The Harry Potter play, based on a new story by author J.K. Rowling in collaboration with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, announced Monday that it had set a Broadway record for the strongest preview grosses: $2.1 million in ticket sales for the week ending Sunday at the Lyric Theatre. The Potter news came on the same day that Disney Theatrical Productions announced that its stage musical adaptation of “Frozen” had broken a house record at the St. James Theatre for the second week in a row. After grossing $2,246,997 for the week ending April 1, “Frozen” went on to gross $2,275,395 the following week.
The interim artistic director at the Alley Theatre is weighing the best response to the query of, “What will be Gregory Boyd’s legacy?” Boyd, who left in January, helped grow the company’s reputation as artistic director over nearly three decades but was also accused of harassing several women on his staff and creating an abusive work environment.
Diep Tran: “There is one question that has been lingering both for me and many other women in and around the theatre: If we’re going to stage these retrograde works” – Pretty Woman, My Fair Lady, Carousel and Kiss Me, Kate are all on Broadway this season – “and ‘reinvent’ them for the 21st century, why are men the only ones being given the opportunity to do the rethinking – to give these old properties a ‘feminist twist’? Are male artists the only ones who get to define feminism in theatre in 2018?”
This retrospective meetup in the commercial O.K. Corral of American theater suggests that for at least some parts of the gay community, the canonization of milestone works is taking deeper root in the culture. Not that this signals any end to the struggles of gay, lesbian and transgender people, not by a long shot, or that the works of female and trans writers, particularly those of color, are as yet receiving the same level of prominent treatment as those of these white men. But, as Kushner noted in a telephone interview, the tide of history might be playing a part in this intersection of gay plays.
Most of the tickets to the blockbuster musical about Alexander Hamilton have been sold, but the Kennedy Center’s handling of sales has been marked by confusion and complaints, with many patrons struggling to buy tickets to the 14-week run, which opens June 12.
The West End production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about US founding father Alexander Hamilton won best new musical and outstanding achievement in music.
It attracted an average of 600,000 viewers over the two-hour programme, down 40% on the average of one million people who tuned in last year when the show was moved to a prime-time slot (8pm-10pm) two days after the ceremony.
Theatre history nerds, rejoice! “These one-sheet playbills trace the history of theater in New York. They were originally posted around Manhattan to advertise Shakespeare plays, minstrel shows, new American plays and early musicals. One showcases a performance of ‘The Black Crook,’ which opened in 1866 and is often credited as the first musical. The earliest broadside in the collection advertises the Old American Company’s performance of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in 1785; tickets were four shillings for a gallery seat.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda won, and so did the show’s choreographer, the actor who plays Aaron Burr, designers, and the musical itself. Hamilton, with seven wins, did not beat (in numbers) last year’s big winner, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
A young American woman who was told she was “too sensitive” after dealing with racist and anti-Semitic remarks from students (and fellow teachers!) started working with a peer to use Theatre of the Oppressed to change the school “The administration saw a theatre club as a benign activity, but little did they know that through games and acting exercises, the very status quo was being challenged.”
The London version of the smash hit already raked in a record-breaking 13 nominations. Can it beat last year’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which broke records with nine wins last year?
In total, 44 companies working in the performing arts reported the difference between men and women’s salaries, with a median hourly pay gap of 7% in favour of male employees. This means when comparing median hourly rates, women are paid 93p for every £1 paid to men. The median pay difference of the total 10,015 firms that published their figures was 9.7%, meaning arts companies came out more favourably than the average. The national median is 18.4%.
Reporter Michael Paulson talks to John Legend (Jesus), Brandon Victor Dixon (Judas), Sara Bareilles (Mary Magdalene), and Alice Cooper (King Herod).
“For years, the Lloyd Webber canon has been a bit of a cultural punching bag. It’s not hard to see why: His two most popular musicals are, respectively, a nearly plotless anthology sung by performers in spandex and fur and a faux opera about a disfigured stalker in pop culture’s most iconic mask … [Cats and The Phantom of the Opera] have allowed him to become a byword for over-the-top mediocrity that people can snub to feel cultured. Jesus Christ Superstar Live, however, reminded audiences of a different side to Lloyd Webber’s canon.”
Research revealed 67 percent of those surveyed had experienced at least one theater-related head impact. Astonishingly, 39 percent respondents sustained more than five head injuries and 77 percent had more than three head impacts during their time in theater. Of those who experienced a head impact, 70 percent had concussion-related symptoms but continued working.
The report concludes that “bullying and abuses of power were seen to be prevalent” and that inappropriate behaviour can be found at “all levels” across all areas of the industry and in all genders. “There can be a passive culture of endorsing bullying. Leaders may encourage new entrants not to challenge, perpetuating the culture with statements such as ‘That’s just how they are’ or ‘We have extreme characters in our industry’,” it states.
It’s a truism that no one accepts anyone else’s reading of Hamlet. And for at least two hundred years, no generation has been comfortable with its predecessor’s take on the play. It’s hard to think of another work whose interpretations so uncannily identify what the play calls the “form and pressure” of “the time.”
In the fall of 2015, OSF announced the controversial project “Play on!”, in which 36 playwrights were commissioned to “translate” the 36 plays into modern English, creating companion works for the originals. The first product of the initiative, an English-Spanish version of The Comedy of Errors by Luis Alfaro, will debut in the summer of 2019.
The theatre cited “financial reasons” when it called off the production of playwright Abhishek Majumdar’s Pah-La scheduled for last fall. Newly-released correspondence says that the British Council warned the Royal Court that going ahead with the play could interfere with “significant political meetings” happening in China at the time and could jeopardize a project the Royal Court had planned with 16 Chinese writers.
“It won’t quite be a play or a straight recitation … Excerpts and fragments will be read either solo or in groups by a cast that includes the actress Angela Bassett and the rappers Common and Black Thought. Projections visualizing Mr. Coates’s vivid imagery will tower behind them, and the jazz musician Jason Moran will perform a live score with a trio.” Kamilah Forbes, executive producer for the Apollo Theater, tells a reporter how she’s gone about adapting the award-winning book by Coates, a close friend from college.
Says director Gemma Bodinetz, “I wanted to make a modern audience sit up and feel something of what a Jacobean audience must have felt at seeing a black man commanding an army.” Star Golda Rosheuvel: “Some men have a terrible fear of women, particularly powerful women. They would prefer not to see change, and this Othello is part of change. She is a woman who has power over all these men, all that testosterone. How does she negotiate that? Then she goes further and brings her lover – Desdemona – into that arena. It’s a scary thing to do.”
“One reason for this is that they do not appear on stage. Unlike conductors, who stand in front of an orchestra and wave a baton, they are invisible artists whose work is done when the curtain goes up, and their methods differ so greatly that the art they practice defies succinct definition. Moreover, directors work not only with actors and playwrights but also with the designers of the sets, costumes, lighting and sound for their shows, making it still more difficult to single out their contribution to the theatrical process. It follows that directing should be as hard to teach as it is to define.”
“Said another way: Whose America did Oklahoma! depict?” (For one thing, the show is lily-white, and the state at the turn of the 20th century was decidedly not.) “And is the musical’s vision of the nation relevant today?”
For half a century, Anna Scher has been teaching young students and adults in Islington, once quite a rough neighborhood. “In that time, she has created numerous stars, given hope and purpose to kids who had none, started her own theatre, seen it taken away from her, had a traumatic breakdown and fought her way back to good health and standing. At 73, she is once again thriving.”
Across London, theaters have come to understand better than anywhere else that voracious consumers of the performing arts want something else to chew on, to be able to pair their love of drama with a pint or a glass of wine and, say, a burger and chips, or a cheese board. And so, at the Young Vic or the National Theatre near the Waterloo railway station, or the Royal Court in Sloan Square, or the brand-new Bridge Theatre, under the Tower Bridge, large, inviting and comfy spaces have been dedicated in the theaters to soaking up some alcohol and accommodating some serious schmoozing, to go with the cultural enrichment.
A disabled theatre critic is none too happy with Webber and his touring show. “Love Never Dies takes place in 1907, three years into the freakshow’s East Coast rise in popularity. For a musical owing its location to the disabled community, Love Never Dies is decidedly remiss in incorporating the community. We are offered mere tokens: a few musical numbers briefly mention oddities, and only ‘The Beauty Underneath’ uses freak attractions in its staging.”