Up Periscope! Your Theatre May Be Infested By Meerkats!

March 27th, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

Are you still grumbling about “tweet seats”? Oh, that is so 2013. Time to get with the program and start worrying about the newest development in mobile tech, which could have a vastly more significant impact on the live performing arts. At this year’s SXSW Festival, a new app, Meerkat, saw a frenzy of adoption by attendees, so much so that Twitter moved to quickly curtail the app’s access to Twitter data. The reason for that draconian move came clearer yesterday when the app Periscope, Continue reading...

Entertainment Reporter Employs False Balance To Undermine TV’s Diversity Efforts

March 25th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

In case you haven’t heard, Caucasian actors are being victimized by casting practices at the television networks. They, after holding primacy on screen since the earliest days of television, may – horrors! – have a few less opportunities to secure roles in new television series this year because of an effort by the networks to produce stories about characters who may not be Caucasian and to seek more actors of color for television series for roles that may not have been written with actors Continue reading...

In Two New Books, The Arts Apocalypse Now

March 23rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

If you happen to know of any young people who you’re trying to dissuade from careers in the creative arts, you might want to casually leave around two new books for them to find. Scott Timberg’s Culture Crash: The Killing Of The Creative Class (Yale University Press, $26) and Michael M. Kaiser’s Curtains?: The Future Of The Arts In America (Brandeis University Press, $26.95) both paint dark pictures of the state of the creative arts and where they’re headed, enough to send one right into Continue reading...

The Shameful, Inevitable Result Of The Trumbull Art Controversy

March 12th, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

Last night, a painting hanging in the town library in Trumbull, Connecticut was defaced, while in the same building, the library board was holding a meeting about the display of said painting. I wish I could say I was surprised that this happened, but to be honest, I’m not. I’ve been expecting it. I believe this was the inevitable result of a series of events that broke into public awareness two weeks ago, when the town’s First Selectman ordered the painting removed. Let’s review the Continue reading...

There Are No ‘Bad Jews’ In London’s Underground

March 7th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

It is the policy of London’s Underground, commonly known as "the tube," to not accept advertising which, in the words of it supervisory authority, Transport for London, “may cause widespread or serious offence'.” By judging posters for the West End transfer of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews as potentially doing so, and therefore banning them, TfL may well be giving greater widespread offense for its oversensitivity, even if it comes from a place of genuine concern, which now rises to the level Continue reading...

Are These Modern Reviews of ‘This Is Modern Art’?

March 6th, 2015 § 3 comments § permalink

If, like me, you’re connected to members of the Chicago theatre community on social media (I’m NYC based), you’ve certainly seen an outpouring of reaction to two major reviews of the new Steppenwolf for Young Adults show, This Is Modern Art (Based On True Events). Since all perception of what’s being said on any subject in social media is mediated by who you ‘follow’ and who you ‘friend’ and what you like and retweet, I can’t possibly tell you what the prevailing sentiments Continue reading...

What Does Trumbull Have Against The Arts?

March 4th, 2015 § 18 comments § permalink

Remember Trumbull, Connecticut? That’s the town where a new high school principal canceled a production of the student edition of the musical Rent in the fall of 2013. The resultant outcry from students, parents, town residents, the media and interested third parties (including me) was such that three weeks later, the show was reinstated. It was produced at the high school in 2014 without any incident. After my advocacy for Rent, I hate returning to the subject of the arts in Trumbull, for Continue reading...

Religion And Theatre Education Clash Over McNally’s ‘Corpus Christi’ At A Virginia University

February 25th, 2015 § 11 comments § permalink

It is not, sad to say, news that controversy has surrounded a production of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi. It is certainly not surprising to hear that such controversy took place on a university campus. But when one hears that Corpus Christi became the subject of controversy as a result of a production at a Christian faith-based university, the reflex is to wonder how anyone ever thought it could be done there in the first place. But the production of Corpus Christi that was to have been produced Continue reading...

Upon Receiving The DLDF “Defender” Award

February 24th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night, I was extremely flattered and honored to receive the second annual Dramatists Legal Defense Fund’s “Defender” Award, for my work on behalf of artists' rights and against censorship. My remarks were fairly brief (I know a little something about brevity and awards presentations, even when there isn’t an orchestra to “play you off”), so for those who have expressed interest, or may be interested, here’s what I had to say, following a terrific and humbling introduction by playwright Continue reading...

Arts Education, The ‘Whiplash’ Way

February 20th, 2015 § 9 comments § permalink

Perhaps you’re unaware of it, but there’s an arts education film up for an Oscar this year. And no, I’m not referring to something in the documentary short subject category, but rather a Best Picture nominee. Though it hasn’t been called out as such in any of the articles or reviews I’ve read, Whiplash is a film about the mastery of music set largely in and around a music school. But it has primarily provoked stories about how the film managed to give viewers the impression that Miles Continue reading...