Timeline: Ari Roth’s Firing From Washington DC’s Theater J

December 21st, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

I have never attended Theater J in Washington DC. I have become increasingly aware of its work as controversy over that work has risen in recent years, while at the same time I have become aware of the high regard in which the company and its longtime artistic director, Ari Roth, are held by many theatre professionals I admire and call my friends. That Roth was fired this week after nearly two decades is simultaneously shocking and wholly unsurprising, as the theatre seems to have been on a Continue reading...

Falling For “Almost, Maine” in North Carolina in January

December 19th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Many of you already know the story of the Maiden High School production of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, shuttered by school officials this fall due to the content of a single scene in which two men discover that they love one another. The cancellation rightly got a great deal of attention, not least because Almost, Maine is the most popular new play done in high schools nationally, a widely accepted work that hit a wall in one North Carolina town due to the school administration caving in to Continue reading...

It’s Only A Movie, Until It’s More

December 18th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

the interview poster As the Sony hacking case has played out over the past several weeks, it’s a story that has been relegated mostly to the business pages and, simultaneously, the gossip industry. With no one explicitly claiming responsibility for the breach of the entertainment giant’s computer system, the focus has been more on the corporate ramifications, placing it in business reports, and the stream of buzzworthy stories including the e-mails between Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin and the pontifications of Aaron Continue reading...

Nailing The Broadway Bolter To Her Seat

December 9th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

In a week when flaws in Rolling Stone’s reporting of a culture of rape on the University of Virginia campus created national headlines, the lapses of a single cultural reporter at the Wall Street Journal doesn’t seem to amount to a hill of beans. But it’s a story that is much buzzed about in theatrical circles, and perhaps throughout the field of the arts, with implications much greater than Joanne Kaufman’s self-appointed role as a serial “Broadway bolter,” who has accepted who knows Continue reading...

Paying A Legitimate Toll To Ease On Down The Road

December 3rd, 2014 § 10 comments § permalink

Not to dash anyone’s dreams, but I think it’s fair to say that the majority of the hundreds of thousands of students who participate in high school theatre annually will not go on to professional careers in the arts. The same holds true for the student musicians in orchestras, bands and ensembles. They all benefit from the experience in many ways: from the teamwork, the discipline and the appreciation of the challenge and hard work that goes into such endeavors, to name but a few attributes. But Continue reading...

Reversing Course On “Legally Blonde” Censorship At Newman University

November 25th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

To say that Newman University’s production of the musical Legally Blonde was performed with its book and lyrics intact this past Saturday and Sunday would seem to be a wholly unremarkable event. But because that wasn’t the case at Thursday and Friday’s shows, the fidelity of the latter two performances is rather more intriguing. How did a university production suddenly shift away from censorship halfway through a four performance run? How, to paraphrase a lyric from The Producers, did Legally Continue reading...

Cumberbatch vs. Jacobi: Breaking The Imitation Game Code

November 24th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

As prestige movies open pell-mell in the next few weeks, and Oscar campaigns already underway blaze into full public awareness, one of the contenders will surely be The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. It tells the story of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who is widely credited with breaking the Nazi’s “Enigma” code and whose name is regularly invoked in discussions of artificial intelligence, specifically over how or whether we might one day create Continue reading...

The Irreconcilable Dissonance Between Cosby’s Comedy And His Alleged Crimes

November 20th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

A couple of years ago, in conversation with a childhood friend on Facebook, we began recalling the hours spent in my basement listening to the early comedy records of Bill Cosby. Suddenly, a business associate from my adult life joined in, demanding to know how we could reminisce about this, given the many allegations made against Cosby, and the one out-of-court settlement, regarding his sexual assaults on women. Because the dialogue was focused on fond memories, not Cosby himself per se, and because Continue reading...

Signs Of The Times At The Cafe Edison

November 8th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

When the news hit on Thursday, it flew around the New York theatre community as quickly as the unexpected closing of a Broadway show. The Cafe Edison on 47th Street is a fixture, one that opened in 1980, but seems as if it has been there much, much longer. From the moment people heard it was being evicted to make way for an upscale restaurant, mourning began (even though it will be around for another month or so), with theatre district denizens eulogizing it as one of the last vestiges of the Continue reading...

Senator Coburn Trolls The Arts With Annual P.R. Ploy

November 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

In the song “The Book Report” from the musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt struggles to complete her homework assignment: 100 words on Peter Rabbit. Falling short, she concludes it thusly: “And they were very very very very very very happy to be home. The very very very end.” In honor of this blatant effort to reach a designated threshold without utilizing meaningful content, I would like to present the very very very first “Lucy Van Pelt Award for Verbal and Political Continue reading...