Preparing For Anti-“Rent” Messages From Tennessee Pulpits

July 3rd, 2015 § 12 comments § permalink

If you are a musical theatre fan in general, and a Rent fan in particular, and you’re going to church in or around Tullahoma, Tennessee this Sunday, there’s a chance you may not like a bit of what you hear said from the pulpit. That’s because there’s an e-mail circulating among the area’s religious leaders alerting them about Jonathan Larson’s Rent, the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about young lives in the East Village of New York City a few decades ago. Some of the Continue reading...

In The UK and US, Bias Infects Theatre Reviews

June 22nd, 2015 § 11 comments § permalink

“You can’t draw sweet water from a foul well,” critic Brooks Atkinson wrote of his initial reaction to the musical Pal Joey. I don’t know whether Christopher Hart of The Sunday Times in London knows this famous quote, but it certainly seems to summarize his approach to reviewing the London premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Motherfucker With The Hat, which one can safely say is light years more profane than the Rodgers and Hart musical. “A desperately boring play,” “an Continue reading...

If The Arts Were Reported Like Sports

June 9th, 2015 § 8 comments § permalink

If you’re like me, someone deeply committed to the arts – in practice, in education, in media coverage, in every aspect of life – you’ve probably had the same fantasy I’ve had over the years. What, I often wonder, would the scenario for the arts be like if they had the same attention and resources as those afforded to sports, especially in high schools and colleges? That scenario can be played out with serious thought, especially as we watch school arts programs being cut – just last Continue reading...

You’d Like Your Show Reviewed? $150 Please

June 5th, 2015 § 15 comments § permalink

‘You give us $150 dollars and we’ll review your show.’ It sounds like a bizarro-world version of ‘You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world.’ But that is, boiled to its essence, what the Los Angeles theatre website Bitter Lemons has just proposed to the southern California theatre community. Citing the general reduction in theatre reviews both nationally and locally, the site has laid out a plan whereby theatres (or individuals) can pay $150 and be assured of a review of at Continue reading...

Etcetera: David Letterman & Warren Zevon

May 20th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I can’t compete with the literally hundreds of online tributes that are proliferating in advance of David Letterman’s final show this evening, except to say that I’ve been watching him since he debuted on NBC and now expect I will be getting to sleep even earlier, albeit less happily, after tonight’s show. For the last several weeks, there has been a parade of frequent and favorite Letterman guests returning to the program for one last visit, but there’s one Letterman regular who won’t Continue reading...

Looking Closely At The Cancellation Of An Anti-Censorship Event

May 19th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

The story practically writes itself: fundraiser for anti-censorship group gets censored. Ironic headline, attention-grabbing tweet, you name it. That’s exactly what appears to have happened in the past few days as the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture’s decision to cancel a rental contract with the theatre group Planet Connections Theatre Festivity has been made public. Planet Connections was producing a one-night event, “Playwrights for a Cause,” on the subject of censorship, which would Continue reading...

We Don’t Need No Stinking Quotes!

May 7th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

“You know, if we all agreed to stop putting critics’ quotes in our ads, they’d lose their power over us, and we could just sell our shows on what we think is best about them.” I will confess to having made that statement, or something along those lines, more than once when I was the public relations director at Hartford Stage. Thinking back on it now, I can attribute it to a) youth, b) feistiness and c) naïveté. Remember, of course, that this was the pre-internet era, when reviews didn’t Continue reading...

Student-Written Plays Overcome Obstacles At Colorado High School

May 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

When it was all said and done, three student-written short plays, part of an evening of playlets, monologues and songs, went on as scheduled at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado. But in the 10 days leading up to that performance, the students claim they were told the plays and one student-written monologue were canceled. The students successfully garnered the attention of a local TV station, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the Arts Integrity Initiative at the New School Continue reading...

Dropping and Dodging F-Bombs at the Florida Thespian Festival

April 15th, 2015 § 10 comments § permalink

A theatre scene performed al fresco on a spring Florida evening sounds idyllic. But when Tomas Roldan and Matthew Ferro, juniors at New World School of the Arts High School, took their award-winning scene from Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot to a plaza outside the Florida State Thespian Festival in Tampa on March 28, they weren’t doing so seeking charm or fresh air. They made the performance choice as a third option after being given two official choices by festival Continue reading...

David Adjmi’s ‘3C’ Freed From Legal Purgatory

March 31st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

After nearly three years during which playwright David Adjmi was prevented from authorizing any productions of, or the publication of, his play 3C, a dark parody of Three’s Company, he has emerged as the victor in his legal battle with DLT Entertainment, which sought to silence the play, charging copyright infringement. Adjmi's assertion of fair use was confirmed in the judgment. Quoting from the ruling by Judge Loretta A. Preska, Chief United States District Court Judge in the Southern Continue reading...