Season After Season After Seasons of Love

April 17th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

As I prepared to go to Trumbull CT last month to see the high school’s production of Rent, many people asked, or wrote me to ask, if I would be writing about it. My consistent reply, “I doubt it,” was met with surprise by one and all, who asked, ‘Why not?’ I had been very vocal in my support for the show when it was canceled back in the fall, and I know that I played some role in helping to turn the tide back in favor of the production, though it was the students and adults in the community Continue reading...

The Broadway ‘Soul Train’ Hasn’t Left The Station

April 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Broadway dreams being immediately blown up into pending productions is something that really gets my goat. Why? Because it’s a case of hyperbole becoming ostensible fact in the press, and the only people it serves are those trying to make a nascent production into reality. When I last wrote about this phenomenon about nine months ago (it really makes me cranky), I suggested that it makes an argument for why paid professional arts journalism is so essential – to separate real news from puffery. Continue reading...

For Threatened High School “Sweeney,” Lessons In The Woods

April 3rd, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

I have just returned from a trip to Plaistow, New Hampshire, where I went to support students, parents, alumni and members of the community who wanted to speak out against the cancelation of a production of Sweeney Todd at Timberlane High School, announced for production a year ago, but scheduled for 2015. In the wake of the response to the cancelation, the school scheduled an open forum to hear from the community on the issue. This was an important and rare step, since each and every decision Continue reading...

Call To Action: Support “Sweeney” At Timberlane High

March 31st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Sweeney Todd at Timberland High in Plaistow NH seems to have a lot in common with the threatened but ultimately triumphant production of Rent this past weekend in Trumbull CT. A musical is announced months in advance and, after some time has passed, the administration, citing both a failure to follow a previously unknown approvals process and concerns over inappropriate content, cancels the production. In Trumbull, it was just weeks before auditions were to begin; in Plaistow it’s over a show in Continue reading...

How You Can Save Arts Journalism Starting Right Now

March 26th, 2014 § 8 comments § permalink

I am going to take it for granted that, since you’ve opted to read this article, you care about the arts. I’m also going to save time and typing by assuming that you appreciate media coverage of the arts and that you realize that without the attention of the media, it will be ever harder for the arts to share their news, their work and their value locally, nationally and internationally. Since we are agreed, I will proceed directly to my point. If you want to see intelligent, comprehensive Continue reading...

Obscuring The Better Angel of High School Theatre

March 11th, 2014 § 3 comments § permalink

Last year, the actor Taylor Mac played the title role in the Foundry Theatre’s acclaimed production of Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan. This tale of a downtrodden woman who secures power in ancient China by cross-dressing as a man gained in depth and complexity from having the male Mac portray the female character Shen Te, only to transform into the male Shui Ta. Gender identity layered upon a story of gender discrimination enhanced the play, which managed to deliver numerous messages Continue reading...

When A Theatre Review Condescends

March 3rd, 2014 § 33 comments § permalink

Fact: America’s newspapers are locked in a struggle for survival, fighting for financial stability and relevance at a time when money and attention increasingly focuses on online and video outlets. Fact: Philadelphia’s newspapers are locked in a singularly ugly battle for survival, because after several instances of ownership turnover in recent years, the Inquirer and Daily News are now owned by a partnership in which the partners are suing one another over control of the business. Fact: Continue reading...

Dramatists Legal Defense Fund To Honor Trumbull High’s Thespian Student Leader

February 13th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

I’m not given to posting press releases here and this isn’t the start of a trend, but I’m making an exception to insure this good news gets around. There’s nothing for me to say beyond what this press release from The Dramatists Guild already says so well. *   *   * First Annual “DLDF Defender Award” Goes to Connecticut High School Student The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund will present the first ever “DLDF Defender Award” to Larissa Mark, a high school senior from Trumbull, CT Continue reading...

For Randy, As He Heals

January 27th, 2014 § 9 comments § permalink

small RG ipad There’s nothing I can say. This inexplicable attack leaves me, and no doubt others, inarticulate. Hold Randy Gener in your heart as he recovers. Do what you can to support him in that recovery. Speak out against violence and hate whenever you’re able. Look at the handful of photos below as an insufficient record of a public expression of love for Randy, on behalf of all who were there and all who wish they could have been. From WCBS 2 News, "Cops Investigate Beating Of Journalist Randy Gener Continue reading...

The Complete Reduced Shakespeare Controversy (abridged)

January 26th, 2014 § 5 comments § permalink

This post has been updated, and a story that began as an account of censorship has become one of, dare I say it, resurrection. Here’s the tale. Three days ago, the town council of Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland shut down a planned engagement of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) on the grounds that it was sacrilegious and anti-Christian. In doing so, they overrode the prior decision by the town’s Artistic Council to allow the show to go forward Continue reading...