Other Writing

 

The Stage: How many audiences have memorized a script?

September 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I am not a betting man, but if you are reading this column, I would wager that you’ve already listened to the Hamilton original cast recording. Yet given this publication’s UK reader base, and the relatively small number of people who have actually seen Hamilton in comparison to the number of albums sold, I’m also willing to bet that a great number of you haven’t yet seen the show. I raise this issue not to once again lionize or even analyze Hamilton, but rather to raise the fact that Continue reading...

The Stage: Ragtime on Ellis Island’s emotive power shows value of theatre beyond walls

August 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Walking through Covent Garden, I always imagine a site-specific production of My Fair Lady (or Pygmalion), with the opening scene played out on the very ground where it was first conceived to occur. This same flight of fancy has always held for me as well when I visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and dream of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin singing in the building where the musical 1776 is set and key moments in American history took place. So when I received a press release about a Continue reading...

The Stage: Does “Cats” have any of its nine lives left for Broadway revival?

July 29th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

In hindsight, the slogan 'now and forever' looks a bit less like marketing and a bit more like hubris. While it didn’t run forever, on the U.S. side of the Atlantic, the musical Cats maintains a formidable place in the annals of longest-running Broadway shows, surpassed only by The Lion King, the revival of Chicago and The Phantom of the Opera. While those latter three shows are all still chugging along, meaning they’re widening their lead over Cats, it’s going to take another four years Continue reading...

The Stage: Should Off-Broadway theatres pander to celebrity culture to sell tickets?

July 22nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Last week, The New York Times reported on a dispute between Theatre for a New Audience, one of the city’s major producers of classical theatre, and the acclaimed director Sam Gold. Gold had withdrawn from directing the company’s planned production of Hamlet, which was to star Oscar Isaac, the stage veteran and rising movie star. Gold cited artistic differences with TFANA’s leadership as the cause for the break, and the company’s artistic director was uncharacteristically public with Continue reading...

The Stage: Is the boom in musicals driving plays away from Broadway?

July 8th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

With Broadway’s seasonal winnowing of the herd well underway – only 29 shows running, with nine closing by the first weekend in September – it seems a good time to look back at what was, and what we know about what will be. What we know is that in the last Broadway season, only eight new plays opened on Broadway, and only one of them is still running, Stephen Karam’s The Humans. Based on productions with firm opening dates and theatres for the coming season, there are only three new Continue reading...

The Stage: A culture of abuse? Chicago’s Profiles Theatre shuts in wake of accusations

June 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The closure of a 50-seat theatre in Chicago, even one with a 28-year history of production, doesn’t typically become a topic of conversation nationally, let alone a subject for discussion internationally. But the shuttering of Profiles Theatre, announced by website and Facebook posts late on Tuesday evening, is a cautionary tale for anyone who makes theatre. Because Profiles Theatre didn’t shut its doors because of lost funding, dwindling attendance or poor management – the theatre is Continue reading...

The Stage: Greed isn’t the motivation for new $850 “Hamilton” tickets on Broadway

June 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

When it comes right down to it, the question isn't whether people will pay outrageous sums of money to see Hamilton. It is who will benefit most from these stratospheric prices. To be sure, 'Hamilton’s top ticket increases to $849' is an eye opener of a headline, but considering ongoing accounts of people paying upwards of $1,000 per ticket on the secondary market, what such headlines were really taking note of was that the show itself would now be getting more of that revenue, instead of Continue reading...

The Stage: Do Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple Circus need to freshen up their formats?

June 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I never wanted to run away and join the circus when I was a child. This is no doubt due to the fact that I never saw a circus live (I was aware of them through other cultural means) until I was 23 years old. The first circus I ever saw was the Big Apple Circus. The founders of BAC began as street performers in England in 1974, but within three years they created a circus that quickly became a New York fixture, with a commitment not simply to selling tickets, but to educating young people about Continue reading...

The Stage: Reconfiguring a theatre sometimes requires reconfiguring your budget

June 3rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Walking into most theatres, the experience is much the same. At one end of the space, ornate or otherwise, there is a box, which will contain the play you’re about to see. It may be open to view, it may be shielded by a curtain, but we know the box is there. Thrust stages and theatres in the round, while rarely curtained, have their defined footprint, and to a degree the audience becomes the box, surrounding the first setting of the play. Of course, environmental or immersive productions blow Continue reading...

The Stage: The forgotten shows that prove we need to protect theatre’s future

May 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The act of making theatre is of endless fascination to those who make theatre, which accounts for the litany of backstage plays and musicals going back to, at least, the mechanicals’ scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. By sheer coincidence, New York is home to two new entries in this genre, both focusing attention on actual productions from the 1920s, and in the process restoring currency to forgotten works. The more elaborate of the two shows is the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, Or Continue reading...