Why A White Christmas (Eve) Is Nothing To Celebrate On “Avenue Q”

March 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

“In America, where we have diverse populations, even if you’re in a community theatre, I think it’s better to not do the show rather than do it in yellowface or blackface.” “The show” in question is Avenue Q, the 2004 Tony Award winning send-up of Sesame Street. The speaker is Robert Lopez, the co-conceiver, co-composer and co-lyricist (with Jeff Marx) of the musical; Lopez is also an award recipient for his work on Broadway’s The Book of Mormon and Disney’s film Frozen. Continue reading...

Dancing Towards Censorship in Oklahoma State University’s Theatre

March 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

When a student-devised piece of theatre begins as The Politics of Dancing, an examination of relationships springing from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, and is ultimately produced as This Title Has Been Censored, something is amiss. When a student production scheduled for multiple performances in a college theatre department’s mainstage season ends up as a single workshop performance with rudimentary tech given during a final exam period, something is strange. When an original work of theatre Continue reading...

Questionable Effort To Roll Back Time On “Vagina Monologues” in Florida

February 26th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Hearing the word ‘vagina' aloud before 1996, outside of a medical setting, was a bit startling. Encountering it in an article was likely to cause many readers more than a bit of surprise. Seeing it in newspaper ads, on posters or even on the sides of buses was seen as downright shocking. I remember it well. Thanks to Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking The Vagina Monologues in 1996, the perfectly accurate, non-slang term for women's genitalia became part of widely accepted conversation. The play Continue reading...

Silencing Theatrical Debate Over Israelis & Palestinians In North Miami

February 24th, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

If you’re not familiar with Julia Pascal’s 2003 play Crossing Jerusalem, that's because the play has only had two productions in the U.S. Or perhaps it is more correct to say that it has had one and a half productions, because the play’s second U.S. run, by J-CAT, the Cultural Arts Theatre at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami, a community theatre, was shut down by the JCC after giving only half of its scheduled performances. *   *   * The play takes place Continue reading...

Is a Play Of Plays Making Fair Use Of Other Playwrights’ Words?

February 6th, 2016 § 6 comments § permalink

There’s nothing quite like getting a cease and desist letter. It may be commonplace if you’re an attorney and you’re receiving a cease and desist claim on behalf of clients, but for artists and arts administrators, at least, there’s a particular chill that accompanies opening a letter (or e-mail) that informs you that if you plan to present, or are currently presenting, a work that the sender feels is in violation of their rights and you don’t stop right away, you’re going to Continue reading...

Peeking Inside The Wooster Group’s Off-Limits “Room”

February 3rd, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Let’s start with the basics: no one can possibly prevent critics from reviewing shows if they want to do. Whether it’s requested or even imposed by theatre company, a venue, a rights holder, or an author, members of the press – just like the public – can always buy a ticket to a theatrical production and express what they think. To actively prevent members of the press from entering a theatre is at least foolhardy if not potentially discriminatory; to prevent anyone from writing or broadcasting Continue reading...

Confronted By My Own Writing, Three Decades Later

January 30th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I am not given to reveries about bygone days or a review of my life choices on my birthdays. The same holds true for New Year’s eve and day. But just in time for my birthday this year, I was forced to look back on a small portion of my past, thanks to an archiving project undertaken by my college newspaper at the University of Pennsylvania. I suspect that many other alumni of The Daily Pennsylvanian are having this experience right now. It just so happens that its debut timed out just prior to Continue reading...

Testifying For And Against “Testament of Mary” Near Boston

January 26th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s a reflex action for those in the arts to recoil and get angry when creative work is described as “intolerable blasphemies.” But it’s probably worth giving a small shout out to the America Needs Fatima organization as they protest the production of Colm Toíbín’s The Testament of Mary at the New Repertory Theater in Watertown MA. Why? Because amidst repeated variations of “blasphemy,” “blasphemous” and “blasphemies” in their rhetoric, the group is careful to call for “respectful Continue reading...

Something Unpredictable With “American Idiot” In High School Theatre

January 25th, 2016 § 15 comments § permalink

"Welcome to a new kind of tension. All across the alienation. Where everything isn't meant to be okay." The details are very sketchy. The drama director hasn’t yet responded to a call or e-mail. The school principal said that he “wasn’t comfortable” talking about it without the approval of the superintendent, which he did say he would seek. The licensing house that handles the rights for the musical has not responded to an e-mail inquiry about approved changes (although the company’s Continue reading...

Resolutions, Via Theatre, For 2016

January 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

  At first, they were a few lunchtime tweets, which proved of little interest, it seemed. But when I collected a couple, and added a few more, for a Facebook post at 9:30 pm on New Year’s Eve, they seemed to resonate. And so, with little ado, my New Year’s resolutions by way of lyrics and dialogue from works of theatre, but no less heartfelt for being so. Talk less, smile more. Wake each morning to realize I have a good thing going. Never walk alone. Decide what’s right, Continue reading...