Who Thinks It’s OK To ‘Improve’ Playwrights’ Work?

January 22nd, 2014 § 43 comments § permalink

Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida is back in rehearsal with their production of Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come!, to restore the script as the fine Irish dramatist wrote it. Their production, which should have been in performance now, had eliminated characters and removed intermissions, among other “improvements.” Frankly, they’re lucky to even have a second shot at it. They could have lost the rights to the show altogether. Jay Handelman in the Herald Tribune reported Continue reading...

What Color Is Peter Pan?

January 21st, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

The issue, to me, is not whether Peter Pan is played by a man or a woman. The issue is whether Peter Pan has to be white. Perhaps I should back up. On Sunday afternoon, via tweets (and later articles) resulting from the semi-annual Television Critics Association press conferences in Los Angeles, NBC announced that the follow-up to their ratings hit The Sound of Music Live would be Peter Pan Live, utilizing the stage musical from the 50s which had already been performed live on NBC a half-century Continue reading...

Actual Acting Advice From Anonymous Authors

January 2nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The rise of internet culture has caused many shifts in how we consume information, with one of the more amusing side benefits being the rise of the fictional Twitter user. Disregarding spambots, the anonymity that comes so easily online has birthed such figures as @BronxZoosCobra and @ElBloombito, to name but two. In the theatre realm, the sunny cheerleading of @BroadwayGirlNYC has found adherents, but the sharper tongues (or typing) of @WestEndProducer and @Actor_Friend have launched them into real Continue reading...

You Can’t Rewrite Your High School Musical

December 18th, 2013 § 21 comments § permalink

You’re not going to believe this. On Monday, Principal Marc Guarino of Trumbull High School in Connecticut reinstated the Thespian Troupe’s production of Rent, after three weeks of negotiation and outcry. On Tuesday, The Suffolk Times on Long Island published an interview with Southold Schools Superintendent David Gamberg in which he, acknowledging awareness of the Trumbull situation, proudly announced that Southold High School’s Drama Club would be producing the school edition of Rent Continue reading...

Arts History Restored To Times Square

December 12th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

  Looking up and staring while walking around in Times Square sounds like the classic stance of a gawking tourist, but should you happen to be at the northeast corner of Forty-Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue, I suggest you take a few moments to do just that. At a time when every square inch of the area seems to be covered by video screens, the owners of the one-time I. Miller building have beautifully restored a rather unique feature of a bygone era. Gaze above ground level along Continue reading...

Bait & Switch On Trumbull RENT Solution?

December 11th, 2013 § 7 comments § permalink

Yesterday afternoon, Trumbull High School Principal Marc Guarino released a letter in which he announced the restoration of Rent to the school schedule, albeit with new dates. His letter was followed swiftly by a response from a group of Thespian troupe parents. Beyond my headline, I will allow these statements to stand on their own, except to say that in my experience, the Anti-Defamation League can move very swiftly when their services are required, and that I wish Mr. Guarino would speak personally Continue reading...

Tide Turning for RENT at Trumbull High?

December 10th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Report as of 9 am, Tuesday, December 10 Yesterday afternoon, in response to a caller on WICC Radio in Connecticut, host Jim Buchanan reached or was contacted by the First Selectman of Trumbull, Tim Herbst, regarding the situation regarding the production of Rent at Trumbull High School, which was announced as cancelled by school principal Marc Guarino on Monday, November 25 and reiterated, via a letter from Mr. Guarino that was read at a Board of Education meeting, on Tuesday, December 3.  The Continue reading...

RENT Ruckus Roils On In Connecticut

December 6th, 2013 § 5 comments § permalink

I had not intended to write again about the conflict over a planned production of Rent in Trumbull, but the story continues to grow. In the interest of brevity, this post will merely draw your attention to several other pieces written about the Trumbull High School Rent controversy, notably from the chairman of the Board of Education and from the town’s First Selectman. They bear directly on the controversy, and even offer a compromise solution. From Stephen P. Wright, Chairman of the Trumbull Continue reading...

How Not To Cancel Your High School Musical

December 4th, 2013 § 43 comments § permalink

In the immediate wake of announcing to the Trumbull High School Thespian Society that he was canceling the planned spring production of Rent, Principal Marc Guarino spent almost an hour talking to the students about his decision, speaking of “challenging issues” with the play and saying it wasn’t “the right time.”  These nebulous explanations didn’t seem to satisfy the students or many of their parents.  Two days later, the principal let it be known that he was going to have further Continue reading...

The Good, The Live And The Ugly of Theatre On TV

December 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Outside of the annual Tony Awards broadcast, theatre is not a subject frequently dealt with on national television. So the next six days might be one of the richest confluences of theatre-related programming in recent memory, with three separate programs with roots in the theatre coming through America’s cable boxes between now and Monday night. That said, I must immediately dash any expectations that the first of these programs in any way proves of benefit to theatre in America. Premiering Continue reading...