A Post-Election Plea, To The Theatre And Its Artists

November 9th, 2016 § 15 comments § permalink

I wish that I could write a play, but I haven’t the talent. I wish that I could compose a musical score, but I haven’t the gift. I wish that I could dance, but I have neither the freedom in my body nor the discipline to train. I can sing, a bit, but only well enough to entertain myself on long car rides. So because of my deep admiration for the people who can do these things, because of how they uplift me, move me, teach me, I go to the theatre. On this post-election morning of November Continue reading...

Jeanine Tesori: “Press Against The Thing That Divides Us”

November 7th, 2016 § Comments Off on Jeanine Tesori: “Press Against The Thing That Divides Us” § permalink

On November 4, composer Jeanine Tesori was the keynote speaker at the fourth annual "Stage The Change: Theatre as a Social Voice" event, co-sponsored by the Tilles Center at Long Island University and the Happauge Public Schools. Below are some selections from Tesori’s talk and demonstration, inevitably with the musical sections removed, and with sections condensed and edited for clarity. This represents only a portion her presentation to well over 500 area high school students. What was most Continue reading...

Overwhelming Disruptors To Make A Joyful Noise at Juilliard

November 3rd, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

New York, NY, November 3, 2016 – Music students at The Juilliard School gave a well-received sunrise performance – “God Loves Jazz” – this morning on West 65th Street, on the eastern side of the entrance to the storied performing arts academy on the Lincoln Center campus. Their instrumentation included brass, wind and string performers. The Juilliard contingent was joined by students from the nearby La Guardia High School for Performing Arts, who added vocals to certain musical selections, Continue reading...

Questioning Fugard About “Master Harold,” 28 Years Later

October 31st, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

After its US debut at Yale Repertory Theatre in March 1982, and before it opened on Broadway in early May of that year, Athol Fugard’s MASTER HAROLD…and the boys played a one-week engagement at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia. During that brief run, one critic wrote of the play, in part: Fugard, who also directed the Yale Repertory Theater production, has fashioned a play of compactness and clarity. Running without intermission for a rapid one-and-three-quarter hours, the play manages Continue reading...

I Really Was a Teenage Singing Zombie

October 27th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Long after I stopped acting in school productions (which was November 1981 at the University of Pennsylvania, to be precise), my mother would periodically say how much she wished that my shows had been preserved on video, so she could see them again. It’s important to understand that my performances were in the pre-home video era, before every parent had a video camera to capture every precious moment, let alone a pocket-sized phone with a digital video camera within it. The idea of YouTube Continue reading...

Before Broadway’s “Falsettos,” Hartford Stage’s Changed Lives

October 21st, 2016 § 5 comments § permalink

When I speak about it with people who saw it, the phrase that comes up most often is, “It was life-changing.” When I speak about it with people who have read about it, but didn’t see it, the question that inevitably arises is, “What was the ‘coup de theatre’?” When I speak about it with people who knew nothing of it, they profess surprise that it existed. I’m speaking of the Hartford Stage production of March of the Falsettos & Falsettoland, the first time the two Continue reading...

In New Musical About Amputee, Faking Disability

October 13th, 2016 § 4 comments § permalink

If you look at photos or video from Marathon of Hope, a new musical that just premiered in Waterloo, Canada, about an hour outside Toronto, something seems off. The musical is based on the life story of Terry Fox, a young Canadian man who in 1980, after losing a leg to cancer, undertook a country-wide run to raise money for and bring attention to cancer research. He did not complete his effort, because his cancer metastasized to his lungs and he died in 1981. His life is the stuff of legend Continue reading...

When Deaf Voices Are Left Out Of “Tribes”

September 8th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

“Unfortunately, no deaf actors showed up to the auditions.” The statement above was made yesterday in a public statement to the Deaf and hard of hearing community by Leslie Charipar, artistic director of Theatre Cedar Rapids in Iowa. It was issued in response to complaints that Charipar has received from the Deaf community at large about the theatre’s upcoming production of Nina Raine’s Tribes, which TCR has cast with hearing actors in the roles of Billy, who is deaf, and Sylvia, a Continue reading...

Wells Fargo to Arts Kids: Abandon Your Dreams

September 3rd, 2016 § 3 comments § permalink

O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is-a comin’ down the street, and apparently it’s not interested in doing business with kids who aspire to the arts, their parents, their teachers, or arts organizations. In promotional materials for their Teen Day on September 17 (because after all what kid doesn’t wasn’t to take time on a weekend to spend time at the bank), Wells Fargo has mounted a campaign that seems overtly dismissive of careers in the arts. While both they and I acknowledge that young Continue reading...

Quiara Alegría Hudes (and Lin-Manuel Miranda) on Casting “In The Heights”

August 15th, 2016 § Comments Off on Quiara Alegría Hudes (and Lin-Manuel Miranda) on Casting “In The Heights” § permalink

The casting of the upcoming production of In The Heights at Porchlight Music Theatre in Chicago, in particular a non-Latinx actor in the leading role of Usnavi, has provoked a great deal of comment and controversy. On August 9, Victory Gardens Theatre hosted a public forum, “The Color Game: whitewashing Latinx stories,” which drew a full house and an even larger online audience to explore the issues of race, ethnicity, authenticity and representation provoked by the Porchlight casting and Continue reading...