Under-The-Radar Transition at Women’s Project Theater

June 26th, 2014 § 12 comments § permalink

“Off record tip: Wondering if you've noticed that there's someone missing from the Women’s Project masthead on their website.” That’s the direct messaged tweet I received yesterday morning. Another one with essentially the same content, came in the early afternoon, from a separate individual. Of course, by that time, I’d already perused the Women’s Project Theater masthead. It was readily apparent what I was being led to discover. The name that was missing was that of Julie Crosby, Continue reading...

Should The Arts Pay For Arts Coverage?

June 25th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

The announcement that ArtsGreensboro, the service organization serving that North Carolina community, will be funding arts coverage in the Greensboro News & Record, is being portrayed as something akin to sponsorship of public radio programming. Writing in that newspaper, ArtsGreensboro President and CEO Thomas Philion writes: Inspired by arts supporters who understood these realities, ArtsGreensboro invited the News & Record to explore how we might work together to increase arts coverage, Continue reading...

Rebuilding “Hardbody” At A Houston Chop Shop

June 20th, 2014 § 85 comments § permalink

“First, let’s define what we mean by ‘changes’.” This statement came up not once but twice in my conversation with Bruce Lumpkin, artistic director of Houston’s Theatre Under The Stars and director of their current production of the musical Hands on a Hardbody. The comment arose when I asked Lumpkin specific questions about my communications with Hardbody creators Amanda Green and Doug Wright. Green, who attended the show’s opening at TUTS, detailed a fairly extensive list of Continue reading...

Into The Woods With Misplaced Outrage

June 19th, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

Based on the commentary I was seeing in online articles and social media comments yesterday, someone had just painted a mustache on the Mona Lisa. No one seemed to care that Da Vinci had decided to it himself. I’m referring to the outpouring of dismay over the news that some changes had been made to the storyline and score of Disney’s upcoming film of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. Mind you, no one has seen the film as of yet; the response resulted from a New Yorker “Talk of the Town” Continue reading...

Discovering Contemporary Plays With Very New Actors

June 16th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

As the cab pulled into the driveway, I got a glimpse of a sign propped against a telephone pole, starkly gray, black and white. On it were the typical details of any theatre production: the company, the dates and times, the title of the show, the website. Depicted was a single leafless tree, suggesting perhaps Waiting For Godot, or Spoon River Anthology, or maybe even a spooky Halloween attraction. I knew the show I was headed to was going to be a heavy one, so the foreboding promised by the sign Continue reading...

A Small Suggestion for U.S. Theatre Publicists

June 10th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I realize I’m writing this blog post for a very specific subset of readers, but after nine months of writing my “American Stages” column for London’s The Stage newspaper, I have a request of those cited in the title. Now mind you, I’m prepared to stipulate that many of you still may not be aware of the column, despite my own efforts and the efforts of the folks at The Stage to promote it. So if you’re reading this and thinking, “What ‘American Stages’ column?,” allow me to Continue reading...

When The Audience Bellows Louder Than Big Daddy

June 3rd, 2014 § 48 comments § permalink

"I got into a brawl one night in a saloon in Greenwich Village. Elia Kazan, a great director, saw me put out a couple of hecklers and figures there was some Big Daddy in me, just lyin' dormant. And out it came. ” --Burl Ives, the original Big Daddy First, to state what I hope would be obvious to anyone who bothers to read me, I believe that hate speech is vile. But in reading the accounts of what took place this past weekend at the Repertory East Playhouse in Santa Clarita, California, Continue reading...

Won’t Drink, Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me

May 29th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For some people, the words “interactive theatre” strike fear into their hearts, and they’ll do anything to avoid it. The prospect of being accosted by an actor, of having the spotlight turned on them, of potentially being embarrassed in front of others for the sake of everyone else’s amusement is something they equate with impromptu public speaking or a trip to the dentist. They certainly don’t want to pay for the opportunity to have this occur. I have no such fear. I gave in to Continue reading...

A Whispered Broadway Milestone No One’s Cheering

May 28th, 2014 § 21 comments § permalink

It’s a funny thing about milestones, the way certain thresholds get set in our minds. If you follow reporting on the movie industry, breaking the $100 million gross barrier is a major achievement (and for those of us in the arts, an astronomical figure), although its not always connected to the cost of the film under discussion. But that number has been a yardstick for years, once cause for double page ads in Variety whenever it was reached, regardless of whether the movie that achieved it was Continue reading...

Hey Broadway, Have You Got The Time?

May 22nd, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Broadway’s 7 pm curtain on Tuesdays was introduced more than 11 years ago. I thought it a somewhat more recent innovation, especially since I still regularly attend shows where audience members enter at about 7:50, usually far into the first act, looking embarrassed, angry or both. Of course, this curtain time is no longer limited to Tuesdays, as many shows also play on Thursdays at 7, and shorter shows that can still give their company an appropriate Continue reading...