Cumberbatch vs. Jacobi: Breaking The Imitation Game Code

November 24th, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

As prestige movies open pell-mell in the next few weeks, and Oscar campaigns already underway blaze into full public awareness, one of the contenders will surely be The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. It tells the story of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who is widely credited with breaking the Nazi’s “Enigma” code and whose name is regularly invoked in discussions of artificial intelligence, specifically over how or whether we might one day create Continue reading...

The Irreconcilable Dissonance Between Cosby’s Comedy And His Alleged Crimes

November 20th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

A couple of years ago, in conversation with a childhood friend on Facebook, we began recalling the hours spent in my basement listening to the early comedy records of Bill Cosby. Suddenly, a business associate from my adult life joined in, demanding to know how we could reminisce about this, given the many allegations made against Cosby, and the one out-of-court settlement, regarding his sexual assaults on women. Because the dialogue was focused on fond memories, not Cosby himself per se, and because Continue reading...

Signs Of The Times At The Cafe Edison

November 8th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

When the news hit on Thursday, it flew around the New York theatre community as quickly as the unexpected closing of a Broadway show. The Cafe Edison on 47th Street is a fixture, one that opened in 1980, but seems as if it has been there much, much longer. From the moment people heard it was being evicted to make way for an upscale restaurant, mourning began (even though it will be around for another month or so), with theatre district denizens eulogizing it as one of the last vestiges of the Continue reading...

Senator Coburn Trolls The Arts With Annual P.R. Ploy

November 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

In the song “The Book Report” from the musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt struggles to complete her homework assignment: 100 words on Peter Rabbit. Falling short, she concludes it thusly: “And they were very very very very very very happy to be home. The very very very end.” In honor of this blatant effort to reach a designated threshold without utilizing meaningful content, I would like to present the very very very first “Lucy Van Pelt Award for Verbal and Political Continue reading...

How To Fail At Canceling The Most Popular Play in High School Theatre

October 21st, 2014 § 11 comments § permalink

Earlier this month, the administration at Maiden High School in Maiden, North Carolina tried to put a stop to the student production of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine. With permission slips in hand, the cast chosen and rehearsals just underway, the school announced the show was off. But it’s only off school grounds. The play will go on. *   *   * As first reported last week by WSOC TV in two reports [here and here], with additional reporting from Think Progress, Almost, Maine was shuttered Continue reading...

Not All Great Works Stay Great, In Text Or Performance

October 16th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

As headlines go, “A challenge for the arts: Stop sanitizing and show the great works as they were created” embodies what many of us were taught in school about the well-made essay: tell people what you’re going to tell them, offer support for your thesis, then tell them what you’ve told them. Unlike many instances where newspaper headlines misrepresent the content of the article that follows, I would say that Philip Kennicott’s article in The Washington Post on October 4th was accurately Continue reading...

Two Top Ten Lists Tell Tales Of Theatre Today

October 14th, 2014 § 5 comments § permalink

Aside from being the month of copious pumpkin flavored foodstuffs, October also brings two perennial theatrical top ten lists that are worthy of note: American Theatre magazine’s list of the most produced plays in Theatre Communications Group theatres for the coming season and Dramatics magazine’s lists of the most produced plays, musicals and one-acts in high school theatre for the prior year. They both say a great deal about the state of theatre in their respective spheres of production, both Continue reading...

Quiet Kryptonite Fells California High School Theatre Superheroines

October 8th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

A couple of weeks ago, yet another high school play was canceled over its content, this time at Santiago High School in Corona, California. Unlike the cases we often hear about, there was no press about the decision, no student protest, no faculty outcry. By the time I learned of it and communicated briefly on social media with a couple of students involved in the show, they were ready to just move on. The play was to have been performed in the latter part of this month. The play, Hearts Like Continue reading...

Disability And The Return Of “Freak”

September 26th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

I anticipate that this October will be the month of “freak,” and not because of Halloween. Though that won’t help. Because the media can’t resist trend stories, and any three or more items with a common link can constitute a trend, the confluence of the AMC series Freakshow; the new season of American Horror Story, entitled “Freak Show”; and the Broadway musical Side Show, with its opening number inviting audiences to “Come Look at the Freaks,” will prove irresistible. However, Continue reading...

In Pennsylvania, Director Is Fired Over School “Spamalot”

September 19th, 2014 § 146 comments § permalink

I am angry and I am sad. But I am not entirely surprised. Earlier this morning, Dawn Burch, drama director at South Williamsport Area Junior/Senior High School in Pennsylvania, was fired from her position. By e-mail. The reason given? “Job performance.” It doesn’t take a detective to figure out what’s really going on. At the beginning of July, Burch asserted that her musical choice for this school year, Spamalot, had been nixed by the school due to its gay content. School officials Continue reading...