Keynote: School Theatre Can Be More

October 18th, 2017 § Comments Off on Keynote: School Theatre Can Be More § permalink

The Florida Association for Theatre Education invited me to be the keynote speaker at their annual conference, held in Orlando October 12-14, 2017. The text below represents an edited version of that address, which was written to be spoken, not read, so please forgive oratorical repetitions, some of which will have been minimized already. There were various ad libs during the course of the speech which, I'm afraid, have now escaped me. *    *    * At the risk of telling you things you know Continue reading...

‘Almost, Maine’ Asserts Itself In Hickory NC, Joining Past Precedents

January 21st, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

There were, in my estimation, many interesting people at the first performance of Almost, Maine in Hickory NC this past Thursday night. To begin with, there was the author, John Cariani, who had come out to support the production, something he can’t do very often given how frequently his show is produced around the country. There was Jack Thomas, who produced the New York City premiere of Almost, Maine a decade ago. There was the doctor who had helped to found OutRight Youth of Catawba Valley, Continue reading...

Of Censorship, Schools, Musicals & Authors’ Rights: My Top Posts of 2014

December 29th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Are these my “best” blog posts of 2014? I couldn’t say. All I know is that they’re my most read, from a year in which page views on my site more than doubled over 2013. Certainly 2014 was a year in which my writing found more focus, and whether the most-read posts bear out readers’ interest in that focus, or are simply a byproduct of a somewhat narrower range of subjects, I also don’t know. But if you’ve only discovered me part way through the year, or only read me sporadically, Continue reading...

Falling For “Almost, Maine” in North Carolina in January

December 19th, 2014 § Comments Off on Falling For “Almost, Maine” in North Carolina in January § permalink

Many of you already know the story of the Maiden High School production of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, shuttered by school officials this fall due to the content of a single scene in which two men discover that they love one another. The cancellation rightly got a great deal of attention, not least because Almost, Maine is the most popular new play done in high schools nationally, a widely accepted work that hit a wall in one North Carolina town due to the school administration caving in to 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...

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...

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...