Of Pleas, Pants, Race, Rights and Lin-Manuel: My Top Blog Posts of 2016

December 23rd, 2016 § Comments Off on Of Pleas, Pants, Race, Rights and Lin-Manuel: My Top Blog Posts of 2016 § permalink

In some ways, it might make more sense if I wrote this post about some of my least-read pieces of 2016, because I value almost everything I write equally and never quite know why some get widely read and others just seem to be of only marginal interest to others. I of course prefer to blame social media and its vagaries, but in some cases it might be the photos I chose, the headline I drafted or the relative idiosyncrasy of the subject. Because this year was the first during which I was writing Continue reading...

At An NYC Bat Mitzvah, “Hamilton” Becomes A Hymn

November 11th, 2016 § 3 comments § permalink

How to describe how I’ve felt this week? In approximate order: anxious, worried, heartsick, afraid, resolved, exhausted, embraced. But it wasn’t until this morning that I felt something that made me break into a wide grin, while sitting alone in an office watching YouTube. It is well known by now that I am a Hamilton partisan, and exist unofficially at the fringes of show’s orbit due to my near-obsessive recordings of the outdoor #Ham4Ham shows. As a result, people constantly share articles 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...

Lin-Manuel Miranda: “Life’s a gift, it’s not to be taken for granted”

July 8th, 2016 § 5 comments § permalink

“I knew y’all would come. It’s the rest of the world I couldn’t have anticipated.” That was what Lin-Manuel Miranda admitted about his extraordinary recent success with the musical Hamilton to some 200 high school drama teachers in a session on July 7, just two days before he was to leave the cast of the show. He was speaking at the Broadway Teachers Workshop, an annual summer program for theatre teachers from around the country, in a wide-ranging discussion that took him from elementary Continue reading...

Daveed Diggs Of ‘Hamilton’ Is Your Favorite Toy Tiger

April 26th, 2016 § Comments Off on Daveed Diggs Of ‘Hamilton’ Is Your Favorite Toy Tiger § permalink

Years from now, newer converts to Hamilton fandom will marvel at how Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail assembled such a notable cast. It will be viewed like Rent, like American Graffiti, a remarkable gathering of young talent that’s a tribute to those who managed to bring them together, including the casting team at Telsey + Company. It’s not that the Hamilton cast was entirely unknown, to be sure, but the acclaim for the project raised the public’s awareness of each and every one of them, Continue reading...

Resolutions, Via Theatre, For 2016

January 2nd, 2016 § Comments Off on Resolutions, Via Theatre, For 2016 § permalink

  At first, they were a few lunchtime tweets, which proved of little interest, it seemed. But when I collected a couple, and added a few more, for a Facebook post at 9:30 pm on New Year’s Eve, they seemed to resonate. And so, with little ado, my New Year’s resolutions by way of lyrics and dialogue from works of theatre, but no less heartfelt for being so. Talk less, smile more. Wake each morning to realize I have a good thing going. Never walk alone. Decide what’s right, Continue reading...

Of Race, Ethics, Education and Rights: My Top Posts of 2015

December 22nd, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

I honestly wish I could figure out what makes one blog post a roaring success, and another a blip on the radar. Certainly the topic under discussion has some impact, but readership seems just as likely to be affected by the title, a photo, the Facebook algorithm, the timing of a tweet, what else is happening in the world, and so on. In short, I have no idea. In looking over my most-read posts of 2015, I do know which ones took a great deal of research and time, and which were dashed off in Continue reading...

What’s My Deal With All The “Hamilton” Videos?

December 21st, 2015 § 3 comments § permalink

If you’re a dedicated fan of the musical Hamilton, or if you follow me on social media, you may well have come across the streetside #Ham4Ham show videos I’ve been sharing since late July. As I write, they’ve collectively been viewed on YouTube about 890,000 times – and that doesn’t include views of the same videos that have been uploaded directly to Facebook. So without doing a careful count, I can truthfully say the videos have been seen over 1.1 million times. As a result, I have Continue reading...

What Does “Hamilton” Tell Us About Race In Casting?

December 3rd, 2015 § 23 comments § permalink

In the wake of the recent casting controversies over Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop and Lloyd Suh’s Jesus in India, there have been a number of online commenters who have cited Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton as a justification for their position in the debate. What’s intriguing is that Hamilton has been offered up both as evidence of why actors of color must have the opportunity to play both characters or color and characters not necessarily written as characters of color – but Continue reading...

The Generous Audience Engagement of Lin-Manuel Miranda

August 5th, 2015 § 14 comments § permalink

It is not my habit to offer my opinion about current productions, and I tend to even avoid doing so retrospectively. But I do want to briefly discuss the shows I’ve seen over the past week or so, because they’re never the same each night, because they’re exceptionally brief, and because they’re free. I’m referring to the “Ham4Ham Show,” the two to three minute bits of entertainment offered up outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre at the ticket lottery two hours before each preview of Continue reading...