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...

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 Is Being Taught About The Director-Playwright Relationship?

December 2nd, 2015 § 8 comments § permalink

I assume most people, either as a child heard, or as a parent deployed, the timeworn phrase, “If someone told you to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it?” My parents had a variant along the same lines: “Just because other people do it doesn’t make it right.” I am reminded of this phrase as it seems every week lately I hear about another instance of a theatre director altering a script or overriding an author’s clear intent; the recent run of examples has been with college-affiliated Continue reading...

Preparing For Anti-“Rent” Messages From Tennessee Pulpits

July 3rd, 2015 § 18 comments § permalink

If you are a musical theatre fan in general, and a Rent fan in particular, and you’re going to church in or around Tullahoma, Tennessee this Sunday, there’s a chance you may not like a bit of what you hear said from the pulpit. That’s because there’s an e-mail circulating among the area’s religious leaders alerting them about Jonathan Larson’s Rent, the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about young lives in the East Village of New York City a few decades ago. Some of the Continue reading...

Has There Been A Stage Outrage Overreaction at Arizona State?

April 24th, 2014 § 5 comments § permalink

[This post has been updated twice since it was originally published. I urge you to read it fully before drawing any conclusions.] Rent is at the center of an academic controversy again, with a few twists. This time, it’s not the whole show, it’s just one song, “La Vie Boheme.” It involves multiple high schools and a college simultaneously. The performance is over and done. But the song echoes. Here’s the gist, summarized from video and written reports from AZcentral.com: earlier Continue reading...

Season After Season After Seasons of Love

April 17th, 2014 § Comments Off on Season After Season After Seasons of Love § permalink

As I prepared to go to Trumbull CT last month to see the high school’s production of Rent, many people asked, or wrote me to ask, if I would be writing about it. My consistent reply, “I doubt it,” was met with surprise by one and all, who asked, ‘Why not?’ I had been very vocal in my support for the show when it was canceled back in the fall, and I know that I played some role in helping to turn the tide back in favor of the production, though it was the students and adults in the community Continue reading...

Obscuring The Better Angel of High School Theatre

March 11th, 2014 § 3 comments § permalink

Last year, the actor Taylor Mac played the title role in the Foundry Theatre’s acclaimed production of Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan. This tale of a downtrodden woman who secures power in ancient China by cross-dressing as a man gained in depth and complexity from having the male Mac portray the female character Shen Te, only to transform into the male Shui Ta. Gender identity layered upon a story of gender discrimination enhanced the play, which managed to deliver numerous messages Continue reading...

You Can’t Rewrite Your High School Musical

December 18th, 2013 § 23 comments § permalink

You’re not going to believe this. On Monday, Principal Marc Guarino of Trumbull High School in Connecticut reinstated the Thespian Troupe’s production of Rent, after three weeks of negotiation and outcry. On Tuesday, The Suffolk Times on Long Island published an interview with Southold Schools Superintendent David Gamberg in which he, acknowledging awareness of the Trumbull situation, proudly announced that Southold High School’s Drama Club would be producing the school edition of Rent Continue reading...

Bait & Switch On Trumbull RENT Solution?

December 11th, 2013 § 7 comments § permalink

Yesterday afternoon, Trumbull High School Principal Marc Guarino released a letter in which he announced the restoration of Rent to the school schedule, albeit with new dates. His letter was followed swiftly by a response from a group of Thespian troupe parents. Beyond my headline, I will allow these statements to stand on their own, except to say that in my experience, the Anti-Defamation League can move very swiftly when their services are required, and that I wish Mr. Guarino would speak personally Continue reading...

Tide Turning for RENT at Trumbull High?

December 10th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Report as of 9 am, Tuesday, December 10 Yesterday afternoon, in response to a caller on WICC Radio in Connecticut, host Jim Buchanan reached or was contacted by the First Selectman of Trumbull, Tim Herbst, regarding the situation regarding the production of Rent at Trumbull High School, which was announced as cancelled by school principal Marc Guarino on Monday, November 25 and reiterated, via a letter from Mr. Guarino that was read at a Board of Education meeting, on Tuesday, December 3.  The Continue reading...