Well, we had another long dry spell, but hopefully the explosion of links herein will make it all worth it. My offer still stands for a guest blogger or poster to help with this. We’d love it! (After all, this post topped 10,400 words.)
At 2am Theatre, Dennis Baker suggests why theater should be like a bookstore. I’m up for that. I mean, I’m seriously up for that. Tell me when and where, I’m there. Provided there are still bookstores, of course. (Which reminds me that here in Queens, New York — well, just read this story and you tell me if you’re not totally depressed. Fortunately, the one indie bookstore in Astoria is five blocks from where I live. Should they put a black-box theater there?)
At 99 Seats, J. Holtham kept the debate up about the ever-problematic play-development process, offered some comments on Megan McArdle’s comments about healthcare in the Atlantic, re-exposed the stupidity of the Republican demographic, agrees with Garrett Eisler at the Playgoer about the inherent disadvantage of live theater in the marketplace (though I’d opine there’s a fundamental mis-assumption there in the first place), comments on David Mamet’s 2005 memo to the writers of The Unit, covers the flash-mobs that occurred during World Theatre Day, titillates with the idea that the Public Theater could make all tickets free (I’ll believe it when I see it) and actually disagrees with a certain other blogger, causing the magnetism at the poles to shift.
At A Poor Player, Tom Loughlin distinguishes himself from Scott Walters’ unceasingly hysterical disgust with the odd and false “Nylachi” construct by explaining, “What I am against is the mindset (Scott uses the term ideology) that has been created around Nylachi, and in particular, how that mindset affects young students studying theatre, and how much waste that mindset creates in our national theatre scene.” (But how one person, any one person, can speak for tens of thousands of people is beyond me — rather like Republicans on Fox talking about “what most Americans” think and feel and believe — it’s a colossal assertion of fact where facts are lacking.) Also, Tom goes on spring break, and pens a terrific post about “speaking the mysteries” of acting.
At Adam Szymkowicz’s blog, Adam Szymkowicz adds to his extraordinary series of Q&As with contemporary and emerging American playwrights. These include Laura Jacqmin, Craig Wright, Michael Lew, Sharr White, Gabriel Jason Dean, Alena Smith, Terence Anthony, Ed Cardona, Jr., Richard Martin Hirsch, Lauren Yee, Julie Marie Myatt, Francine Volpe, Derek Ahonen, Kirsten Greenidge, Paul Mullin, Kathryn Walat, Vincent Delaney, Stacey Luftig, Amy Herzog, Craig “muMs” Grant, Courtney Baron, Emily Schwend, Jerrod Bogard and Aaron Carter.
At Adaumbelle’s Quest, Adam Rothenberg’s most recent interviews include Julie Rieber, Ryan Scott Oliver, Chris Hardwick, James Monroe Iglehart, Jo Dee Messina, Gina Green, Morgan Karr, Nancy Anderson, Autumn Hurlbert, Tino Coury, LaQuet Sharnell, Bryan White, Linda Eder, Bridie Carroll and Christine Pedi.
At Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment, Sarah B. covers Sondheim on Sondheim in Vanity Fair, Kate Baldwin at Birdland, lots and lots of Sondheim celebrating, the New York Pops’ St. Patrick’s Day concert, the first-ever Paris production of A Little Night Music, The Grapes of Wrath at Carnegie Hall, the glorious interior of the Mark Hellinger Theatre (I saw the flop musical Grind there in 1985), All About Me on Broadway, Hamlet at the Metropolitan Opera and Lend Me a Tenor on Broadway.
At the African-American Playwrights Exchange, there are tons of great posts: on playwright Calvin Ramsey and the banning of a play of his last year; Roland McCants’ The Peacock Men, Red Harlem Readers; a play called Getting On Oprah; Michael Bobbitt’s Bingo Long; Danny Mullen’s A Tuff Shuffle; an announcement that more than 200 playwrights are now part of AAPEX; a call for Blaxploitation scripts; Stephanie Berry’s The Last Fall; Ted Lange’s Let Freedom Ring; Mary McCallum’s The “D” Word; a celebration of Woodie King, Jr.; the 2010 Genesis Festival; Herb Newsome’s Revenge of a King; Sean O’Leary’s Value-Mart; an interview with actor Dave Chattam; a call for papers for the Black Theatre Network’s 24th annual conference; an interview with Richard Gaffield of Red Harlem Readers; Jamuna Yvette Sirker’s Hell and High Water; Bernardo Solano’s Langston & Nicolas; C.V. Rhodes’ Grandmothers, Incorporated; Mwalim’s Knock and It Shall Open; Garlia C. Jones’ Stranger in my Body; Denise Flemmings’ Winterkill;
At Americans for the Arts’ Artsblog, there is always tremendous discussion going on — much of it tackling issues that the mainstream media ought to look at and far too rarely does. In the last month, these include: a piece on arts education and racism; where corporate philanthropy is on semi-permanent life-support; the commonality between Salzburg and The Hurt Locker; Betsy Loikow’s thoughts on dance education; Anne Katz’s tale of the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts; Jeff Hawthorne’s 39 steps to build more “private sector engagement” with the arts in Portland; Stephanie Evans’ views on supervising staff; Brian Reich’s piece on Social Media 101; Michael R. Gagliardo’s five points about music education, courtesy of the American String Teachers’ Association; Brian Reich’s piece on Social Media 102; John Cloys’ tools (and there are lots of them) for tracking your social media efforts; Brian Reich’s piece on Social Media 103; Tiffany Bradley’s new methods for marketing the arts; Joshua Russell’s argument that “emerging leaders are the key to attracting new audiences”; Michael Bigley’s thoughts on job hunting and job maintenance; Marc Vogl’s idea that we need to keep good talent in the nonprofit arts world; Katherine Denny’s powerful exhortation that we should be rethinking arts funding; Ebony McKinney’s positing what constitutes “The New Normal”; Cora Mirikitani’s observations that next-generation arts leaders are “creative entrepreneurs”; Sheila Womble’s notable aim to “unscramble arts and education”; Marc Vogl’s imagination of what “seder can teach us about arts leadership”; Merryl Goldberg’s exploration of arts and bullying (I’m unconvinced, sorry); Cori Mirikitani’s look at the Creative Capacity Fund; Ian David Moss’ fun, if SAT-style conceptual ratio: “A boss is to an emerging leader as a funder is to a grantee”; an exhortation to tweet on National Arts Advocacy Day on Tues., Apr. 13; Joshua Russell idea to build a “farm system” for the arts; Michael R. Gagliardo’s ideas for influencing local, state and national policy; Rosetta Thurman’s assertion that leadership is a verb, not a noun; Letitia Fernandez Ivins’ view that cross-disciplinary offers positives and negatives in terms of arts and jobs; Katherine Denny’s notion that if you want to be an executive director, start your own organization; and Selena Juneau-Vogel’s concern that interns at nonprofits are brutally taken advantage of (this is a revelation?).
At An Angry White Guy in Chicago, the angry Don Hall is angry that the idiots on the Texas School Board decided President Jefferson was too — what’s the word? controversial? rational? thoughtful? intelligent? progressive? — to stay in the schoolbooks used by state students. Funny, I didn’t know Texas students used schoolbooks at all. I thought they were taught to shoot guns, especially when pointed at minorities, and that was it. Note to Gov. Perry: go off and secede you idiot SOB. Meanwhile, he celebrates five years of blogging; reviewed Strawdog Theatre Company’s revival of Uncle Vanya; reviewed Charley Sherman’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty novel Legion, produced by Wildclaw Theatre Company; reproaches the arguable fallacy that we must “reframe theater to make it more saleable to the uninitiated audience”; reviews Simon Stephens’ Harper Regan; considers the concept of “theatrical reinvention”: “What if your company remounted shows it premiered when you started it?” (New York’s Boomerang Theatre Company is doing something just like that right now); reviews Redtwist Theatre’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman; offers a mixed reaction to the Ford Foundation’s announcement of giving $100 million toward sustaining arts spaces (and he is right — the collective orgasm in the blogosphere is lopsided, solipsistic and pathetic); and adds his thoughts on the question of immersion theater and how far it can go, pivoting off of a piece in the Guardian.
At Artistic Discourse, Zack Hayhurst offers highlights from the 2010 Arts Education Partnership Conference — and his observations are short, to the point and highly readable. Check it out.
At Arts Marketing, Chad M. Bauman offers his take on the truth about how to attract young audiences. I very much like what Bauman says, which is why we here at the CFR follow him, but I do wonder: with so many people having so many ideas about what attracts young audiences, how can they all be right? Meanwhile, Bauman collects a great list of worst practices, including:
Always give the exclusive to your best customers.
When hiring, a fire in the belly trumps experience.
If you don’t have the support of artistic staff, don’t consider launching a blog.
All that glitters isn’t gold — especially with technology.
Small cuts can negate million dollar advertising plans.
Read more of that post for details. Then there is the start of a series on the biggest marketing challenges facing the arts in the next 10 years (no offense, Chad, but the list of guest bloggers could have been more out-of-the-box, wouldn’t you say? what is it always the same voices with the same banal, cloyingly nonspecific mantras?), and part II of the series is already up.
At Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Gary Steuer, chief cultural officer for Philadelphia and director of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, adds his own personal view on the visit of Rocco Landesman, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, to the city of Brotherly Love, the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia’s annual awards luncheon; some musings on the film The Art of the Steal; thoughts on a new study on arts education called Doing Well and Doing Good By Doing Art; the details of the Creative Industry Workforce Grants, which were announced by Mayor Nutter; the announcement of a new partnership between the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Ovation and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance “to make $500,000 of donated media available to promote Philadelphia’s cultural assets”; and an announcement that the mayor of Philadelphia will also be testifying to Congress on Arts Advocacy Day.
At Artsopolis, Princess has been busying blogging and pasting. Check it out!
At Artsy Schmartsy, Jonathan West gets out of one heck of a hairy situation:
My dear Jon also explains why he wasn’t blogging for a time; offers some limericks (not those kinds, people); shocks me to the core by announcing that his theater company, Bialystock and Bloom, is coming back (YAY!!!); offers some very fun production shots to remind everyone of what his company used to produce; and basically reminds me that if the world of theater people ever came down to one or two, Jonathan West would have to be one or two. We love ya, man. Always.
At Between Productions, Robert Cashill rants — and rightly so — about 3D surcharges at movies; talks about the BAM mini-quite-a-retrospective of Montgomery Clift movies; talks about Christopher Walken returning to Broadway in A Behanding in Spokane; laments the end of Sneak Previews (but really, it was time, no?); consider the perennially talent-challenged Ben Stiller in Greenberg; and reports on Film Forum’s screenings of films about newspapers and journalism.
At Blogging by Arwen, Arwen Lowbridge posts a guide to online publicity (that reminds me of what Karen Greco is up to these days); offers 10 tactics for info-activism (my colleagues at the League of Independent Theater might want to peruse this one); and updated everyone on a series of workshops coming up downtown.
At Blogging by Numbers, Corinne Furness and Charlie Whitworth, founders of a niftily described “writing theater company,” recommend that everyone read a new manifesto. A manifesto on what? Got to read the post to find out.
At Blogomatopoeia, Karl Miller takes aim at that crackhead of conservative-ideology, Charles Krauthammer, who hammers away at the success of the Obama Administration on healthcare reform, and fires until we’re all positively just Krauthammered.
At Blue Avocado, there is a great “jargon watch,” including such terms as “mouse-click activism,” “greenwashing” and “diversity pimp”; Rick Cohen outlines some of the ways in which cash-strapped local governments are wringing every last dollar out of nonprofits (another testimonial to the dysfunctional of the nonprofit business model); Dennis Walsh discusses the responsibilities of treasurers of all-volunteer organizations; Jan Masaoka wonders who polices boards if it is boards who are supposed to do the policing; Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer explains why knitting makes her a better executive director at Queens Council on the Arts (she’d be even better if she actually responded to professional emails like a professional); Pamela Fyfe frets about Facebook; and Ellis Robinson outlines eight mistakes made when it comes to membership.
At the Brennan Center for Justice, there is a great question we should be asking our elected representative, since the five radical-right members of the Supreme Court have ruled, via Citizens United vs. F.E.C., that corporations are the same thing as people, thus rendering them beyond hope, salvation or sanity: If CEOs now have the right to spend as they wish on campaign races, what responsibility do they owe to their shareholders? (None, probably, if you ask the anti-First Amendment Ur-Bork, Antonin Scalia.) Indeed, a bill currently in Congress could address all of this. Meantime, work continues on the Democracy Restoration Act, which might re-enfranchise millions of voters; there is commentary on the grotesque sideshow known as the New York State legislature (and how “member items” are unfair distributed); there is agreement with Karl Rove, of all animals, regarding local elections and their affect upon the redistricting process; a great think piece on what Justice Brennan would think of Citizens United vs. F.E.C.; another savage take-down of judicial elections (this time reflecting on a horrid record currently held by the state of Illinois); and the New York State Senate, by golly, is starting to think innovatively as well as constructively about the budget of the Empire State.
At Broadway and Me, the popular Jan offers thoughts on various shows — and there are plenty of comments, too.
At Broadway Abridged, Gil Varod presents a guest blogger’s script for the musical version of 101 Dalmations (it’s enough to make you see spots); delivers the funniest caption for a photograph involving Stephen Sondheim in 30 years; a parody of the script for Broadway’s All About Me (better than the one that existed, alas); and forces everyone to ask the vital question: “Who is Michael Codron?” (kidding).
At Broadway Mouth, the anonymous blogger hasn’t posted since January. No more mouth?
At Butts in the Seats, there was talk about trash talking about the arts — sort of, not really, sort of, not really — and some talk about the Senate jobs bill vis a vis independent contracting. There’s also talk about Americans for the Arts’ blog talk about green-papers; debate about the efficacy of arts administrator residencies; more talk about Alex Ross’ now-legendary piece on applause suppression; a fine question posed about auditing nonprofit arts groups; interesting commentary regarding whether human beings are predisposed to dancing; more on the idea that the onus of marketing is on everyone (too facile?); a report on a report about ticketing software; and more ideas on leadership and how it is to be constituted. Let me add: it isn’t constituted by the insular navel-gazing of hiring managers, that’s for sure.
At the Carnegie Council, there is a great question: Will the nine billion people on earth have enough water in 2050?
At Community Perspectives: Riffing with John Clinton Eisner, there is this month’s guest essayist: Colin Greer.
At Createquity, Ian David Moss had previously opined at length on why economists don’t care about poor people, at at which point two other writers critiqued his critique with a more-than-critical eye, thus impelling Moss to respond at length with a critique of their critique of his critique. There is an extensive blog post, cross-posted over at Moss’ new job at Fractured Atlas, regarding the event Connecting New England’s Creative Communities, co-hosted by the New England Foundation for the Arts and the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism. There was also late-March live-blog coverage of the National Council of the Arts meeting (gosh, what a comfy-cozy job flitting from meeting to meeting while the plebians continue to starve); another very lengthy but fascinating piece examining five examples of generosity (here’s a sixth: arts-service organizations who look outside the usual coven of 12-year-olds for great social-media strategies); more guest blogging for Americans for the Arts (I refer my right honorable friend to the comfy-cozy comment made some moments ago); and an update on new blogs that confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that Scott Walters is responsible for the depletion of oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere and, one fears, a general dulling of the senses that the academy has injected like morphine into the detritus of the American mind. And, finally, there is this excellent disquisition on unpaid internships:
First, we should make a distinction between internships and “working for free.” There is a name for working for free; it’s called volunteering. Volunteering is done with the understanding that the volunteer is doing it for the good of the cause; the volunteer’s reward is the good he or she is doing for the community or the world through his or her work. An internship, on the other hand, is explicitly supposed to be an educational experience. In this context, whether or not the internship is paid is of secondary importance; what really matters is the nature of the internship, and whether it really is educational or is just an excuse for the hiring organization to unload some undesirable tasks on an unwitting subject. Hence the government’s six rules to define what an internship is. As such, the real issue is truth in advertising; if the internship is unpaid, it only codifies the fact that the experience had better be valuable to the intern in other ways in order for it to qualify for the title of internship.
All true. And the whole idea that certain other bloggers are suddenly in a lather at the way certain arts organizations take these definitions and turn them on their head because they’re too poor to add headcount only underscores how utterly reactive these certain bloggers really are. Where were they all these years when all these interns were being hired by all these nonprofit arts companies? With their heads up their socially conscious asses? At least Moss is sane enough to provide some definitions of terms, not fulminating out the tenured and/or trust-funded aspects of their anatomies.
At the Critical Condition, Mark Blankenship is making a documentary in Iceland (kudos to the blogosphere for a true easing off of bad Bjork jokes), but guest poster Doug Strassler is keep up content and appearances, and really has it in for spoilers. We would tell you what else the post says, but, you know, that would be a spoiler. Strassler also pens a paean to Pretty Woman, although I would spoil things by suggesting that Family Guy pretty much nailed it:
Then there’s the volcano that exploded in Iceland, but Blankenship got through it without nearly as much volcanic rimming and lava flow as one might have (feared? expected?), which is itself something of a spoiler (sorry, Doug!). And then there’s a serious project that I, frankly, totally heart: ranking Madonna’s singles. Yeah! No, seriously, I’m all about my girl Madge, even though I hate the name Madge for her and I don’t think it works. Anyway, here’s one post. These are her singles, ranked by Blankenship, numbers 55 through 41. These are Madonna’s singles, numbers 40 to 31. Here are numbers 30 to 21. Here are numbers 20 through 11. Here are numbers 10 through 1. Yes, Virginia, “Like a Prayer” was number 1. And Dan Quayle spelled potato once with an “e.” Moving on, there is a very, very fine piece on the issue of product placement (specifically at ABC) — and frankly, it’s one of the better pieces Blankenship has written in some time, good for him. Strassler asks whether critics matter (of course they do, except when they don’t); and here is the reply that Blankenship wrote (and the answer is still: of course they do, except when they don’t). Finally, there is the post about Michele Pfeiffer, but I won’t write about it. Spoilers, you know!
At CultureBot, there is information on the EdLab Digital Art Residency, a call for proposals for the 101010 Upstage Festival, a review of Marielle Heller’s Diary of a Teenage Girl (the CFR’s interview with Heller is here); an interview with the Octopus Project; a review of Faye Driscoll’s There Is So Much Mad In Me at Dance Theatre Workshop; a review of the amazing Jay Scheib’s Bellona at the Kitchen; an interview with Pavel Zustiak; news of New Georges’ $90,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation; a report from the opening of Dixon Place; and news of Elevator Repair Service’s spring benefit on May 3.
At CultureFuture, the transparency of our government (or helter-skelter inconsistency therein) is at hand, and oh, what a hand, courtesy of the CIA, it is. Speaking of transparency, one wonders why there wasn’t commentary to go with the link to Mayor Michael Bloomberg “shaking up” his philanthropic third arm (too transparent?); but there is a great deal of accuracy, at least, when it comes to reacting to CNN shaking itself up, and how to or not to do so. There is also a well-done meditation on anger (black hat tip to Don Hall); a review of The Devil and Thomas Briggs; and more chatter about internships, complete with links to colossally over-privileged white people getting all self-righteous over stuff I don’t think they’d be getting all self-righteous about if other people hadn’t written about it first; and three reasons why George Takai is a hero. Also, there is this post on criticism, which speaks for itself.
At Daily Plays, Kristen Palmer continues reading — of late, Craig Wright’s The Pavilion; Neena Berber’s The Dew Point; Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Good Boys and True; Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home (A Puppet Play with Actors); Ellen McLaughlin’s Kissing the Floor; and Adam Bock’s The Typographer’s Dream.
At DavidMixner.com, David Mixner asks whatever happened to Silence = Death, and I share his fright and bizarre fascination with the idea of a post-AIDS world when a post-AIDS world still doesn’t actually exist; and notes with pride that Theresa Sparks could become the highest elected transgender person in the United States. There is, additionally, a now-obligatory piece asking where law enforcement was regarding the sexual molestation of young people by priests in the Catholic Church (law enforcement? are you serious?) and, just to be on another topic for awhile, a variation on the architectural cantilever in Lithuania. (Saw that coming, right?) The dangers of the ridiculous radical right in — get ready — Europe is also discussed; the West Virginia mine disaster is proclaimed as “murder” (but the wacky people of West Virginia will keep voting Republican for president, so let’em die); and there is the remembrance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
At D.C. Theatre Scene, the ongoing tsunami of reviews includes The Last Five Years at Limelight Theatre and Master Class at the Kennedy Center. There is also Synetic Theater’s announcement that it will move to Arena Stage’s stage in Crystal City, Virginia and a report from the Helen Hayes Awards after-party. Also, Richard Seff reviews three shows on Broadway (Come Fly Away, Next Fall and Lend Me a Tenor) and a separate review of Synetic Theater’s production of Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
At Dilettante, the wonderful wavelength of monologuist Mike Daisey is a must-read — especially a photograph of a cassette the contents of which, we are told, we will never see. Damn!
At Dog Days, which lasted post in early March, there is talk of the innovation gap and a new acronym for everybody to learn: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
At Doric Wilson, the legendary Doric Wilson talks about his relationship with recorded music — as refracted by the Town Hall presentation of Broadway by the Year 1948, produced by someone whose name I would rather utter while being drowned in formaldehyde in Sarah Palin’s bedroom. And a review of Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan singing the great Gershwin at the Oak Room.
At EcoTheater, no posts since September 2009.
At Everything I Know I Learned From Musicals, my friend and colleague Chris Caggiano reviews A Behanding in Spokane on Broadway; talks about the Princess musical Very Good Eddie (very good, Chris!); hates Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away on Broadway (D Minus, dear, really? Oy…); considers The Scottsboro Boys a possible masterpiece in the making; revisits the should-bloggers-review-previews discussion (the answer was always no, fully remains no, and shall always be no, and no one can win that argument except for me, because I’m right); and basically doesn’t really like The Addams Family, but isn’t as savage toward that musical as he is toward Come Fly Away.
At Extra Criticum, Rolando Teco discusses the benefits of a back-story, Bruce Ward considers the challenges of writing a biographical play, Yvonne Delet acknowledges being a TV junkie (I remain absolutely obsessed with Match Game too) and Teco wonders whether censorship in America is dead (no, it is not).
At the blog of the Flux Theatre Ensemble, there is coverage of the first day of rehearsals for Gus Schulenberg’s Jacob’s House; a celebration of World Theatre Day (back on March 27); Schulenberg delivers some spoilers about his play (don’t tell Doug Strassler); and the postcard for Jacob’s House — it’s out!
At Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, the relationship between American baseball and foreign policy — well, someone takes a swing at that; there is coverage of Egypt’s impending “political earthquake” (great post, too); there is a look at life in the Israeli-occupied territories, arms-trafficking at the U.S.-Mexico border; warnings about the U.S. Senate’s reaction to Morocco’s annexation of the Western Sahara (I confess, I didn’t know); a question is raised as to why Obama is open to drilling off the U.S. coast; there is a look at the nervous breakdown that is also known as the current government of Afghanistan; and Muslims in America are called “the great inter-civilizational fulcrum of our time.”
At Fractured Atlas Blog, the organization has moved! There is also a profile of Dance Source Houston; Sandy Seufert wonders what constitutes quality in teaching artistry; Ciara Pressler’s mulls what unconventional audiences consist of; Emily Bowles profiles Happenstance Theater; and there are profiles of Atlanta Performs and the Bamboo Whisper.
At Fragments (I Can Have Oodles of Charm When I Want To), the oodle-with-the-noodle Monica Reida (who is not following me on Twitter for some reason, though I’m following her) thinks that the disaster otherwise known as the now-off Broadway production of Terence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart could end Roundabout’s reign on Broadway. With all due respect, no such luck. There is also a piece on the idea of theater as community resulting from World Theatre Day; an announcement of Theatre Cedar Rapids’ new season; a celebration of one full year of marriage equality in Iowa; a barrage of questions about the musical The Addams Family (I’ll have mine next week); and a review of Proof at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Oh, and her reaction to Next to Normal winning the Pulitzer Prize. Crazy!
At Gratuitous Violins, Esther frets about Mel Brooks writing a musical version of Blazing Saddles — and, really, she shouldn’t. The score is currently 1-1: The Producers was perhaps the most pelvically painfully funny night of my life, whereas the only thing funny about Young Frankenstein was how grossly over-produced, over-written, over-acted and over-blown it was. There are some thoughts on the fatuous and unforgivable bigotry that surfaced at the end of the healthcare debate, courtesy of the radical right; a warm happy 80th birthday to Stephen Sondheim; an attack on the red dress that symbolizes David Mamet’s Race, still on Broadway; some excitement about a revival of The Odd Couple at Trinity Rep in Providence (really, doll?); an announcement about the new season at the Providence Performing Arts Center; a tale of two Broadway shows; an explanation for why blogger-critics shouldn’t wait until opening night to post their reviews (wrong — though if you pay for your tickets, do as you please); a thought or two about Branford Marsalis composing the music for the Denzel Washington-Viola Davis revival of August Wilson’s Fences on Broadway; and a nice post — seriously — about one full year of marriage equality in Iowa.
At Interchanging Idioms, Chip Michael talks about publishing music (and I learned that composers John Adams, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly and Greg Sandow all have blogs); reports on the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in concert at Lincoln Center on May 11; tells readers that the Vail Valley Music Festival tickets are on sale; discloses that Deutche Grammophon and Decca launch a new website in commemoration of Chopin’s 200 birthday; presents a You Tube video of a score he wrote for a short film; raves about guest conductor Douglas Boyd’s work with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra; informs about WGBH honoring the 125th anniversary of the Boston Pops; writes of the premiere, coming later in April, of composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s Starburst, performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; brings news of Emerson String Quartet’s three-CD Dvorak set; chats up Architecture of Dance, centerpiece of the New York City Ballet’s 2010 spring season and promote WQXR’s upcoming night of music and mingling.
At Jamespeak, James Comtois’ wonderfully wry series of posts about self-producing continues — and, always one of the most gracious playwrights around, exults in Matt Freeman’s Glee Club. There is a review of Vampire Cowboys’ Alice in Slasherland; a lamentation for the end of At the Movies; an acknowledgment that the usual fundraising tactics are all rather in need of renovation these days; a review of Derek Ahonen’s Happy in the Poorhouse; an update on casting for the latest Nosedive show, The Little One; and if you want a look at the poster for the show — and damn it, you better! — I advise you to click here.
At Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, arguably Gotham’s best and snarkiest blog devoted to what is lost when the cause of historic preservation is utterly for naught, there are the following posts: a mixed look at 47 E. 1st St.; a nifty peek at egg creams at Julius’ Bar (no egg jokes, please, I know what goes on in that bar); the story of a mural wall on Houston Street; a musing about the post-real-estate-boom New York; a little bit about a little red house set well back from the street at 58A Charles Street in the West Village; a moment for the enormous fingernails in another part of the West Village (mural, people, mural); and the end of Atomic Passion on East 9th Street.
At Ken Davenport’s The Producer’s Perspective, Ken Davenport describes the one way he annoys everyone around him. (Lean times, apparently.) He also celebrates the recoupment of the musical Next to Normal (something about screeching all the way to the bank); a discussion of the restoration of the right to vote for the members of the New York Drama Critics Circle (which will obviously affect everything from world hunger to continental earthquakes to nuclear proliferation to the phallus-engorged egos of certain critics at Time Out New York who positively luxuriate in preventing other critics from joining the organization); another report about David Mamet’s friggin’ memo to the writers of The Unit; an interview with Broadway publicist Adrian Bryan-Brown (genuinely a class act, I might add); a list of five things Davenport learned about South American theater (number 6: how to completely fuck over bloggers that you first appear friendly toward); and a thought that Broadway may point the way when it comes to getting out of the recession.
At Lies Like Truth, the amazing Chloe Veltman considers why the SF Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian are at war with each other — pretty dumb, agreed, given the general state of print media. There is also a lovely review of a play by Naomi Iizuka called Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West (the writing is lovely, the review is not a positive one) and a more upbeat review of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Den of Thieves. Add to the mix: the great San Fran seating snafu; a fun piece about shape note singing; a hosanna for an on-demand music player; a great sentence about previews (“a dress rehearsal is not a preview performance” — and no, folks, neither should be reviewed); an exhortation for presenters to step up their game; a broadside against snoring at performances (…what?); a disturbing report about a song cycle by Duncan Sheik (apparently the audience found it totally fucked — but then, they were barely breathing); and a guest blog by Gene Karl on composing for voices.
At Life Upon the Sacred Stage, Retta Blaney’s spiritually uplifting blog, Blaney reviews Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light, directed by Erv Raible and starring Linn Maxwell; provides an update on the health of the legendary Lynn Redgrave; reviews Come Fly Away on Broadway (nice opening quote: “Broadway’s’ latest jukebox musical dazzles with Twyla Tharp’s choreography and Frank Sinatra’s voice, yet, as with most of the others in this overdone genre, I was left with my usual question — Why?”); covers the Charity in the City service program; reviews Pilar Rioja; reviews Red and the Blue Hill Troupe’s revival of The Gondoliers.
At Mae West, we learn how, on March 28, 1927, the New York State legislature banned depiction of homosexuality on stage (owing to West’s play The Drag); there is a discussion of the origins of Chesty Bond; the results of a recent West auction are in; there is banter about the brothers Beery; a tribute to a man who wrote songs for several West pictures — Sam Coslow; a great anecdote about West and the iconic Greta Garbo; a remembrance of the West triumph known as Diamond Lil; some details of the person who made some of West’s best gems; relates West’s ties to the timeworn ideas of cinematic censorship; and does a dissection of the shimmy, which West turned into an art form.
At Me2Ism, Donald Butchko finds a neat YouTube video of Christine Baranski as Mame; two YouTube videos of Judy Garland that must be seen (well done!); and even more YouTube videos, this time from Jesus Christ Superstar, the film.
At Michael Kaiser’s blog, Kaiser, who is President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, laments the end of Morphosis, Christopher Wheeldon’s dance company, and seems to want to take him to task for it while at the same time expressing understanding for why he might leave. The end of his essay is a curious study in tonal balance:
Why should he spend time wooing a board when he can make dances for the greatest dance companies in the world? Why should he work with an ever changing group of dancers when he can make ballets on established corps in London, New York and San Francisco?
It is hard not to sympathize.
But it is also important to use this moment to commemorate the remarkable persistence and hard work of those who did stick with their companies for decades and decades. Those whose initial work was not covered by the New York Times. Those who had to scrounge for the most meager budgets and who were not offered many performance opportunities.
I am thinking of people like Joan Myers Brown, Trisha Brown, Jeraldyn Blunden, Jos√É¬© Lim√É¬≥n, Elisa Monte, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, George Faison, and so many others.
These pioneers created dance organizations that have contributed to the dance community and to the national arts ecology for decades. Our dance heritage would not be the rich cultural jewel it is without their struggles.
They stood by their dancers and by their organizations in the very difficult early years. They did not have people asking to serve on boards, they did not have presenters competing to engage them, they did not even get reviewed.
They created magic with so very little.
They are true arts heroes.
It was Baumol and Bowen, writing in their seminal text, Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma, who identified the central economic challenge of the arts, our inability to improve worker productivity. Published in 1966, this book could arguably be called the foundation for the field of modern arts management.
The two professors identified that costs rise so quickly in the arts because we cannot perform Hamlet with fewer players than when Shakespeare wrote it, nor do we play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony faster and faster every year. As a result of this productivity challenge, our costs rise more quickly than in other industries. Coupled with the lack of real earned income growth once we fill our theater, the performing arts face economic challenges unlike most other industries.
How to fill this gap between rising expenses and fixed earned income has been the challenge to every arts manager for centuries. Our solutions have not always been satisfactory or ultimately helpful to our organizations or our field.
At Mission Paradox, Adam Thurman reminds us that asking the question “What’s working?” is as important as asking “What’s not working?” and why; tells artists to plan further in advance because “people like to know what’s coming”; announces that the e-book version of his Authentic Arts Marketing is now available; opines on the notion of mutual respect (and proves you can be an arts organization without subscribing to the decrepit nonprofit business model); suggests there are too many prices for too many tickets for too many shows (not sure I agree with this); decries the timidity of arts managers who might not use a budget surplus wisely; delivers a morality tale about arts marketing that is actually one of the best pieces he’s written; and, finally, weighs in on the unpaid-intern controversy but doesn’t explain where he was before the IRS started making it an issue, making him fundamentally complicit in the problem.
At Modern Fabulousity, someone had to write it and someone finally did: The Murky Ethics of Ricky Martin’s Big Gay Announcement. Livin’ La Vida Limpwrist:
…by playing heterosexual for all those years (which is an undeniable truth — livin’ la vida loca was always about the ladies, and let’s not even discuss “She Bangs”), he made a cold and calculated decision to protect his career at the expense of helping fellow LGBT people. He didn’t just avoid the question, or refuse to comment. He lied. I don’t dislike Ricky, but that’s just the stone cold truth. It was cowardly then, and it’s mercenary now.
At Moxie the Maven, Moxie the Maven does the right thing: calls out radical right-wing adherent Kelsey Grammer for being a total hypocrite playing gay in the Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles. Also, a tribute to Leslie Uggams that — well, just click the see the famous video, that’s all I’ll say.
At New Jersey Arts Blog, the applause goes to Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, for a speech he gave at the McCarter Theatre as part of his “Arts in Crisis” series. In essence (and as Kaiser has been saying for some time now, nationwide):
…the key to a healthy arts organization is exciting programming — not surprising for a man that plans productions four to five years in advance! To this end, he believes programming should only receive cuts as a last resort, and when big programming cannot be scheduled right away, it should be announced two to three years in advance. This planning time allows for fundraising, marketing, involving board members, and generating the excitement a production needs behind it. Mr. Kaiser explained that he feels exciting, high-quality programming brings in new people who attract new audiences, which all adds up to more money to fund programming.
At Nonprofit Law Blog, Gene Takagi lists tweets of the week here, here, here and here. He also takes on the question of when a big board is too big — the 100-member board posited in the title of this first-of-three blog posts being designed well to bring attention to the topic. The second part of the series is here. The third part is here.
At Noticing New York, no new activity since February.
At the blog of New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner, there is discussion of how and when to make New York City’s taxi fleet “fully accessible to riders with hearing, visual, or mobility impairments” — and how the new chair of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, David Yassky, can make that happen right now if he chooses. Also: a call to the MTA to save another bus line (sorry, this is arguably pro forma fury — the MTA is broke); the passage of a budget resolution in the New York State Assembly; and details of Kellner-proposed legislation that would force state agencies to release their records online.
At Off-Stage Right, the invaluable and indefatigable Jodi Schoenbrun Carter asks what kind of baggage we bring to an arts organization, a post spurred on by her reading John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. I would gently add that it’s also a question of what kind of baggage we take away, too.
At On Chicago Theatre, the ever-on Zev Valancy analyzes the new season announcement from the Steppenwolf Theatre Company (in splendid detail, one should add); reviews LiveWire’s Lower Debt; sort-of-not-really reviews Julia Weiss’ paean to titular insouciance, The Somewhat Gelatinous Blob From Beyond The Grave (And Also the Grave’s in Outer Space!); reviews a revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; extends his own birthday greeting to the great Stephen Sondheim; reviews a revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuseseseseses (sorry, just having fun with that); analyzes the new season announcements for five more theater companies; reviews a sketch show called Code of Ethnics; offers some thoughts on the departure of Seth Gordon from the Cleveland Play House; delivers an excellent essay on the ups and downs of companies, large or small, presenting so-called “risky” new plays; and reviews Gorilla Tango’s Chekhov Kegstand. Yeah, bruh.
At On Theatre and Politics, Matt Freeman offers some news about his play That Old Soft Shoe; makes April Fools Day a special and highly personal occasion; presents video of some of the audience reactions to his play Glee Club; weighs in on the internship debate, but lightly; points everyone to a typically melodramatic and totally biased Fox video clip about the new nuclear arms pact with Russia; and reviews Peter Brook’s production of Love Is My Sin at Theater for a New Audience.
At One Producer in the City, Michael Roderick points everyone to the Space on White competition — which ends, in fact, today, Mon., Apr. 12. Running a theater company and need a space. The hours are counting down. Also, there is a bit of information about another version of The Phantom of the Opera that is running downtown (let’s hear it for public domain!); a gauntlet laid down challenging empty-storefront owners and artists to start working together (I’m curious if there is anyone who embarks on this challenge); an exploration of the crucial distinction between self-producing and self-destructing; information on the West Village Musical Theatre Festival (which the CFR may help with); and a plug for the Boomerang Theatre Company, where I am, like Mike, also a board member.
At Painting Air, Kat writes a nifty account of seeing What If? at La Mama; composes a wonderfully detailed look at Jesus Christ Superstar (just in time for Easter, natch); and gets into Kick-Ass.
At Parabasis, Isaac Butler raises unearned self-righteousness to a new level nearly every day.
At Pataphysical Science, Linda writes alluringly about What If? at La Mama; plays possum, if you will, regarding her review of All About Me, starring Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein; and covers Hamlet at the Metropolitan Opera.
At Reflections in the Light, the wonderfully industrious Lauren Yarger reviews A Behanding in Spokane, The Miracle Worker, Looped, All About Me, Mr. and Mrs. Fitch, Next Fall, The Book of Grace, A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, When the Rain Stops Falling, Come Fly Away, Lend Me a Tenor and Red.
At Ryan J. Davis Blogs, check out podcast number 13 (New York State’s new budget plan, taxing soda, Mayor Bloomberg’s public health efforts, and Yank, the Musical); an interview with Jon Marans, playwright of The Temperamentals; the judges for the Broadway Beauty Pageant (directed by Davis); and an interview with the head of the Ali Forney Center, which deals with LGBT homeless youth.
At Sasha Dichter’s Blog, Sasha Dichter imagines if restaurants were nonprofits (given the success rate of most New York City restaurants, isn’t that already the case?); ponders the real meaning behind the phrase “How can I help?”; asks just how many fundraisers a nonprofit really needs to throw; posits another fabulous hypothetical: “if free is the new black…”; asks if “fundraising is the same thing as sales” (and delivers some interesting responses to his own question); and writes about throwing boomerangs, which we initially thought was a literal thing, but now we see, too, is also a metaphorical thing.
At smARts & Culture, Mary Ann Devine offers a frequent cultural clip service; writes a great post about the way in which people working in the arts are constantly switching hats; delivers another set of links from her cultural clip service; frightens the known universe — as well as several universes that are still unknown — with a video clip of Karl Lagerfeld (I mean, seriously, better heard than seen, no?); asks, vis a vis the question of whether content actually has any value: “Do we now have to make everything free in order to find an audience?” (and decides that no, we certainly do not); delivers yet more cultural clips; considers how to cultivate collectors; and — guess what? — more cultural clips.
At Stage Grade, there is a grade to every stage. I’d say more, but Doug Rand and Jonathan Rand used to be kind to me. Oh, well. Never saw that coming.
At Stage Rush, Jesse North interviews music director Lynne Shankel; reviews All About Me; interviews Broadway understudy Bryan Fenkart (Chad Kimball, watch out); and reviews the Encores! production of Anyone Can Whistle.
At StageBuzz, the intrepid Byrne Harrison hasn’t posted since March 9. What up?
At Steve On Broadway, my friend and colleague Steve Loucks hasn’t posted since Feb. 15. What up? (Although if you follow Steve’s tweet, you’ll know what he’s up to.)
At Storefront Rebellion, Kris Vire, cued on by a slim graph in Venus magazine, wonders whether Chicago’s indie theater community allows Chicago’s indie theater to grow. I thought that was stare decisis, quite frankly.
At TACT (Theater Arts Curriculum Transformation), at last we have it: Scott Walters’ caterwauling indictment of the gut-churning practice of unpaid internships in the arts, especially in the theater. What rage? Forget that — what indignation! Burn down the ramparts! Wave red flags! Take down the establishment! Arrest artistic directors! Arrest managing directors! Incalcuate in American youth better values! And on and on. And you know what? If the subject hadn’t come up via the IRS and new rules being put into place, Walters wouldn’t have written crap about it. The whole idea is to be out in front on an issue, not creating blogs and blogposts in reaction to it. Spare me. I do not applaud.
At Tactical Philanthropy, Sean Stannard-Stockton covered and commented on a Monitor Institute workshop on the future of philanthropy; noted how philanthropy “analysis” has now become a punch line (who knew there were still comic strips?); lauds GuideStar’s new adjunct and content-rich site; explored how creative tensions in philanthropy are capable of producing creative results; announced something called the Smart Money Award; delivered news as well as some comments on the new director of the Social Innovation Fund; provided a guest post from consultant Adin Miller on the aforementioned fund; begins a massive multi-participant-based blogging effort in honor of the Grantmakers for Effective Organization conference that continues here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
At Tarhearted, Joshua Conkel has decided the playwright/screenwriter Martin McDonagh is totally hot — thing is, I imagine the playwright/screenwriter might agree with him. Also, there is praise for the Congressional passage of health care reform (the middle part of the post is especially fun); a rant about the theater (and he also threw a dinner party at which Mother Teresa’s name came up, which is better than the dinner coming up, I suppose, and why wasn’t I invited?); an announcement of the Management’s new production, Songs for a Future Generation; and reports of a Facebook app that makes me wonder what the number one song was on Feb. 16, 1234, when I was born.
At Technology and the Arts, there is a very smart — and smartly concise — primer on optimizing one’s site for SEO, and I’m glad I read it. You should, too. David Dombrosky also suggests that everyone tweet on National Arts Advocacy Day — which is tomorrow!
At That Sounds Cool, Aaron Riccio schools James Hannaham of the Village Voice for being, shall we say, less than a commendable theater critic with regard to a certain review. Also, there are reviews of Rudolf II, Alice in Slasherland, The Soup Show, Somewhere in Between, Tuesday Night Poker, A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, G.B.S., The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Enjoy, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, TV’s Treme, and there is a piece on how to turn the negativity that occasionally comes with reviewing into something more positive.
At The David Desk, David Sheward has designs on episode 9 of Project Runway, episode 6 of Amazing Race 16, and he wonders what healthcare reform will cost Obama (of course, what it would have cost him had he not gotten it passed is a far higher theoretical figure). Also: episode 7 of Amazing Race 16; episode 10 of Project Runway; episode 8 of Amazing Race 16; and episodes 11 and 12 of Project Runway.
At The Fortress of Jason Grote, Jason Grote offers a bloggy ode to the late Alex Chilton and the late David Mills, with a little help from the ever-ubiquitous YouTube; and if anyone is in Minneapolis, may I humbly suggest that you get your ass off your chair and sit back down again in order to log on to buy a ticket to Maria/Stuart? Yeah, that’s it.
At The Halcyon Theatre, Eric writes about the play Dramatists Play Service was advertising in the 1960s and offers some keen observations:
…After some exploration of the DPS database, I determined that they have kept 24 of the 25 in print, so that’s something at any rate. I was a bit abashed to find that I did not recognize 4 of 5 as being by Harold Pinter, though they are earlier works that are rarely performed.
…DPS seems to be oriented, whether consciously or not, towards the “long tail” model of business (Chris Anderson of Wired has recently popularized this term). Keep everything in print forever and pick up occasional productions here and there. (Until fairly recently, this was what the Fantasy record label did, until they were bought out by Concord and their warehouse deemed to be too costly to operate, leading to a purge of their back catalogue.) With the increasing improvements to the quality of print-on-demand services, there really is no reason DPS cannot keep these plays in print. This does not address whether they might choose to try to market some of the really slow-moving titles with lower performance rights. Or whether some of these plays have dated too badly to be performed again.
There is also Miguel Nunez’s interview with himself. Now that’s fun.
At The Hub Review, Thomas Garvey, Boston’s best arts blogger and newest contributor to the Clyde Fitch Report, has so much to say and says it so well. There is his review of Entertaining Mr. Sloane at the Publick Theatre and the new Roman Polanski film The Ghost Writer; a piece on an interesting-sounding Handel and Haydn Society concert (thank you for adding “Schubertiades” to my vocabulary, sir); a review of SpeakEasy’s revival of The Adding Machine; a spirited attack on director Diane Paulus; round 1 of the 2010 Hubbies (those are awards, you pervs); reviews of a revival of Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill and Michael Hollinger’s Opus; a review of Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production of Othello and the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Also: a review of the new Noah Baumbach-Ben Stiller film Greenberg; a review of Merrimack Rep’s production of Richard Dresser’s The Last Days of Mickey and Jean; a review of the Gamm Theatre revival of The Glass Menagerie (when will there be a flippin’ moratorium on that flippin’ play?…for heaven’s sake already, enough!); and a review of the Boston Ballet’s mounting of George Balanchine’s Coppélia.
At The Mirror Up to Nature, Art Hennessey writes concisely and the blog is always pleasurable reading. This poem by Alexander Pope on criticism — well, some critics should read this sometime. Hennessey also points everyone in the direction of an arch battle between two music critics — more good stuff.
At The Playgoer, Garrett Eisler careening into late March by presenting some notes toward a longer essay — though I would opine, humbly, that these notes are rather powerful without too much additional adornment. The post is titled The Work of Theatre in the Age of Mass-Produced Culture and there are several viable theses located throughout the piece (in my opinion). For example:
In an age of mass-produced entertainment and culture, the work of theatre will always be disadvantaged in the marketplace because it cannot easily reproduce and commodify itself for mass consumption.
…For the survival of ones artform in this economy depends not on whether you make a profit. It depends on how big a profit others can make off of your art. How does your art feed the economic gears of the culture industries? Can your producers sell “ancillary” rights to your art to other media? Can newspapers, tv shows, and websites generate more ad revenue as a result of mentioning or sampling your art?
…those commercial producers who have made a bundle in recent times have done so by making their products as reproducible as possible. Cameron Mackintosh pioneered the “world tour” approach of “sit down” productions in multiple cities simultaneously, exporting the product across the continents. This model has been successfully copied by not only Disney (most lucratively with Lion King), but hits like Chicago and Rent.
…A play can only now be a revenue generator only by selling itself to and subsuming itself within other, more profitable mass media: becoming a movie, for instance, at which point it is no longer a play, according to the economy and enters a completely different realm of the cultural marketplace. Indeed the playwright, after the initial sale of rights, is usually disassociated from the new product in every way. As are his/her original theatrical producers–unless they succeed at nailing down “subsidiary rights” in the initial contract. (Hence why that’s been such a hot-button issue lately in the New York theatre.)
I’m not saying theatre will die if it can’t reproduce itself. I’m not saying it even can reproduce itself. But it will basically always be a loser artform in this economy–i.e. this country. And I mean “loser” in many ways.
There is also: a great post on the changes coming to subsidiary rights for playwrights (at least vis a vis certain theater companies); a snark-filled memorandum to Todd Haimes at Roundabout Theatre Company (so much for that invitation for tea and sympathy); a snark-filled post on the readmission of certain critics to voting privileges for the Tony Awards (and the quote, per Cara Joy David, from Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, is absolutely precious); a post on Jeremy Gerard’s explanation for why commercial Off-Broadway is now basically the same thing as hara kari; and there is the matter of whether a museum and a theater (or museums and the theater) can be friends. Oh, and his reaction to Next to Normal winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Crazy!
At The Rob Kozlowski Chicago Theater and Vintage Film Medicine Show, Rob Kozlowski makes sure we know that Theatre Wit is going to reopen soon, following a seven-figure renovation; offers a short play; reviews Northlight Theatre’s production of Hugh Leonard’s A Life; reviews a revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuseseseseses (sorry, just having fun with that); and writes both movingly and convincingly of the chasm that exists at times between the expectations we have for theater work and what theaters, especially well-monied theaters, deliver:
…frankly, if you’re an artistic director who’s making well into the six figures every year, everything you do should be fantastic. An unreasonable expectation? No way. This is why it staggers the imagination for me how a company like Roundabout in New York can be so artistically inept and get away with it. Bottom line, if you’re making a shitload of money and you’re charging customers a shitload of money, you should be the best. You shouldn’t be good, you shouldn’t be adequate, you should be the best. You should be the best pretty much all the time. If you make the most money and charge the most money, you should have the best product.
….I don’t care about the risks you took in creating the production or what you tried to do with the production. I care about how successful you were. I’m not going to buy stock in a company and lose my shirt on it when it tanks and then forgive the company when the CEO says he tried really hard…
Damn right, yo. Also, there is: a short play here; information Stage Left Theatre’s Leapfest; and a palpable sense of — could it be? yes, it could — glee that the musical version of The Addams Family, now on Broadway, has been savaged in the press, especially by New York Times critic Ben Brantley. Read Kozlowski’s reviews of Endgame (Steppenwolf) and Billy Elliot, too.
At The Wicked Stage, the CFR’s wicked frenemy Rob Weinert-Kendt remains a wicked frenemy.
At Theatre Aficionado at Large, Kevin Daly recounts seeing his first Broadway show 10 years ago; offers some thoughts on the 80th birthday of Stephen Sondheim; posits another excellent idea whose time, alas, will probably never come — the Oscar Hammerstein II Theatre; a tale of a stage door Johnny and the amazing Katie Finneran (I have a similar story about Dorothy Loudon from the original Broadway production of Noises Off); and an obituary for June Havoc. Also: there is a post on Masterworks Broadway; a review of the convulsively funny revival of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor; reviews of Fela! and Yank; and a fond farewell to the extraordinary Dixie Carter.
At Theatre North Carolina, it appears there are going to be two paid internships at the North Carolina Arts Council. Quick, someone tell Scott Walters!
At Tynan’s Anger, Ethan Stanislawski opines about bipartisanship in the wake of healthcare reform — and confirms that bipartisanship is about as alive as Lenin’s embalmed corpse. Also, Fenway Park is returning to 1912 conditions, a fact I did not know (wow!). There is a huge list of new music (with grades) from the first quarter of 2010. And we should also mention that Stanislawski unveiled a new policy for reviewing theater, too. Oh, and the straw man in the bubble post when it comes to theater controversies — that’s spot on.
At Visible Soul, Zack Calhoon outlines his next few weeks, when he’ll be one busy actor-writer-theater person; promotes Resonance Ensemble‘s annual benefit; promotes the staged reading of his new play Dream House; points us to a profile of Calhoon on Betsy Maupin’s blog; reviews the Broadway revival of Lend Me a Tenor; interviews the playwright Jerrod Bogard (as part of his terrific “people you should know” series); and exults in the success of a staged reading of his play, The Weird Sisters, at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.
At What’s Good / What Blows in New York Theatre, Rocco writes about Megan Mullally’s departure from the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Lips Together, Teeth Apart and puts it this way:
I’m also kind of struck by the lack of professionalism on Mallally’s part here. Given, I know jack shit about the situation that I didn’t read in the National Enquirer, but…really? You’re just gonna peace out like that? And who pays for this production when its canceled 2 weeks before first preview? She does right? Unless she has some doesn’t-play-well-with-others clause in her contract, which i doubt.
On the other side, guess who’s starfucker casting decisions may have screwed them again? Megan’s a theatre vet and she was carrying a show with a virgin. Add that to Joe Mantello’s (apparently notorious) temper and meanness, and you’ve got a very high-profile adi√≥s and a dark dark theatre.
Rocco also reviews Looped on Broadway. While looped. How loopy!