From the Blogroll XIX: “Too Many Mornings” Edition



At 99 Seats, it’s only positive posts for now. Good luck with that.

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At Adam Syzmkowicz’s blog, Adam Syzmkowicz interviews a playwright who I think will someday be known as a great one: Crystal Skillman. He also talks to Daniel Goldfarb and Blair Singer.

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At Adaumbelle’s Quest, Adam Rothenberg adds some scintillating names to his lineup of interviews as well, such as Kate Pazakis and my darling friend Julie Halston. (She really is a friend and she really is darling.)

At Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment, Sarah B. covers the closing of Mary Stuart and offers her take on The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side, which has been extended more times than Wendy Williams’ hair. Sarah B. also includes some YouTube video of Chita Rivera receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama. Here’s another:

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At An Angry White Guy in Chicago, Don Hall rattles off a list of things he believes, including with the regard to the Republican-thug protests against healthcare reform. Curiously, he omitted his belief that children are our future.

At Arts Marketing, Chad M. Bowman provides a list of helpful hints for first-time marketing directors. Among the more salient and spot-on comments:

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1. When results at the box office are disappointing, one of two things are usually the culprit: the artistic product didn’t live up to expectations or the marketing plan wasn’t successful. When enquiring minds want to know what happened, don’t point fingers unless you want fingers pointed back at you. Artistic Directors will fail, and so will Marketing Directors. The arts are inherently risky, and if you are taking risks, at some point you will fail. Get up, dust yourself off, and work to make up the loss on future productions.

3. If you want to be successful as a marketing director, you either have to love the product or be a masochist. You are in the arts, which means you are over worked and under paid, so make sure your commitment is worth it.

5. I don’t know is an acceptable answer for questions that you don’t know the answer to. Whenever you have that as a response, it is your responsibility to seek out the answer in a timely fashion.

10. Never forget about a patron’s entire experience. You can have the greatest play on the most beautiful stage in the best section of town, and it won’t matter a bit if you run out of toilet paper in the women’s bathroom.

11. Be a discount ninja — move quickly and silently if needed, but don’t disturb the general public.

13. Before accepting a position, make sure you have a candid conversation about your general beliefs on marketing strategy. If the organization is looking for a technology wizard, and you just figured out “the internets” recently, probably not a good fit. Always better to have the lengthy conversations before you start than the awkward conversations after.

15. Be aware of your ego. Many times the best marketing ideas won’t come from your department. When good ideas cross your desk, be humble enough to act on them and thank the source.

At Artsopolis, Masterfiddle shares a diary of her experience at the International Conference on the Arts and Society in Venice. At the Clyde Fitch Report, jealousy seethes. (But the diary, people, should be read. It’s excellent and full of insight.)

At Critic-O-Meter, the critics’ assessment of Cusi Cram’s A Lifetime Burning is on tap. However, a brouhaha is brewing over at regarding the math the Critic-O-Meter people use.

At The Critical Condition, Mark Blankenship considers Guy Trebay’s recent piece celebrating spare tires on men and puts it through a thrashing machine. No weight loss, alas, but many titters.

At Curbed: Architecture, the subject is Jean Nouvel’s fast-rising structure at 100 Eleventh Avenue. If you want to understand something about the fenestration of the building, you might liken it to this song:

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At Dog Days, Dalouge Smith illustrates that the pro-Peoria fracas stirred up by Rocco Landesman’s rather impolitic remarks will go on until everyone in the suburbs votes Republican. Actually, I’m exaggerating. You know, I do very much understand why there is upset with Landesman’s remark. But the hysteria is just ridiculous. And for Smith to write:

With the agenda and prejudice Mr. Landesman has already articulated, he’s on track to further distance this large swath of our national population from the arts and the essential role the arts play in bringing individuals and communities together. Hopefully he’ll move away from believing that quality and geography are mutually exclusive criteria and embrace them both as means to a greater end.

I would suggest that Smith not conflate prejudice with ignorance. And go off and start doing some educating.

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At Everything I Know I Learned From Musicals, Chris Caggiano unveils the most influential 100 people on the musical theater. Sondheim is #2 — right behind Oscar Hammerstein II at #1. Some other interesting placements: Ethel Merman at #16 (the first performer on the list), W.S. Gilbert at #25 (Arthur Sullivan clocks in at #30), Michael Bennett at #40 (I’d suggest a recount here), Joseph Papp at #67 (really, Chris?), Andrew Lloyd Webber at #82 (smack! down!) and Susan Stroman at #97. He also interviews Diane Paulus, who is the new artistic director of American Repertory Theatre as well as, of course, the director of the Broadway revival of Hair. (Does Diane agree with Papp at #67, dear?)

At Flux Theatre Ensemble, Gus Schulenberg directs everyone’s attention to the Wallace Foundation’s new report Engaging Audiences. As always, Schulenberg’s analysis is pretty sharp and worth the read.

At Interchanging Idioms, Chip Michael introduces a new feature — a new composer whose work is little known. Go ahead and educate us, Chip!

At Ken Davenport’s The Producer’s Perspective, Ken Davenport regales us with talk of producing the annual Tisch School of the Arts gala at New York University (also my alma mater) and how he internalized something Steve Tisch once said: “Remove the word fair from your vocabulary.” Some say Davenport really lives up to that.

At Michael Kaiser’s blog, the esteemed Michael Kaiser rails against the idea that during this time of recession, the financially weakest arts groups should be weeded out. He writes:

….reducing the ranks really means getting rid of those arts organizations that are fiscally weak and that are viewed as a burden to donors and board members. But the weakest arts organizations are not always those that are producing the worst art; nor are financially strong arts organizations always the ones producing ground-breaking art. What if the Alvin Ailey organization had been “thinned out” in 1991, another recessionary time, instead of turned around to become one of the strongest arts organizations in this nation?

Instead of eliminating arts organizations, I think we need to find ways to make existing organizations stronger and better able to support themselves.

My prescription, that good art, abetted by strong marketing, helps to create health, is viewed as a contradiction by some. How can a sick organization develop important art when it does not have sufficient resources to make payroll?

One approach that works well is to form a joint venture with another organization. A joint project can create important art while reducing the cost to each participating organization.

At Off-Stage Right, Jodi Schoenbrun Carter correctly reminds us that live-streaming theater is going to happen, and Actors’ Equity — and anyone else who remotely pretends to be cogent on the American stage — had better be dealing with what it means. Carter also provides a smashing in-depth look at Michael Feingold’s recent column on the loss of Tony voting privileges and rather sad state of theater criticism.

At On Chicago Theatre, Zev N. Valancy reacts to the news of David Mamet being hired to write a new film version of The Diary of Anne Frank. How can someone famous for the tenderness of his writing, and especially his pliant and delicate dramaturgical attitude toward women, be chosen for this job? Don’t you want a Democrat-turned-Republican reactionary asshole? Gosh, when will these film people learn?

At On Theatre and Politics, Matt Freeman encourages everyone interested in real healthcare reform — and not right-wing-smudged spin condemning more tens of thousands of Americans to being under-cared and murdered by private insurers — to boycott Whole Foods. If you don’t know about this latest controversy, read the post.

At Parabasis, Isaac Butler burbles about healthcare and the arts. And he particularly directs everyone’s attention to homophobia in the debate. Mighty white of him. He also looks at Jeremy Gerard’s bizarre column on arts funding and basically doesn’t get very exercised. Kind of a shame, that. For someone so opinionated, you’d have thought he’d show more passion.

At That Sounds Cool, Aaron Riccio opines on one of hardest decisions a critic has to make: how to maintain one’s objectivity when the production itself makes that well-nigh impossible.

At The Stage is the Place, Cindy Pierre offers her first impressions of my own personal theater critic idol, Michael Feingold. Good grief. Lord knows what she will say about moi.

At Theatre Aficionado at Large, Kevin Daly offers a requiem for Carrie: the Musical. Kevin, I saw Carrie on May 7, 1988. I have a great story about that performance that I’d love to share with you. Just let me know. Meantime, the post also includes this spectacular YouTube clip: