CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Broadway's 2010-11 Season Grossed Over $1 Billion

Playbill.com: "The Broadway League has released end-of-season statistics for the 2010-2011 season, which began May 24, 2010, and ended May 29, 2011, and included 42 new shows (14 musicals, 25 plays and 3 special productions).

Audio Theater Tour describes plays for the visually impaired

WBEZ: "Theaters talk about accessibility all the time. Sometimes it means affordability; sometimes it means clarity; and sometimes it means removing physical obstacles: providing ramps for wheelchair access and signed performances for people with hearing impairments.
Rarely, though, does a theater talk about providing access to people who are blind. It may seem an overwhelming task to describe what the set looks like, what the actors look like, how the movements ebb and flow. But it is possible--in fact, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf and Broadway in Chicago all provide audio description--and now a pair of Chicago actors has created a service that will offer audio description of a single performance at any Chicago theater for free.

Republicans Make Good on Arts and Public Broadcasting Veto Threats

ThinkProgress: "A couple weeks back, I noted that a number of Republican governors were looking to entirely eliminate their states’ spending on the arts and public broadcasting. Over the long weekend, a number of them made good on those threats.

Getting a tattoo? If you’re in the media you need to get the copyright too!

The Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark: "Things just got more complicated for on-camera folks who have tattoos, body art or other adornments.
In the movie Hangover II, Ed Helms’ character wakes up with a replica of Mike Tyson’s facial, tribal-art inspired tattoo, created by a tattoo artist from Missouri, and comedy ensues.. but not for the film’s producers, who failed to get the proper clearances from the owner of the copyrighted design.
The tattoo artist in question has registered the copyright, and filed a lawsuit for damages and an injunction.

The many resurrections of Jesus Christ Superstar

The Globe and Mail: "It’s a testament to the power of Jesus Christ Superstar that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s creation is being staged at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which isn’t exactly known for rock operas.
This year, the festival is flexing its repertory muscles, mixing the Bard’s works with productions as varied as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna and Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. But of any show on the slate, it’s Superstar that is closest to the heart of Des McAnuff, Stratford’s artistic director.

Talawa theatre company: the fights of our lives

The Guardian: "Ask Yvonne Brewster how much the theatre industry has changed in 60 years, and the founder of Britain's most high-profile black theatre company says: 'Darling, when I started out, people would rub my skin to see if the colour came off.' Rose Bruford, the influential drama tutor, told Brewster (her first black female student) that she should 'never expect to work'. She did, of course, and in 1972 put on a London production of CLR James's The Black Jacobins, a play about Haiti in the 18th century, only to find her sold-out venue burnt down. 'The Jamaican government were funding this grand production that picked up terrific steam with audiences across London. After a few weeks, there were queues of people around the block in Cricklewood. The next night, the venue was mysteriously set on fire.'

Opera Stars, Fearing Radiation, Skip Japan Tour

Backstage: "Two of the biggest stars of New York's Metropolitan Opera have bowed out of a Japan tour, citing fears of radioactive contamination and sending the company scrambling to find last-minute stand-ins.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stage preview: '9 to 5' has fun on the job

Post Gazette: "Diana DeGarmo laughs and giggles as she talks about laughing and giggling the handful of times she's been in the presence of Dolly Parton, who originated the role of Doralee Rhodes that Ms. DeGarmo now plays in '9 to 5: The Musical.'

Schenley, Hampton and Woodland Hills capture Best Musical Kelly awards

Post Gazette: "Luke Halferty of Central Catholic and Kirsten Hoover of North Hills were crowned the best actor and actress winners Saturday night at the Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theatre. Winning the Kellys means their next act is competing for the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York.
'I think 'oy vey' is the proper phrase,' Luke said, accepting the award for his role as Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof.'

Clothes make the character in 'God of Carnage'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Creating the costumes for a contemporary play is a lot harder than it appears.
'The work is a lot more complicated and detailed than people imagine,' says Ted Pappas, who serves as director and costumer for the Pittsburgh Public Theater production of 'God of Carnage' that begins Sunday at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown.

Central Catholic, North Hills students win top Kelly honors

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Central Catholic High School student Luke Halferty and North Hills High School student Kirstin Hoover won the 2011 Gene Kelly Awards for best actor and best actress Saturday night.
The awards recognized Halferty for his performance of Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof' and Hoover for her performance as Nanette in 'No, No, Nanette.'

City College Backing for New Haarlem Arts Theater

NYTimes.com: "In a bid to broaden its theater program and to bring additional polished, diverse theater uptown, City College of New York is lending critical support to an effort to open a new professional theater in residence uptown at Aaron Davis Hall.

Music gear I/O dock for iPad

Boing Boing: "In Gweek 002, Rob, Joel, and I talked about digital musical instruments and some of the music making apps available on the iPad. I complained bitterly about the crappy output of the headphone jack, and Joel rightly upbraided me for even trying to use it. I just found out about this $200 iPad dock from Alesis that allows you to connect all kinds of audio gear to it.

Miter-Cut Steel Tube

Toolmonger: "I keep a ton of 1″ mild-steel square tube in the shop, ’cause it’s pretty much the basic building block for most home fabrication projects. And I’ve spent waaaay too much time either cutting and notching tube to close up ends or making ugly corners. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be able to miter the corners like you would a piece of wood? You can, it seems, with the Evolution Rage 3.

Comparing college costs: There ought to be a better way—and there is!

Slate Magazine: "The thinking behind the initiative is that a car is a huge purchase, and American consumers deserve as much and as comprehensible information about it as possible. But for an even bigger expense—a college education—prospective consumers lack such a clear, clean accounting. Forget about labeling cars. We should be labeling schools.

Kansas Arts Commission vetoed by Governor

Createquity.: "Well, it’s happened. After initially eliminating the agency via executive order, only to be defied by the Kansas state legislature which restored $689,000 in appropriations, Governor Sam Brownback has vetoed funding for the Kansas Arts Commission. Although this action does not formally eliminate the agency — it still exists in theory, just with no money or staff — it likely means that the KAC will lose its federal match from the National Endowment for the Arts and become the only one of 50 states and several minor territories without a functioning state arts council.

Criss launches 'Starship'

Variety: "The four-man team behind Starkid Prods. has amassed an unusually large fan base for a group of young creatives who self-produce stage musicals. Their YouTube channel has logged some 60 million views, and the cast recording of their latest show, 'Starship,' hit No. 1 on the Billboard cast album chart.

'From Here to Eternity' to be stage musical

Variety: "'From Here to Eternity,' James Jones' 1951 novel about the attack on Pearl Harbor that was turned into the celebrated movie, is to become a stage tuner produced by Tim Rice and Lee Menzies, opening in 2012.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Playground fight leads to high drama, comedy in 'The God of Carnage'

Post Gazette: "'It's the grand finale,' says artistic director Ted Pappas, asked how 'The God of Carnage' fits into the 'royal' theme for the 2010-11 season of his Pittsburgh Public Theater, where it's now in previews.
He says he particularly chose it for this slot. Along with the play's having won 'every major award known to man,' he calls the playwright, France's Yasmina Reza, 'a great, significant writer' whose plays are an 'uninhibited celebration of the theater.'

Playhouse Jr. adds survivor stories to 'Anne Frank' preview

Post Gazette: "Playhouse Jr. will close its 62nd season with a new adaptation of 'The Diary of Anne Frank,' featuring discussions with local Holocaust survivors following select performances at the Rauh Theatre of the Pittsburgh Playhouse.
The Tony-winning adaptation, getting its Pittsburgh debut with Point Park University's youth theatre company, opens Friday and runs through June 12 with the Holocaust survivors speaking after the 2 p.m. performances on June 5 and 12.

'9 to 5' still works because of characters

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Though she was not to know it then, the role of Doralee Rhodes was one that Diana De Garmo began training for at birth.
Doralee Rhodes is the smart, sweet and well-endowed secretary made famous by Dolly Parton in the 1980 movie '9 to 5.'

Personality Test: Director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Jeff Calhoun is a Broadway director and choreographer whose credits include work on musical revivals -- 'Big River,' 'Bells Are Ringing,' 'Annie Get Your Gun' and 'Grease' -- and new musicals, such as 'Grey Gardens,' 'Brooklyn' and 'The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public.'

David Mamet Talks About His Shift to the Right

NYTimes.com: "While reading your new book, “The Secret Knowledge,” I thought, My God, in crucifying liberals, this guy is going to infuriate a huge chunk of the people who pay money to see plays. Are you concerned that you’re alienating your public?
I’ve been alienating my public since I was 20 years old. When “American Buffalo” came out on Broadway, people would storm out and say, “How dare he use that kind of language!” Of course I’m alienating the public! That’s what they pay me for.

Worst PPT Slide Contest Winners

InFocus: "Our 'What Not to Present' contest was epic! Many thanks to all of you kind folks that submitted entries and spread the word about it. Many amazingly horrendous slides were sent in from all around the world. We laughed. We cried. We cringed.

10 business e-mails you shouldn’t send

The Best Article Every day: "Imagine a tiny boat afloat on a thrashing sea, water pouring through a gaping hole in the hull.
A sailor is frantically bailing dark, angry water, but no matter how much he scoops, the water line never seems to recede — more waves just pummel him in the face like a particularly insecure middle-school bully.
That, my friends, is our metaphor for the average worker’s e-mail inbox.

Stephen King says creative differences are solved, musical written with Mellencamp is ready

Yahoo! News: "Horror writer Stephen King's first play, 'The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,' featuring haunting melodies by rocker John Mellencamp, is finally ready for the stage.
The musical was originally scheduled for its debut at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in 2009, but was postponed. It's now set to open next April at the Alliance.
Mellencamp and the play's director weren't getting along, King said Tuesday at the Alliance's season preview presentation. The new director is Susan Booth, the company's artistic director.

The future is micro: how small theatres are becoming cradles of innovation

guardian.co.uk: "Keep It Local is the title of a debate that just took place at the New Wolsey in Ipswich, to kick off the Pulse festival, a 10-day extravaganza of new work from a wide range of artists and companies, many of whom have links with the east of England. The question is whether the streets of London are paved with gold for artists, and organisers hope to identify the role regional theatre can play in nurturing innovative new work and developing companies. It's a timely debate, because there appears to be some kind of shift happening: a change in the places new and often non-text-based or devised work is being made and seen.

Bono on 'Spider-Man': 'I Promise It's Not Been Canceled'

Backstage: "Despite all the technical glitches, cast injuries and opening-night delays, Bono said the Broadway musical 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' is still a firm go for a June 14 opening.
The U2 frontman -- who composed the production's music with bandmate the Edge -- told reporters Wednesday night that the show will most definitely go on.

AGMA Files Unfair Labor Charges Against City Opera

Backstage: "The American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing New York City Opera's singers and production personnel, filed unfair labor practice charges against City Opera on Thursday. The guild alleges City Opera and artistic director George Steel broke the National Labor Relation Act's requirement to bargain with AGMA in good faith.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Music, relationships make 'Taffetas' appealing

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "A musical revue like 'The Taffetas' might sound easy enough to produce to the average theatergoer whose role is to sit back and enjoy the toe-tapping tunes from the 1950s.
From the perspective of the director's chair, it's a little more than that.
Joe Milliren of Irwin, who directs Apple Hill Playhouse's second show of its 2011 season, says the premise of the show is simple: A girl group of four sisters makes their television debut on a musical variety show.

Dance Alloy, Kelly-Strayhorn explore possible merger

Post Gazette: "Longtime Pittsburgh modern and dance theater company Dance Alloy Theater and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty have each established reputations as amalgamators of talents and artistic visions. They may be combining some of these visions in the future with the announcement Tuesday that the arts hubs are exploring a possible merger.

Lucky Guy's Luck Runs Out; Musical Will Close May 29

Playbill.com: "Lucky Guy, the country-fried musical comedy about a singer who dreams of Nashville stardom, will close prematurely on May 29, just ten days after opening May 19 at Off-Broadway's Little Shubert Theatre. Previews began April 28.

Yasmina Reza on ‘How You Talk the Game’

NYTimes.com: "Yasmina Reza is one of the world’s most successful playwrights, but she wears her fame with discomfort. She can talk at length about her red leather Prada coat. She can relate stories with biting humor about her year on the road shadowing Nicolas Sarkozy in his 2007 campaign for the French presidency. But ask her about herself, and the anxiety of the writerly persona takes over.

Autodesk 123D. Pt 4: Autodesk is Taking on Google

CAD Insider: "Autodesk chose Maker Faire - the annual gathering of inventor, hobbyists and craftspeople - for the public debut of 123D, its consumer design software. I didn’t know what to expect at Maker faire. Maybe Autodesk did not know either. The consumer market is fairly new territory.

Set Design Intern- David Korins Design

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "We are looking for some great interns to start in June. Interns generally work 3-5 days a week. Responsibilities include (but are not limited to) model making, drafting, research, shopping, on set production assistance, scene breakdowns & various administrative duties. This is a really exciting design company that works on Broadway, Off Broadway & Regional theater, as well as in TV, Film, Concerts & Commercials. It is a great opportunity for anyone looking to learn more about design as a career, and to gain hands-on experience.

King Lear: My quest to build the perfect production of Shakespeare's harrowing play.

Slate Magazine: "Thackeray found King Lear boring. Tolstoy was no great fan. Samuel Johnson dreaded rereading the play—he recoiled from the death of Lear's youngest daughter, Cordelia. (Johnson preferred playwright Nahum Tate's sentimental rewrite of Lear, published in 1681, which inserted a happy ending and supplanted Shakespeare's version onstage for more than a century.) Nineteenth-century essayist Charles Lamb declared that staging Lear 'has nothing in it but what is painful and disgusting,' concluding, 'The Lear of Shakespeare cannot be acted.' Nearly two centuries later, Harold Bloom concurred: 'You shouldn't even go and see somebody try and act the part,' the scholar said, 'because it's unactable… I've never seen a Lear that worked.' Beginning with a vain, irrational king rejecting both his favorite child and his most faithful servant on a whim, ending with a mad, uncrowned derelict dying of a broken heart—with a detour wherein another foolish old man's eyes are gouged out—King Lear is a shocking spectacle of two families eating themselves alive.

Visual Effects Society Slams Hollywood Over Working Conditions

Backstage: "Pointing a finger at the troubling business climate that has plagued the VFX industry for years, the Visual Effects Society sent out an open letter to the entertainment industry Tuesday, charging the VFX workers don't receive proper credit, benefits or working conditions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Watch Them Make a Movie

Carnegie Mellon University: "A trio of alumni from the class of 2004 are shooting a micro-budget feature film in New York this summer.
And you get to experience the process.
Written and directed by Seth Fisher (A'04), the filmmakers are blogging every step of making Passing Harold Blumenthal.
Set in New York City, the comedy follows a family as it deals with a famous uncle's death.
Alexander Cendese (A'04) joined on as producer and Marie Lynn Wagner (A'04) is serving as production designer.

Stage: Fresh starts, great finishes

Post Gazette: "Summer in the city is a hot time for theater far and wide, with the Pittsburgh CLO and Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre beginning their seasons and City Theatre finishing up with the premiere of a commissioned comedy by Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher.

Simonson-Hatcher team returns with premiere of screwball comedy 'Louder Faster' at City Theatre

Post Gazette: "The irony of a play about a celebrated collaborator written by collaborators was just part of the appeal that led to the re-teaming of Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher. The resulting play, 'Louder Faster,' brought the playwrights into the world of 1930s screwball comedies a la the late, great George S. Kaufman.

Arts Centers and Real Estate: Sustainable Business Model?

Createquity.: "“Sustainability” and “community development” are ideals that many arts organizations strive to uphold. They want to stand on their own two feet financially, and they also want to play a role in revitalizing communities that have been abandoned by urban sprawl. Some arts centers, such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and Playhouse Square in Cleveland, are accomplishing both of these goals with one activity: non-arts related real estate investments. We know from many, many studies (like this one from The Reinvestment Fund and another from the Center for Creative Community Development) that there is a strong connection between arts activities and real estate values. Is this the sustainable business model we’ve been looking for?

Yale opens up image library, starts with 250,000 free images

Boing Boing: "Yale is making high-resolution images from its cultural collections available on a free, open access basis. They've started by uploading 250,000 images, with lots more to follow. The collection includes 'a small limestone stela with hieroglyphic inscription from the Peabody Museum of Natural History, a Mozart sonata in the composer's own hand from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a 15th-century Javanese gold kris handle from the Indo-Pacific collection of Yale University Art Gallery and a watercolor by William Blake.'

Why We Over-Complicate GTD and What To Do About It

Lifehack.orgt: "So many people after reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done walk away with the attitude that everything outlined in it is “common sense”. The ideas in the book are simple, so simple in fact that we sometimes “fake ourselves out” into thinking that there just has to be something more to it. This can’t possibly be as easy as writing everything down and putting it in places and lists that we trust and we know that we will continually review. There’s got to be more.

Broadway Producers Slammed for Using Taped Music

Backstage: "A coalition of Broadway composers and musicians and representatives from the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera and The Juilliard School said Monday they have teamed up with the non-profit Council for Living Music to launch a nationwide campaign called 'Save Live Music On Broadway.'

Monday, May 16, 2011

Playhouse Jr. launches season with 'Mr. Aviation!'

Post Gazette: "Playhouse Jr. opens its 62nd season with a local angle that soars, the world premiere of 'Pittsburgh's Mr. Aviation!,' and finishes on a more serious note.

Here are your 2011 Gene Kelly Award nominees

Post Gazette: "Nominees for the 2011 Gene Kelly for Excellence in High School Musical Theater were announced today. There are 29 Allegheny County schools participating in the Kellys, a presentation of Pittsburgh CLO and the University of Pittsburgh. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony May 28 at the Benedum Center.

Simonson-Hatcher team returns with premiere of screwball comedy 'Louder Faster' at City Theatre

Post Gazette: "The irony of a play about a celebrated collaborator written by collaborators was just part of the appeal that led to the re-teaming of Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher. The resulting play, 'Louder Faster,' brought the playwrights into the world of 1930s screwball comedies a la the late, great George S. Kaufman.

newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival adds a new venue to its annual showcase

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Success doesn't breed stagnation at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. After two years of successful contemporary dance festivals, the theater simply could have repeated a proven formula this year.
Instead, the 2011 newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival will add new elements, including a full-length piece and performances at a second venue.

Summer fun: Theater season offers new works, fresh approaches

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The summer theater season offers new works and fresh approaches to old favorites.

Arena Stage Welcomes Steppenwolf's Polly Carl as Director of New Play Institute

Playbill.com: "Polly Carl is leaving Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago to join Arena Stage in Washington, DC, in the new position as director of the American Voices New Play Institute (AVNPI) beginning July 1.

The Path of ‘The Book of Mormon’ to Broadway

NYTimes.com: "IT was February 2010, and Scott Rudin, the prolific theater and film producer, felt something was wrong with “The Book of Mormon,” the new musical he was developing. A weeks-long workshop had just ended, he recalled, and the show’s main character was an unlikable prig, the tone was muddled, and some of the humor wasn’t worthy of his two star creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone of the animated series “South Park.” Mr. Parker, usually the engine of ideas, felt stalled, and the musical just seemed to be drifting toward an Off Broadway run set for that summer, all three men said recently.

Chicago: America's theater capital?

Chicago Reader: "Surely no words ever written by any theater critic stirred more local buzz than Michael Billington's 2004 observation in London's Guardian that 'Chicago . . . [is] the current theatre capital of America.' It came like manna from heaven to the denizens of this no longer even second city, and they seized upon it. At last the flyover on the prairie—home to more bustling, inventive, hardscrabble theater than anyplace on earth—was getting its due.

Broadway Union Takes On ‘Priscilla’ Over Recorded Music

NYTimes.com: "In a bid to protect jobs, the Broadway musicians’ union is waging an unusually aggressive, political-style campaign against the new musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” in hopes of undercutting the use of recorded music during live theatrical performances.

MakerBot Is a New 3-D Printer

NYTimes.com: "“There’s nothing like working with plastic!” Marius Watz announced to an appreciative crowd at the start of a talk in Brooklyn recently. Mr. Watz, a Norwegian-born artist, was describing his work with MakerBot, a new consumer-grade, desktop-size 3-D printer. With some assembly and do-it-yourself tinkering, the MakerBot makes, or “prints,” three-dimensional objects from molten plastic, creating a piggy bank, say, or a Darth Vader head from a computer design at the touch of a button.

AFTRA Approves Committee to Work With SAG on Merger Plan

Backstage: "AFTRA moved Saturday towards merger with SAG, with the union's national board passing a resolution approving the appointment of a New Union Committee to work with the SAG Merger Task Force. SAG passed a similar resolution two weeks ago.

'War Horse,' 'Book of Mormon,' 'Anything Goes' Lead Outer Critics Winners

Backstage: "“War Horse,” “The Book of Mormon,” and “Anything Goes” led the 61st annual Outer Critics Circle Awards on Sunday with four wins each, including the awards for best new play, best new musical, and best revival, respectively.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards honor achievement on and off Broadway. “Other Desert Cities” won for outstanding new Off-Broadway play and “The Kid” for outstanding new Off-Broadway musical.

Hong Kong Academy to Offer Cantonese Opera Degree

Backstage: "A Hong Kong performing arts school will offer a Cantonese opera degree in the latest effort to preserve the traditional art form designated as a key cultural heritage.
The Academy for Performing Arts said its program will combine theory and practice to prepare students for Cantonese opera careers as performers, educators or arts administrators.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Supporting the Arts

Carnegie Mellon University: "Support the region’s arts and cultural organizations during PITTSBURGH IS ART Day of Giving, a 24-hour online donation match campaign, Wednesday, May 11. Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts and its Conflict Kitchen, Miller Gallery, Studio for Creative Inquiry and Waffle Shop are participating.

Poetry carries downsized 'Antony and Cleopatra'

Post Gazette: "Shakespeare loved the play of opposites, no more so than in 'Antony and Cleopatra,' a drama charged with the energy of competing themes -- Rome vs. Egypt, love vs. war, obligation vs. libido, man vs. woman.
His title characters are godlike creatures. Antony is Mars and Hercules, Cleopatra Venus and Isis. They embrace, part and embrace again in a world on the brink of modernity, a world where they are out of time. Their place in history elevates 'Antony and Cleopatra' into epic theater, perhaps the playwright's only true epic.

Arthur Laurents was a theater great, as well as a great theatrical character

Post Gazette: "As Stephen Sondheim is the first to point out, it's the book writers of musicals who always get it in the neck. If they're not ignored entirely (as in 'Sondheim's 'Sweeney Todd' '), then they're usually held responsible for the work's shortcomings by critics, who tend to be more comfortable criticizing the story than the score.

'The Marvelous Wonderettes' a high-energy trip

Post Gazette: "If your car blasts the music of the 1950s and '60s and 'Forever Plaid' really floats your boat, 'The Marvelous Wonderettes' may be just the ticket to Cloud 9 on the nostalgia meter.
Roger Bean, whose other musicals include circa-1940s 'The Andrews Brothers' and 'Summer of Love,' has created a girl-group extravaganza of penny-candy colors, high energy and 33 songs from the oldies station songbook -- from 'All I Have to Do Is Dream' to 'You Don't Own Me' alphabetically, or as the plot goes, from 'Lipstick on Your Collar' to 'Respect.'

Pittsburgh International Children's Festival kicks off in Oakland

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "On Wednesday, regardless of weather fair or foul, the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival will blossom in Oakland.
It would take more than gray skies or wet spots to keep the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Pittsburgh International Children's Theatre from celebrating the festival's 25th anniversary.

USITT/USA Exhibits Shipped to the Prague Quadrennial

Stage Directions: "The 37 designs chosen for the USITT-USA National Exhibit for the Prague Quadrennial have been packed up and shipped off to Prague. Faculty and students from the University of Montana in Missoula constructed the exhibits, including work from 3 Legged Dog’s production of Losing Something, a response to the traumatic effects of 9/11; and Paul Chan’s production of Waiting for Godot, staged in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. The PQ takes place from June 16-26 in Prague, Czech Republic.

4 Tools for Creating Websites on the Fly

Technology in the Arts: "Recently, I’ve been hearing about website creation platforms for artists, musicians, and designers. (They are also great for student portfolios!) These days, many people are starting to focus their efforts on mobile apps or websites, but still more may lack a functional, easy-to-use website in the first place or need a secondary site, like a company intranet or a micro-site for an exhibit or show.

Philadelphia Theatre Alliance Aims to Double Attendance with Casting Couch

Stage Directions: "The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia is connecting theatre celebrities with the public through more Philly Theatre Casting Couch events. Supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge - this audience engagement initiative aims double ticket sales to Philadelphia theatre by 2020.

The Artist and Social Transformation

Art Works: "Last Wednesday, May 4, I participated in a Ford Foundation Fresh Angle panel discussion with fellow artists and activists Khalid Abdalla, Teddy Cruz, Ariel Dorfman, and Joy Mboya about “Artists on the Front Lines of Social Change.” Ai Wei Wei was, in fact, supposed to join us on the panel, but his arrest just weeks before made that impossible. His arrest also underlined the power of art and its capacity to threaten those invested in a repressive status quo.

Broadway League Honors Its Own

Stage Directions: "The honorees of the Broadway League Awards, honoring excellence and achievement for Touring Broadway, were hosted today by George Hamilton during the Broadway League’s 2011 Spring Road Conference. First presented in 1992, the Broadway League Awards recognize the contributions of those who have displayed exemplary service to the Broadway industry and are considered innovators of their craft.

BBC and RSC launch student Shakespeare competition

The Stage: "The BBC has teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company to launch a nationwide competition which will see secondary school students perform speeches and monologues written by Shakespeare.
Off By Heart Shakespeare is inviting schools to nominate a student to perform a Shakespeare piece at one of nine regional heats, which are being delivered in collaboration with the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Spider-Man Musical Rewrite Hews to Comic Book

NYTimes.com: "After a three-week performance hiatus to accommodate a creative overhaul, at a cost of $5 million, “Spider-Man” is set to resume previews on Thursday with what its producers said they hoped would be a lighter, circuslike spirit. Five flying sequences have been added to the previous two dozen. The roles of Aunt May, Uncle Ben and Mary Jane Watson — cherished characters from Spider-Man lore — have been expanded. The musical’s composers, Bono and the Edge of U2, have added a few new songs and rewritten several others.

GrouponLive: Live Nation, Groupon to launch discount ticket site GrouponLive

latimes.com: "Hoping to boost concert attendance in a hobbled economy, Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Entertainment Inc., is joining with the popular online deals site Groupon to launch a discount ticket site for live events.
Dubbed GrouponLive, the service, expected to launch in June, is aimed at easing both the perennial problem of filling empty seats at concerts and sporting events, including last year's big drop in attendance that prompted numerous cancellations and left promoters with a hefty number of unsold tickets toward the end of summer.

Critics' Circle Honors 'Good People,' 'Mormon'

Backstage: "David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People” was named the best play of the 2010-11 season by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Monday night. The organization will present its annual awards May 16 at Angus McIndoe Restaurant in New York.

Theater World names winners

Variety: "Ellen Barkin, Jim Parsons, John Larroquette and Zachary Quinto are all on the list of winners for the 2011 Theater World Awards, given to thesps for Broadway or Off Broadway debuts.
This year Theater World also launched a new laurel, the Lunt-Fontanne Award for ensemble thesping, which went to the cast of 'The Motherfucker with the Hat' starring Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock, Annabella Sciorra, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Yul Vazquez.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Shaw/Stratford festivals trip June 7-11

Poat Gazette: "There's something new in the Post-Gazette's annual Critics Choice motorcoach theater tour to Canada's Shaw and Stratford Shakespeare Festivals, heading northward June 7-11.
This Shaw-Stratford excursion is a tradition 30 years old. Normally, only the plays are different -- why meddle with success? But this year, a variation in the Stratford Festival schedule actually leaves us a free afternoon to explore that lively theater town.

Cirque du Soleil's show in Strip District to trace development of mankind

Post Gazette: "It has been fascinating to watch the evolution of Cirque du Soleil from a cadre of 20 street performers to an arts and entertainment juggernaut that has scoured the globe and literally taken hold of Las Vegas.
Now the Montreal powerhouse has turned its attention to evolution as the theme of its latest show, 'TOTEM' (pronounced toh-TEM), which last week plunked its colorful blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau in the Strip District. Only its third tent production to visit Pittsburgh ('Quidam' in 2002 and 'Varekai' in 2005 were the others) and fifth Cirque production overall begins Friday and runs through May 29.

Geyer Performance Arts Center: Relationships drive 'On Golden Pond'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Geyer Performance Arts Center in Scottdale will add to its list of prestigious performances as the theater group presents 'On Golden Pond.'
Based on the play written by Ernest Thompson in 1979, the story focuses on the relationship of Ethel and Norman Thayer, an aging couple whose love and hardships have endured decades.
A 1981 screen adaptation starred Henry Fonda and was touted as Katharine Hepburn's best performance.

Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' tackles the world's creation

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The large blue-and-yellow striped apparition that recently appeared on a Strip District parking lot is not a mushroom created by prolonged spring rains.
It's Cirque du Soleil's way of announcing that the circus has come to town.
The Montreal-based company will perform 'Totem' beginning Thursday in its Grand Chapiteau (big tent) temporarily located on a parking lot near 20th and Smallman streets in the Strip District.

Daniel Goldfarb and Jonathan Marc Sherman on Kids

NYTimes.com: "IT doesn’t take long for the playwright Daniel Goldfarb, 37, to whip out his phone to show off an adorable video he shot of his older daughter dancing while his baby plays the piano. “Look at the Dogma cinematography,” he says to Jonathan Marc Sherman, 42-year-old fellow playwright and father of two similarly aged children (15 months and 4 years). Mr. Sherman moons over the cuteness, wistfully recalling how his kids once played on a similar piano before it was hurled across the room. These are not tiger dads. Judging by their comic new plays about anxious New York fatherhood, they’re more like kittens.

Tony Kushner Is Now Likely to Get CUNY Honor

NYTimes.com: "Under mounting pressure, the City University of New York board of trustees moved on Friday to reverse its decision earlier this week to withhold an honorary degree from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner because of one trustee’s concerns about Mr. Kushner’s views regarding Israel.

‘Tales of the City’ Become a Musical

NYTimes.com: "JAKE SHEARS, the blue-eyed frontman of the disco-loving band Scissor Sisters, says he still vividly remembers first encountering “Tales of the City,” Armistead Maupin’s freewheeling novel about a group of searchers, swingers and eccentrics at play in 1976 San Francisco.

The leading man plays a killer whale in Berlin's underwater opera

I09: "What links a scientific research station in Antarctica with a unique opera performance in Germany's capital?
The answer, unlikely as it seems, is underwater sounds. Since 2005, a remote acoustic observatory has been recording the sounds of the deep sea using underwater microphones placed below the ice shelf. These otherworldly sounds provided the inspiration for an opera that premiered on Sunday night in Berlin.

Bumps to bounty

Variety: "While a certain superhero in red tights dangled from wires in vain hopes of a premiere, Broadway's major tuners went about the business of -- apologies to Stephen Sondheim -- 'putting it together' so they might be able to say: 'Look, we at least opened in Gotham.' And got nommed for a best musical Tony in the process.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Pittsburgh playwright Kaufman at center of 'Louder Faster'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Unlike their lead character in 'Louder Faster,' playwrights Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher have no problem being known as collaborators.
At the center of 'Louder Faster,' their farcical comedy that is having its world premiere at City Theatre, is Pittsburgh native son and Broadway playwright George S. Kaufman.

Restaurant, 2 CMU dorms evacuated after fire

Post Gazette: "A fire in a pizza oven at a Carnegie Mellon University restaurant caused the precautionary evacuation of two adjacent dormitories as well as the restaurant Friday morning.

Spotlight: Kate Powers, Director

2AMt: "Here’s this week’s installment of our director-to-director interview series. I am really excited and inspired by the great conversation that has resulted from these spotlights and the #2amdir hashtag. Thanks, all, for reading and contributing!

Lectures, readings to focus on South Asian diasporic theater

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Quantum Theatre and the University of Pittsburgh have united to present a three-day series of lectures, staged readings and conference events that focus on South and Southeast Asian diasporic theater and performance.
Organized by the University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center and its Department of Theatre Arts, under the direction of historian and theater artist Neilesh Bose, 'Re-Orienting Asia: Southern Asian Performance Across Frontiers' will be Thursday through May 14 at venues in Oakland.

Sloan Foundation Grants Help Bring Plays to Life

NYTimes.com: "Anna Ziegler’s play “Photograph 51” focuses the spotlight on Rosalind Franklin, the least heralded of the four scientists who discovered the structure of DNA in 1953. Although Franklin’s death from cancer at 37 precluded her sharing the Nobel Prize that this breakthrough brought, her X-ray photography provided the critical evidence of the molecule’s famed double helix.

Just Another NYC Swinger's Party That I'm Not Invited To

Topless Robot: "You know how none of us really expected X-Men: First Class to be any good but now all the trailers are out and it seems kind of awesome and most of us are actually looking forward to it now? That's the vibe I'm getting with the Spider-Man reboot. I know I said this already, but I'm so excited to not have an entirely CG Spider-Man bouncing around the whole damn time. I wouldn't expect there to be no CG -- actual humans just can't move like that, no matter many radioactive spiders bite them -- but by incorporating some real, live-action swinging footage I think it'll help the overall look considerably. And if doesn't, it still let me make a lame 'swinging' joke, so whatever.

Andrew Paul talks about PICT's 2011 season on Theater Talk

YouTube: "Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's 2011 Season

Live Nation says concert business looking good but not yet out of the woods

Los Angeles Times: "The concert season is off to a good start, but don't set your cigarette lighter too high just yet.
That was the message from Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the country's largest concert promoter, which reported a 17.4% increase in its first quarter revenue and a narrower loss thanks to growth in its ticketing and festivals businesses.
The Beverly Hills live event conglomerate posted sales of $849.4 million in the quarter ended March 31, up from $723.4 million a year ago. The company lost $54.3 million, or 27 cents a share, down from a $123-million loss, or 83 cents a share, a year earlier. That loss included $77.5 million in write-offs related to Live Nation's 2010 merger with Ticketmaster and other factors.

Winner of the 2011 Student Design Competition Announced

iSquint.net: "Have you been on edge waiting for the announcement? Well, after three weeks, countless hours of viewing plots and paperwork, debating between the judges, we have a winner. Before we announce the winner, I would like to first thank our judges, Mr. Kevin Linzey from Vectorworks, Mr. John McKernon, developer of Lightwright, Lighting Design and Mr. Template himself, Mr. Steve Shelley and certainly not least, Mr. Gregg Hillmar, author of Light Plot Deconstructed. Thank you for all your time and effort sifting through the entries. I would also like to thank all the students that entered into the Student Design Competition. You guys didn’t make this easy!

Julie Taymor to Deliver Keynote Address at TCG Conference

Stage Directions: "File under “didn’t see that coming.” Julie Taymor—she of the $70 million Spider-Man spectacle—will be a keynote speaker at the Theatre Communications Group national conference in Los Angeles, June 16-18, 2011. According to the press release, her speech will address the “central question of the conference”: “What if…?”

Fans get free 'Mormon'

Variety: "Coming off a week in which 'The Book of Mormon' racked up 14 Tony noms, producers of the nothing's-sacred tuner have a lot of options to capitalize on all the critical love.
So you probably wouldn't expect them to sked an extra matinee performance -- and offer it free to proven fans of the show.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Meeting of the Minds

Carnegie Mellon University: "A team of students interested in the environment are investigating the feasibility of a bio-gas digestion unit on campus.
Why? Anna Lenhart (E'11) argues its benefits for campus.
'First, it would allow for the campus to turn organic waste into compost,' Lenhart said. 'Using that compost on campus would lead to reduced compost and fertilizer costs.'

New Bacharach musical has San Diego bow

Variety: "A new tuner from Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater ('Spring Awakening') is among the world preems lined up for the 2011-12 season at San Diego's Old Globe Theater, where a musical co-written by Itamar Moses and a play by Matthew Lopez are also among the offerings set to bow.

Out with the girls: 'Marvelous Wonderettes' actresses bond like their characters

Post Gazette: "You know what it's like when the girls get together. They gab, they giggle, they talk over each other.
Take the band of sisters known as 'The Marvelous Wonderettes.' the title of the Pittsburgh-premiere CLO Cabaret production. The show has opened during prom season, appropriately enough because Act 1 finds the girls at prom time, circa 1958, and looking toward the future.

PMT welcomes the '60s for 'Hairspray'

Post Gazette: "The kids and pros of Pittsburgh Musical Theater are going all 1960s on us for 'Hairspray,' the Broadway hit based on the John Waters movie, with a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Mr. Shaiman.

Taking Young People to Broadway Shows

NYTimes.com: "YOU don’t expect your 12-year-old daughter to lean over during a Broadway show and ask why that guy onstage is tying a rubber tube around his arm or why a troupe of dancing men is wearing sequined dresses.

From sketch to stage

Berkeley Rep Blog: "Maggi Yule is unflappable. As the director of Berkeley Rep’s costume shop, she’s handled an eclectic season of all-day marathons, puppet orchestras, and solo shows without breaking a sweat. Her latest challenge was to pull together a staggering 43 costumes for Sarah Ruhl’s new version of Three Sisters, a coproduction between Berkeley Rep and Yale Repertory Theatre. For mere mortals, this would be a daunting endeavor. For Maggi and the Berkeley Rep costume shop, it’s just another Tuesday.

Turn Off the Dark's Reign of Terror Returns on May 12th

Topless Robot: "Just when you thought it was safe to perform in the musical theater... Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is back! As the musical's new producers are happy to tell you, everything's different and new and totally awesome and now there are no problems whatsoever.

Your taste is why your own work disappoints you

kottke.org: "Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.

Arena Stage Lauches Pay Your Age Ticket Program

Stage Directions: "Beginning with the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! this summer, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will offer tickets for patrons ages 5 to 30 in the new Pay Your Age savings program.

The Q&A: Mark Rylance, Actor

The Economist: "MARK RYLANCE is one of those rare performers who manage to make everything more interesting. His magnetic presence elevates even the most staid entertainment traditions, including BBC dramas, Shakespeare revivals and the Tony Awards ceremony (where he recently read, in lieu of an acceptance speech, a poem by Louis Jenkins, a Minnesota writer).

Chay Yew: Chay Yew named artistic director of Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater

latimes.com: "Chay Yew, the playwright and stage director who headed Center Theatre Group's Asian Theatre Workshop from 1995 to 2005, was named Tuesday as the next artistic director of Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater, making him the first Asian American to head a major regional theater.

Theater Talkback: The Honorable Tony Kushner

NYTimes.com: "I have neither the background nor the inclination to hold forth on Tony Kushner’s political views on the Middle East. But I was deeply saddened to read of the City University of New York’s decision to rescind an honorary degree for Mr. Kushner, after a trustee at CUNY said the playwright had made disparaging remarks about the State of Israel, particularly in regard to Israel’s policy toward Palestinians.

Members of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts are working on a plan to start construction.

OrlandoSentinel.com: "A group of deep-pocketed board members has tentatively agreed to personally guarantee loans to cover the $16 million funding gap that has stalled construction of the Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
A dozen or more benefactors are working to lock in a plan to secure a line of credit, and if successful, the first phase of the $383 million project could go to the Orlando City Council for approval May 23. Construction could start soon afterward.

'Gypsy' Playwright Arthur Laurents Dies in NYC

Backstage: "Arthur Laurents, the director, playwright and screenwriter who wrote such enduring stage musicals as 'West Side Story' and 'Gypsy,' as well as the movie classics 'Rope' and 'The Way We Were,' died Thursday. He was 93.

Baz Luhrmann's Works Are Brought to the Stage

Backstage: "Shane Scheel and Chris Bratten's For the Record series at entertainment venue BARRE, vt in Los Feliz, CA. The supper club's executive producer/director and musical director (respectively) are making waves with their musical and dramatic programs based on the movie libraries of acclaimed directors' like Quentin Tarantino, John Hughes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tony nominations sets up battle with local ties

Post Gazette: "'The Book of Mormon' was nominated for 14 Tony Awards Tuesday, making the new musical collaboration from the creators of 'South Park,' 'Avenue Q' and 'Spamalot' the front-runner for the 65th celebration of Broadway's best.
Among musical revivals, there are just two nominees, 'Anything Goes' and 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,' setting up a friendly rivalry with local ties when the winners are announced June 12 at the Beacon Theatre in New York.

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre commissions visual artists for posters of season's plays

Post Gazette: "You know summer is around the corner when a Marvel comic book title like 'Thor' is the opening salvo at the May box office and Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre is getting under way with the comic-inspired theme 'Dynamic Duos.'
Artistic director Andrew Paul likes to theme PICT's seasons 'because it gives us a creative way to link all the plays in a way that works for the artists and in a way that I think also is interesting to the audience. It can often be pretty loose; some plays fit the theme better than others.'

Program benefits Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Dancers' Trust fund

Post gazette: "Just as dance is an ephemeral art, so is a ballet dancer's performance career.
Its physical demands result in many taking their final bows as early as their mid-30s, if not sooner.
But there is life after dance, said former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre artist Ernest Tolentino, who helped found in 1993 the PBT Dancers' Trust to ease the financial strains of transitioning to a new career.

Western Pennsylvania connections make good with Tony nominations

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Former Squirrel Hill resident Kathleen Marshall and Point Park College Conservatory of Performing Arts alumnus Rob Ashford, have each received dual nominations for best direction of a musical and best choreography of musical.
Ashford directed and choreographed the revival of 'How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' Marshall directed and choreographed the revival of 'Anything Goes.'
Early in their careers, Marshall and Ashford performed with Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and have returned to work there multiple times.

Clash of cultures sparks comedy in 'Butterscotch'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Apple Hill Playhouse opens its new season with 'Butterscotch,' a humorous play that centers around a vintage car named for its candy yellow paint, and an unlikely friendship between a New York restaurant critic and a fan of roadside diners.

'Are We There Yet?' explores journey into adulthood

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Beth Corning loves the questions life brings up. Exploring them fuels her creativity. Her newest work -- 'Are We There Yet?' -- was prompted by one of those milestones in life.
'I think those of us in our 50s, particularly, are suddenly faced with what is ultimately the inevitable but nevertheless always-surprising moment when we are making decisions for our parents. To me that is very monumental and earth-shaking, life-shaking, because I'm my parents' kid -- a kid,' she says.

At the National Theatre in London, Other People's Pain

NYTimes.com: "I’m all for authenticity in the theater except when it feels inauthentic. There’s another way of saying that it is possible to admire “London Road,” now in repertory at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe auditorium, without particularly believing it. Or even being especially moved by it.

Ch√Ętelet's 'Sweeney Todd' Stays True to Detailed Musical Roots

NYTimes.com: "“Sweeney Todd” is, of course, no ordinary musical. “Dark operetta” and “a movie for the stage” is how Mr. Sondheim has described his 1979 thriller, emphasizing the influence of films with music by Bernard Herrmann and in particular one called “Hanover Square” about a mad composer. The story of a throat-slashing barber and the cannibalistic meat pies his actions facilitate derive not from film noir, however, but a play by Christopher Bond, which in turn is based on a version of the saga serialized in 19th-century London.

Taymor Reflects on Failure in Post- ‘Spider-Man’ Q&A

WSJ: "Director Julie Taymor made some of her first public comments about “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” since her dismissal from its helm in March, discussing her experiences with failure and defending what she characterized as the musical’s broad appeal.
“I think it’s very important to be true to your heart and true to your vision,” Taymor said during a Q&A about her career at the Tribeca Film Festival. “I am passionate about the projects that I do, and I would hate, even if they fail in certain ways…” she trailed off. “There are many questions about why things don’t work.”

Shakespeare's Globe announces record year

The Stage: "Shakespeare’s Globe played to 91% capacity across its Kings and Rogues season last year, which the venue claims is a record.
The 255-performance season at the Globe’s Bankside base, which included Macbeth and Howard Brenton’s Anne Boleyn, attracted audiences numbering more than 350,000 across the season. This was equivalent to 91% capacity overall, up 4% on the previous year.

PlayhouseSquare | A Model of Economic Viability in the Arts

WSJ.com: "'Arts and culture is losing its market share of philanthropy,' according to the latest National Arts Index, published by Americans for the Arts. But several Cleveland performing-arts and public-media organizations are in better shape than their counterparts around the country because they are part of PlayhouseSquare, a unique business model in downtown Cleveland.
After New York's Lincoln Center, PlayhouseSquare is the second-largest performing arts center in the country by audience capacity. Home to 10 performance spaces with a total of more than 9,000 seats, it attracts more than a million visitors to its approximately 1,000 performing-arts events annually.

Architect Frank Gehry Builds on Virtues of Play

Miller-McCune: "It’s an occupational hazard of architecture that students will burst from school into the profession filled with vim to stamp their own creative visions on the physical world only to find themselves 10 years later in a cubicle specifying screw sizes for doorjambs. And if someone does invite them to propose an imaginative design, the client’s objections to aesthetics, to costs, to pragmatism, can lead the architect to water it down until the essence is gone. Discouraging. About 47 percent of architects are unhappy in their profession, some of that due to this kind of letdown.

Will the SAG-AFTRA Merger Happen This Time?

Backstage: "The announcement April 30 that the Screen Actors Guild had created a committee charged with forging a plan to merge SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists was important for both unions. It was not, however, a big surprise. Anyone who has paid attention to the two unions for the last two years knows that this process began informally but very much in earnest back in 2009, when Ken Howard was elected SAG president on a pro-merger platform. Last Saturday's news is only the biggest step toward merger to come before the next big step, which should happen May 14, when AFTRA is expected to announce its own parallel committee. Once those two groups, led by their respective union presidents, sit down in the same room together for the first time, SAG and AFTRA will be officially engaged in talks to create a so-called 'successor union' encompassing members of both organizations.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

2011 Awards Season Roundup

New York Drama Alumni Clan: "Spring is in the air which can only mean one thing: Awards Season! As usual, the School of Drama is exceptionally well-represented in all the recent announcements of awards nominations.

2011 Tony Nominations Announced; Book of Mormon Earns 14 Nominations

Playbill.com: "Two Carnegie Mellon grads working in The Book of Mormon did well: Rory O'Malley, who plays the repressed but tap-happy missionary Elder McKinley, was nominated in the Featured Actor category, and Josh Gad was nominated as Best Actor for playing loudmouth Elder Cunningham. Andrew Rannells (as Elder Price) was also nommed as Best Actor, and Nikki M. James (Nabulungi) was nommed as Best Featured Actress.

Broadway Reacts! We Talk to 2011 Tony Award Nominees

Playbill.com: "Josh Gad, Best Actor in a Musical, The Book of Mormon
'I was actually in bed with the baby, and we were burping her — pretty unromantic way to find out — but it's good because she got the gas out, and I got a call from my manager who was screaming — couldn't really make out what she was saying, but I had a feeling, I understood.

Ghost Light Collective, Class of 2011

Glorious Wreckage: "On Friday, we had our annual Awards Ceremony. I've been part of the communities of a half dozen academic theatre departments, and I've never seen one as tightly knit as the CMU School of Drama, and I think these kinds of ceremonies have a lot to do with that.

Glue Factory asks: What is a grown-up?

Post Gazette: "To prep for an upcoming dance project, choreographer Beth Corning spent a day on the North Side at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh videotaping people's reactions to a seemingly simple question -- When does one become an adult?

Schenley musicals go out on high note

Post Gazette: "If the end had to come, and it did, and it has, 'Seussical the Musical!' is a fitting vehicle. Energetically seizing the stage as the 40th and final Schenley High School spring musical, it cocks its snoot with jaunty defiance and indulges in one last joyful, sardonic Zowie!
This is the Dr. Seuss of the deliciously subversive children's books, which are as rich in heart as in wild invention. Their knowing, wise-guy humor never obscures the honest emotion at the core. So what better for Schenley's final musical?

'Book of Mormon' leads with 14 Tony nominations

Post Gazette: "'The Book of Mormon' was nominated for 14 Tony Awards yesterday, making the new musical collaboration from the creators of 'South Park,' 'Avenue Q' and 'Spamalot' the front-runner when the winners are announced June 12.
Among musical revivals, there are just two nominees, 'Anything Goes' and 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,' setting up a friendly rivalry with local ties.

'Antony & Cleopatra': Ultimate power couple still makes good drama

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Ask Helena Ruoti how she sees Cleopatra and a cornucopia of adjectives tumble forth -- vivacious, intelligent, educated and cunning.
'She was a Mata Hari type and that's what made her so exciting,' says Ruoti, who will play Cleopatra in Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's season opening production of 'Antony & Cleopatra.' 'She spoke nine languages. She guerillaed her way onto the Actium battlefield. She was so wealthy, so resourceful and (someone) who could speak (directly) to the kings, they wanted to fight on their side.'

'The Book of Mormon' leads Tony Award nominations

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'The Book of Mormon' nabbed a leading 14 Tony Award nominations Tuesday, earning the profane musical one nod short of the record for most nominations and putting it in the driver's seat when the awards are handed out next month.

First Peek Ever Inside America's Most Successful Movie Theater

The Hollywood Reporter: "It's just past 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, and at least a dozen people waiting to be let in are peering anxiously through the glass doors of the AMC Empire 25 on 42nd Street in Times Square. One man is pacing the lobby, having slipped through unnoticed when an electrician entered.

'Book of Mormon,' 'Scottsboro Boys' Lead Tony Nominations

NYTimes.com: "If the Tony Award nominations are sometimes a mix of honoring excellence and filling out categories with good-not-great nominees, this year’s slate represents an unusual onslaught of quality.

This Time, The Tonys Grow Up and Get It Right

NYTimes.com: "What’s this? A full slate of real, original plays – and I mean plays, like mom and dad used to dress up for and would talk about over martinis afterward. Though the Tony nominations announced Tuesday morning didn’t offer many surprises (the hearty, 12-nomination celebration of “Scottsboro Boys” was the only mild shocker), it did confirm some good news. Legitimate dramas are still being written, and they’re being written well.

Peavey Accuses Behringer of More Patent Infringement

Stage Directions: "Peavey Electronics Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of musical instruments and professional sound equipment, has initiated multiple actions against Behringer for various intellectual property issues, including patent infringement, false marking, trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The Tony Nominations 2011 - Women Writers Completely Missing

Women and Hollywood: "Broadway has a major gender problem. Women buy the lion’s share of tickets, yet there are no women nominated for best new play. Of course it’s hard for a female writer to be nominated when there were NO plays by women in contention. There were 13 plays on the list and NOT A SINGLE ONE WAS WRITTEN BY A WOMAN. So totally unacceptable.

Lookingglass Theatre Company snags 2011 Tony Award

WBEZ: "Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company has won the 2011 Tony Award for Excellence in Regional Theatre, making it the fifth Chicago Off-Loop troupe to win the coveted award.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning (May 3) in New York City by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theaters and Producers, the joint bestowers of American theater's highest honor.

E-Readers Fail At Education

Fast Company: "Cash-strapped students across the U.S. have watched the rise of the e-readers with anticipation. It's understandable; these devices could ostensibly replace the expensive textbooks that many students shell out for every semester. Eventually. For now, e-readers are still supplemental devices because many of them don't work well and, more importantly, they don't work well with the human brain.

Tony Awards 2011: Musical from South Park creators leads nominations

Telegraph: "A musical with a key-note song featuring the repeated motif '**** you God, in the ass, mouth and ****' might not strike one as the stuff of award-winning, universally acclaimed Broadway fodder.
But Book Of Mormon: The Musical is being heralded as one of the finest new musicals for years. Today it was announced that the show is up for 14 Tony Awards – just one shy of the record for nominations – including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Playwrights Yasmina Reza and Christopher Hampton discuss 'God of Carnage'

Los Angeles Times: "The barbed insults that fly fast and deadly each night in 'God of Carnage' at the Ahmanson Theatre come from the pen of Yasmina Reza, the celebrated French playwright and winner of two Tony Awards. Working once again with British playwright Christopher Hampton as translator, she has written an acidic exploration of middle-class savagery and liberal hypocrisy.

Arts venues band together to fund new festival of finest radical theatre

The Observer: "It might not seem the right time to launch an international arts festival, but Nottingham is to take this fearless step. Later this spring the city will hold neat11, the first Nottingham European arts and theatre festival, to prove the way to beat the cuts in the arts is to pool resources.

Why we need more Brits at the helm

Telegraph: "Having recently visited the miraculous city of Dresden, I was delighted to hear that Prof Martin Roth, superintendent of its magnificently displayed art collections, has been named successor to Sir Mark Jones as director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Roth takes up the post in September, and the whisper is that he is a strong appointment.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dance Council ends season on a feel-good, funkalicious note

Post Gazette: "Ah, the Sixties. Well, let's specify the High Sixties (1965-73), full of peace, love and understanding.
It formed a singular social climate as the walls of racism and sexism began to tumble. Integration gathered steam and more women joined and climbed the workforce ranks.

Labor artist's works come to light in interpretation

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Beginning Wednesday, fans of the provocative labor artist Maxo Vanka, and those interested in the preservation of local landmarks, will have an opportunity to see the results of an ongoing restoration of the artist's best known local works.

'Prophets of Funk' takes the audience higher with rhythm

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "David Dorfman Dance brought the sounds, the moves and the funk of the '70s to the Byham Theater on Saturday.
A presentation of Pittsburgh Dance Council, Dorfman's latest work, 'Prophets of Funk,' uses the music of Sly and the Family Stone to celebrate that group's sounds and populist social philosophy.
The pre-curtain announcements advised audience members to stow their 8-tracks beneath their seats and exhorted them: 'Don't sit back. Don't relax. Please enjoy.'
And enjoy they did.

Stage Right to present comedy 'Bright Ideas' at Boyd center

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When tested by a stage-world maxim in the final days before her directorial debut in community theater, Monica Filippone didn't flinch.
The Kiski Area High School speech and theater teacher knew the show — Eric Coble's modern-day dark comedy 'Bright Ideas' — must and would go. The show is being presented by Stage Right at Boyd Community Center, O'Hara.
When actor Matt Lamb, whose character, Joshua, became too ill to continue with the production, Filippone was faced with finding a replacement — quickly.

Pittsburgh Opera concludes its season with heavenly performance

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Once again Pittsburgh Opera concludes its season with an outstanding presentation of a 20th-century masterpiece, which provides a welcome supplement to the repertoire of beloved standard repertoire operas. Francis Poulenc's 'Dialogues des Carmelites' (Dialogues of the Carmelites) is an unforgettable experience.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Chad Deity, Angels, Christian Borle, Laurie Metcalf Are Lortel Winners

Playbill.com: "Winners of the 2011 Lucille Lortel Awards, representing excellence Off-Broadway, were announced on May 1. Christian Borle of Peter and the Starcatcher and Laurie Metcalf of The Other Place are among recipients.

Felix Barrett, Punchdrunk’s Artistic Director, and a Special Key

NYTimes.com: "But in the end, answers are overrated. “Explanation is a killer of all wonderment,” said Felix Barrett, the artistic director of Punchdrunk, the British experimental theater troupe.
Or as Albert Einstein, who had no shortage of answers, said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”

From Ringside, Gay Man’s Play Packs a Punch

NYTimes.com: "Although the trainee, Peter Griggs, and Michael Onello, the gym owner and Mr. Griggs’s coach, work out together in real life, they were acting out scenes from Mr. Griggs’s new play, “Killer Queen: The Story of Paco the Pink Pounder,” which is being performed through May 8 in the cramped, sweat-stained Michael the Boxer Gym and Barbershop in SoMa.

Blaming the staff

Backstage at BackstageJobs.com | Life behind the scenes…: "Terry Teachout recently wrote a “Sightings” column for the Wall Street Journal titled “April is the Cruelest Month for Purveyors of High Culture,” in which he listed several arts organizations suffering through financial problems. Specifically, the “Heart of America Shakespeare Festival” in Kansas City, Syracuse Symphony, the New York City Opera, Intiman Theater, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Production Positions - Williamstown Theatre Festival

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "If interested - please submit your cover letter and resume to jobs@wtfestival.org with the subject line 'PRODUCTION POSITION'. Staff positions receive housing and a stipend DOE.

Caution: Memories Ahead

ATW: "The Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at Lincoln Center and the growing trend of “cine-casts” not withstanding, the primary purveyor of theatrical memories is precisely that: memory. We can read about prior productions, or speak with those who saw shows that we did not, if we want to have a greater understanding of what made a particular show so good, to go beyond the words of a script in the page and into the realm of the experiential. It is a time honored tradition, and I have greatly enjoyed being the recipients of the memories of others: A.R. Gurney’s story of being a student at the Yale School of Drama and seeing the U.S. premiere of Long Day’s Journey Into Night during its tryout at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven; Steppenwolf Theatre Company executive director David Hawkanson (my former boss at Hartford Stage) recalling his first Broadway show, My Fair Lady with Andrews and Harrison at the Mark Hellinger; William Goldman’s seminal book The Season.

Inventables

Cool Tools: "You can buy hardware store materials of the future from these folks: Translucent concrete, rubber glass, unwetable sand, suction cup tape, etc. They primarily sell small quantities of very innovative stuff, but will work with you if you like what you tried and want it in bulk. The materials and devices are so amazing you'll invent things just to use them.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Broadway box offices enjoy boffo business

Seattle Times Newspaper: "Broadway box offices were busy places last week - 11 musicals made more than $1 million.nThe Broadway League said Monday that total grosses for the week ending Sunday soared to $28.9 million, up from $23.8 million the week before.

Curtain closes on a master: Marc Masterson reflects on Actors Theatre of Louisville

The Courier-Journal.com: "When Marc Masterson reflects on the most significant changes in American theater over the last 20 years, he considers the decline of a season subscriber base in favor of single ticket sales, the rise of touring ensembles, and the emergence of a strong network of small and midsized theaters competing alongside larger regional institutions.

Performance artist Steve Pellegrino explores his working-class ethnic routes through the accordion.

Pittsburgh City Paper: "There was a time when Steve Pellegrino didn't play accordion. But you have to go back a ways -- some 50 years, to before Pellegrino took his first lesson, at about age 7. Shouldering an accordion wasn't the act of eccentricity it might be today: In the Mon Valley coal town of New Eagle, accordions were ubiquitous, a fixture at weddings for popular numbers and ethnic tunes alike.

Superior Donuts - Stage - Theater Reviews & Features

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Following the qualified success of his earlier plays Killer Joe and Bug, in 2008 playwright Tracy Letts flattened the theatrical world with August: Osage County, winning the Tony, Pulitzer and universal acclaim. Despite its huge cast, twisted storyline and three-hour running time, the unlikely popularity of August: Osage County suggested the arrival of a new, singular voice in the American Theater.

Southern Theater faces shutdown deadline

StarTribune.com: "If officials at the Southern Theater are nervous as Saturday's life-or-death deadline approaches, they are not showing it. The Southern recently declared it was in a financial crisis and said it needed to raise $400,000 in contributions by April 30 or face shutting its door.

The fixers

StarTribune.com: "These four women -- part of the new arts generation -- have revitalized institutions that provide the fuel for artists to flourish, and in the process they have shown that leadership can make a difference.

Livent co-founders to appeal convictions

CBC News: "Two theatre moguls handed prison terms for a scheme to cook the books at Livent Inc. are taking a bid to overturn their guilty verdicts to Ontario's highest court, arguing the trial judge didn't understand critical evidence.

Screen Actors Guild takes big step toward merging with AFTRA

Los Angeles Times: "The Screen Actors Guild board of directors on Saturday moved significantly closer to merging with its smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

Suzanne Vega’s ‘Carson McCullers Talks About Love’

NYTimes.com: "WHEN she was a teenager, Suzanne Vega spotted a biography of the writer Carson McCullers in a library. She didn’t actually read the book, but the image on the cover left a deep impression.

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