CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'Garden' outshines 'House' in farcical PICT doubleheader

PostGazette: "Years ago, one ticket would get you in to both games of a Pirates' doubleheader. Not anymore, unfortunately.
It's the same deal with the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's currentproduction(s), a drama doubleheader of sorts -- two plays linked to each other and playing simultaneously with one cast at the twin theaters in the Stephen Foster Memorial. Separate tickets required for each."

North Hills grad, Kirsten Hoover, takes 2nd in national theater contest

PostGazette: "Monday night, in a glittering performance and awards show before some 1,400 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre, which normally hosts 'The Lion King,' Kirsten Hoover of Ross came in runner-up in the National High School Musical TheaterAwards. The annual competition is among 50 high school students who win local finals in 25 regions nationwide; for Ms. Hoover, that had been Pittsburgh's Gene Kelly Awards."

Local student finalist in National High School Musical Theater Awards

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Kirsten Hoover was one of three female finalists in the third annual National High School Musical Theater Awards competition.
Hoover, a Ross resident who graduated this spring from North Hills High School, represented Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera at the national program after winning the 2001 Gene Kelly Award for best actress for her performance as Nanette in 'No, No, Nanette.'"

Review: 'House,' 'Garden' duo maintains energy

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Much attention has already been paid to the upstairs-downstairs, inside-outside bipolarity of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy duo 'House' and 'Garden.'
Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's latest production is not one but two plays performed simultaneously by a single cast whose characters move between two theaters in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland."

Theatrical Ads from a Hundred Years Ago

Props: "I’ve been finding a lot of great advertisements for theatrical propertycompanies and other related businesses from The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory. These ads appeared between 1898 and 1913. It’s a fascinating snapshot of the theatrical business scene in New York City from a century ago. I also love the style of the ads themselves, with their odd mix of formality and flair."

Augmenting Reality

2AMt: "The other week, Theatre Communications Group held their annual conference. I always wanted to attend, but due to various restrictions, I’ve not had the opportunity. Happily, I discovered TCG live streaming many of their speakers, and two of the keynotes thus far heavily and unsurprisingly focused on socialmedia, audience engagement and community dialogue. It’s the organization’s 50th anniversary, and appropriately they are taking a strong futurist vision of how American theatre might look in the next 50 years. This year’s directive centers on the hypothetical: What if…? In a small way, I was able to contribute to the conversation a couple months back when TCG invited me to imagine What if…Theatre Embraced Transmedia?"

Kid Performers Shine at High School Theater Awards

Backstage: "Fifty young people sang and danced their way across the stage of Broadway's Minskoff Theatre Monday night at the third annual National High School Musical Theater Awards. The event brought teen performers from acrossthe country together for two days of competition, with the winners taking home thousands in cash and scholarship dollars."

Nina Paley's Attribution Song - the difference between copying and plagiarism

Boing Boing: "Nina Paley's latest meme-y video, 'Credit is Due (The Attribution Song)' is a great, provocative one-minute short on the value of correctly attributing work when you use it. Paley is a thoughtful copyright abolitionist, and she uses this song to talk about the difference between plagiarism (a kind of fraud) and copying (the basis for culture)."

Enron director Rupert Goold to tackle 9/11 legacy on 10th anniversary

Evening Standard: "Award-winning director Rupert Goold is to court controversy with a theatrical spectacular exploring the legacy of 9/11 on its 10th anniversary.
He is working with international writers Tony Kushner, John Logan and Paul Laverty, Ken Loach's long-term collaborator, to produce the show. Iraqis and non-playwrights are also involved in the show."

Theatre companies worry loss of SummerWorks funding will have big impact

The Globe and Mail: "The loss of federal funding for Toronto’s SummerWorkstheatre and music festival, which fell under sharp criticism last year from the Stephen Harper government, could be felt throughout Canada’s theatrecommunity, theatre professionals say."

Teatro Valle in Rome Is Occupied by Protesters

NYTimes.com: "Real-time drama is taking place at the Teatro Valle, the storied theater here where Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author” was firstperformed 90 years ago."

Recovery as Seen on Stage and on TV and in Movies

NYTimes.com: "SOMEWHERE near the middle of “The _______ With the Hat,” Stephen Adly Guirgis’s lacerating portrait of a couple trapped in the self-inflicted prison of addiction, it becomes clear that simply putting the cork in the bottle will not fix everything. Or anything, really."

'Chinglish' Will Move to Broadway, Marking Return of 'M. Butterfly' Tony Winner

Yahoo! News: "David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, the tale of an American businessman in China — currently getting a well-reviewed world-premiere production at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago — will move to Broadway this fall."

Temptations Broadway musical in works, says singer

Yahoo! News: "The Temptations have been many places during their 50-or-so years together. Now Broadway beckons.
Otis Williams, the Motown group's sole surviving founding member, says a stage musical is in the works based on the 1998 NBC miniseries, 'The Temptations.' Broadway producer Ira Pittleman is working with the group on the project."

There's No Such Thing As Bad Publicity: Just Ask Spider-Man

Yahoo! News: "We wouldn't recommend spending $75 million, getting investigated by the New York Board of Labor over unsafe working conditions and ousting your director late in production as the best strategy to find success on Broadway, but it certainly seems to have worked for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The oodles of worldwide publicity over the troubled production has piqued enough interest, it appears, to lure in curiosity-seeking tourists to fork over for tickets."

'Spider-Man' soars

Variety: "'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' surged at the box office last week, with sales swinging upward in a frame fueled by summertime tourist traffic.
Most of the Main Stem's larger-scale draws climbed, but it was 'Spider-Man' ($1,702,866) that stood out thanks to a stellar $430,000 (or 34%) bump up from the prior sesh. That tally indicates that, at least for now, the show's latest round of unenthusiastic reviews hasn't dented theatergoer interest. The cliffhanger, of course, is whether the show can continue to post those major numbers after the summer, when tourist biz dries up."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Carnivale Theatrics showcases famed storybook musical

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Justin Fortunato and Robert Neumeyer launched Carnivale Theatrics in the summer of 2009, they had three goals: provide artistic opportunities for talented young people, create quality musical theater and raise money for charity.
They've managed to fulfill all three."

Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone and Their Dressers

NYTimes.com: "When Sutton Foster won the Tony Award for best actress this month for her performance in “Anything Goes,” she began her acceptance speech by thanking the usual suspects: co-stars, teachers, director, boyfriend. It wasn’t until she thanked her dresser, though, that Ms. Foster’s composure broke, and the waterworks started."

Julie Taymor Blames Twitter For Bad Reviews Of 'Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark'

Techdirt: "If you haven't been following the massive disaster that is the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, you've been missing a massive train wreck in slow motion. Julie Taymor, who was the original person behind the effort was fired in March and has finally spoken out about the scathing reviews the show has received all along (apparently, the only reason to go see the show is in the hopes of catching someone get injured). Apparently it's not her fault, the fault of any of the other writers, actors, musicians, etc. No, no. You see, it's all Twitter's fault."

Easy Ways To Be The Best Intern Ever

College Candy: "In my accumulated two years as an unpaid intern at a variety of different magazines and websites, I have learned a LOT about the art of interning. I’ve worked with super nice people, but have also had horribly scary bosses who think they’re better than you — and I have spent countless hours trying to impress and suck up to those same people. And, well, I kind of rocked those internships. I worked hard, stayed organized, and tried my hardest to stand out in the crowd. At each different job, I had at least one or two people who told me constantly that there was no way they could get anything done without me"

Meet Becca Euliss, Apprentice Coordinator!

Williamstown Theatre Festival Blog: "Introduce Yourself
My name is Becca Euliss, and I'm the Apprentice Coordinator for WTF. (Pictured: Becca Euliss with Stephen Sanders, Literary Associate)
Who are the apprentices?
The apprentices are a core group of 70 actors who are the greatest source of support for the festival, and in turn they receive some fabulous performing and networking opportunities throughout the summer."

Submit Your Ideas for AutoCAD

Between the Lines: "Do you have an idea for AutoCAD? The AutoCAD Product Design Team has a new experimental web based site launched to gather more of your ideas and rank them by your voting. Go submit some of your ideas on new features and changes to existing ones. You can also view and vote on other submitted ideas to help shape the future of AutoCAD."

Julie Taymor Was Always The Wrong Superhero For 'Spider-Man'

The Awl: "On Saturday, in downtown Los Angeles, Julie Taymor sat down with Roger Copeland for the much-anticipated closing keynote presentation of the Theater Communications Group's annual conference, before an audience of a thousand or so colleagues. Copeland is a big, charming, rambunctious man with about the biggest, bobbingest head you ever saw, wearing very thick glasses and, I think, no socks. He's a professor of theater and dance at Oberlin College, Taymor's alma mater, who has written extensively and admiringly of her work."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spiral staircase gets a workout for the dual action of PICT's 'House & Garden'

Post Gazette: "Starting in 1959, prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn has written 72 plays -- make that 73. On a list of titles, 'House & Garden' may show up once, but it is actually two plays performed simultaneously in a venue where two theaters are close enough for actors to move from one stage to the other and back in time for their cues.
Each play has its own audience and each audience keeps its seats, so it takes two nights to see both what's happening in the 'House' and who's doing what to whom in the 'Garden.'

August Wilson Center announces 2011-12 lineup

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "On Tuesday, the August Wilson Center revealed an ambitious season of arts programming that shifts the organization's focus from presenter to producer.
While continuing to bring in some national and international artists and events, the center will concentrate during the 2011-12 season on creating works that showcase the talents of its three resident companies -- the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, the recently formed August Wilson Theatre Ensemble and the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's 'House' and 'Garden' turns

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Consider the complexities: two comedies performed simultaneously in two hours on two separate stages for two separate audiences by one cast of 14 actors.
Impossible?
We'll find out this weekend when Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre begins simultaneous performances of Alan Ayckbourn's 'House' and 'Garden' in the Charity Randall AND Henry Heymann theaters in Oakland.

Carnivale Theatrics showcases famed storybook musical

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Justin Fortunato and Robert Neumeyer launched Carnivale Theatrics in the summer of 2009, they had three goals: provide artistic opportunities for talented young people, create quality musical theater and raise money for charity.
They've managed to fulfill all three.

Young Gays on Broadway’s ‘Normal Heart’ Revival

NYTimes.com: "IAN SMITH was born and raised in the 1980s in Bangor, Me., a world away from the young gay men of New York City of that era who were among the first to die of complications from AIDS. Mr. Smith, 29, is gay himself, and in Manhattan he has heard stories about some of those men from their friends and lovers who survived. But nothing prepared him for the shock he felt recently seeing “The Normal Heart,” the Broadway drama about the early years of AIDS, which won the Tony Award for best play revival this month.

Guest Post: We Want More Female-Written Plays!

Women and Hollywood: "The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI) recently conducted a study on the number of female-written plays produced in LA. The number is a disappointing yet unsurprising 20%.
In addition, Broadway has not produced a single play written by women in the 2010-2011 year. No women were nominated for the Tony for Best Playwright. No women were nominated for Best Playwright for the 2010 Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle, or LA Weekly awards for their work either.

7 Lessons we can learn from Book of Mormon.

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: "Sure, Book of Mormon won Best Musical this year. But in my opinion, it should be up for a Producing Prize as well.
The Producers made a whole bunch of great calls on this show that have helped turn it into the biggest hit Broadway has seen in years.
Here are 7 of 'em.

DeWalt DW743N Combination Flip Over Saw – Are You Flippin’ Mad?

Toolstop.com: "There’s a school of thought that, perhaps understandably, believes that tools should only do one thing, and do that one thing really well.
In a lot of ways it makes sense. The ideal of multi-purpose tools seems a bit gimmicky, after all. A hammer that’s also a knife or a screwdriver that’s also a torch. Why not have a tool that’s been designed and engineered for one purpose than a tool that’s been cobbled together to fulfil multiple purposes?
However, as technology continues to influence the way tools are designed, we can expect to see more multi-purpose power tools coming our way.

Catwalk or 'Walk the Plank'?

TheatreFace: "In the far reaches of many theatres there are elevated walkways that tie parts of the theatre plant together. Although there are building code standards and safety standards written to define how these are to be constructed, there are many places where they do not meet these standards.

Jenny Gersten Takes Over at Williamstown Theater Festival

NYTimes.com: "JENNY GERSTEN has sat through many a welcome speech for the apprentices and interns who flock every summer to the celebrated training program at the Williamstown Theater Festival here, where she spent nine years as an associate producer. But on a recent June evening in this bucolic corner of the Berkshires, it was Ms. Gersten’s turn, as the festival’s new artistic director, to address the latest crop of fresh faces at the start of a whirlwind 10 weeks of theater making.

‘Spider-Man’ by the Numbers - Breaking Down Its Costs

NYTimes.com: "For anyone stumped by how the producers of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” could have possibly spent $75 million on that show, more than twice as much as any production in Broadway history, the web is untangling.

Monday, June 20, 2011

CLO finds the right balance in 'Jekyll & Hyde'

Post Gazette: "The atmospheric thriller 'Jekyll & Hyde' re-emerges from the dark shadows of the Pittsburgh CLO seasons' past to once again explore man's struggle with the duality of good and evil within, and to deliver a few powerhouse solos by talented performers.

'Company' screening brings in crowd

Post Gazette: "There's one more chance to see the all-star staged concert of Stephen Sondheim's 'Company' on local movie screens, but be warned that seats may be limited.

Winners of Henry Mancini and Gene Kelly awards headed to Broadway

Post Gazette: "Less than a month after their high school graduations, four young actors are Broadway-bound for a national competition. Win or lose, each will have the experience of their young lives.
They'll be living in dorms at New York University in Manhattan for seven days starting Wednesday with 46 other high school students from around the country.

Endangered arts have powerful advocate in Pa.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Tough financial times have spawned efforts to cut public funding of the arts.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback eliminated funding for his state's arts council; Washington's governor is considering doing the same.
But in Pennsylvania, efforts to cut the state's arts budget pit the Republican-controlled House against a Republican governor -- and his wife.

Apple Hill's 'Beauty and Beast' steps into a new story

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It's not exactly a fractured fairy tale, but Eleanor Harder's version of 'Beauty and the Lonely Beast' definitely is different.
In the playwright's adaptation -- onstage for six performances at Apple Hill Playhouse beginning Tuesday -- Beauty has two stepsisters, and the Beast has a fairy godmother.

American Theatre Wing to Receive $40,000 NEA Grant

Playbill.com: "Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, announced June 20 that the American Theatre Wing has been recommended for a grant of $40,000 to support the Wing’s SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Group programs for emerging artists and professionals.

Broadway Casting Directors Discuss Their Work

NYTimes.com: "AN early step in creating a Broadway production — and one of the most critical — is the casting process. Directors and producers hire the actors, but it is usually the show’s casting director who first finds them to audition and consider: Hollywood celebrities, theater veterans, performers who might act better than they sing (or sing better than they act), onetime understudies who have grown into star material.

The merging of Book, Lyrics and Music in theatrical collaborations: A complex and frequently mishandled issue.

The Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark: "An important, and frequently mishandled point in theatrical collaboration agreements is the clause declaring when, precisely, “merger” of the collaborators’ respective contributions to the play or musical occurs.
Not to be confused with the Integration clause found in many contracts, merger is the point (in time) at which the various creative elements are deemed to be merged or joined into a unified, single work.

Give Up on Efficiency to be More Effective

lifehacker: "One reason many workers feel that their jobs aren't appreciated or respected is because more emphasis is placed on how efficient they are at their jobs, not how effective they are. One secret to better, more fulfilling work is to focus on being effective at what you do, and let efficiency follow behind.

'The Book of Mormon' Succeeds. 'Spider-Man' Struggles. Discuss.

NYTimes.com: "Imagine that two powerhouse teams come to Broadway, each determined to put on a musical. Both have known success, but some of the artists are also newcomers to live theater. One team — which includes Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” — creates “The Book of Mormon,” a naughty-but-nice comedy that opened to acclaim in March and won nine Tony Awards last week. The other team — which includes Bono and the Edge of U2 — creates “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” which limped through months of devastating reviews, creative upheaval and aerial acrobatics that went scarily wrong on a few occasions, and finally reached opening night last Tuesday.

Lullaby: the show that will put you to sleep

The Observer: "Sending your theatre audience to sleep can't often be the artistic ideal, but there can be benefits. Taken to Carousel as a kid I remember being so bored by all the early courting between Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan that I dozed through Act II, missing a crucial death scene. I woke up delighted to find that far from being a play about love this was really one about superpowers, as Billy seemed to have discovered the ghostly ability to appear and disappear at will ... I had a great time.

Julie Taymor Discusses ‘Spider-Man’ and Twitter Critics

NYTimes.com: "Breaking her silence about “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” the Broadway musical from which she was fired in March, Julie Taymor tacitly criticized her former producers on Saturday afternoon for relying on audience focus groups and said that the rise of Twitter and blogs for instant theater criticism was damaging to shows.

SAG, AFTRA Officially Begin Merger Talks

Backstage: "SAG and AFTRA have officially begun merger talks.
The SAG Merger Task Force and AFTRA New Union Committee met face-to-face over the weekend at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md.

Taymor Speaks Out About 'Spider-Man'

Backstage: "Julie Taymor briefly discussed her old stint as director of troubled musical 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' at the 50th anniversary national conference of Theatre Communications in L.A. on Saturday, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Lloyd Webber's Musical 'Love Never Dies' to Close

Backstage: "Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to the hit musical 'The Phantom of the Opera' will close in August.
'Love Never Dies' opened in March last year to mixed reviews at the Adelphi Theatre as the first musical sequel to open in London's West End.

Cirque preps 'Iris' for fall

Variety: "Cirque du Soleil is on its way to becoming an Angeleno.
After nine touring Cirque shows have played Los Angeles since 1987, the company will introduce its latest production, 'Iris,' with a permanent residency at Hollywood's Kodak Theater this fall.

Monday, June 13, 2011

‘War Horse’ and ‘Book of Mormon’ Win Top Tony Awards

NYTimes.com: "“The Book of Mormon,” a smash-hit Broadway musical made out of the unlikeliest of elements — unwavering faith, jokes about AIDS and lyrics so profane that many of its songs could not be televised — emerged as the runaway winner at the Tony Awards on Sunday. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame, along with the composer Robert Lopez, “Mormon” earned nine Tonys, including best musical and three more for Mr. Parker, making this Broadway newcomer as honored in one evening as Joshua Logan, the director and a writer and producer of the classic musical “South Pacific.”

Tony Award Nominees

Carnegie Mellon University: "his year, seven — count 'em — seven alumni from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama were nominated for Tony Awards, Broadway's highest honor.
(Among them, two were college roommates.)
'The staff, faculty and students of the School of Drama could not be prouder of CMU's Tony Award nominees,' said Peter Cooke, who is head of the School of Drama.
'Collectively, they reflect the breadth and depth of talent of our highly successful alumni,' Cooke said.

'Jekyll & Hyde' actor and director share theatrical parallels

Post Gazette: "The 'gothic horror thriller' genre, as director Robert Cuccioli pegs the musical 'Jekyll & Hyde,' might seem to be having a renaissance, with all the werewolves and vampires and other human-sized creatures from 19th-century literature lurking on stage and screen. But the truth is, it never went away: note the many interpretations of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' the circa-1886 story of one man's struggle to tame the monster within himself.

Review: Unseam'd's dark 'Furnace' keeps region's roots in play

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Before Pittsburgh became celebrated as the country's most livable city, parts of the region were widely known by another name: 'Hell with the lid off.'
The steel mills lit the night sky, and the smell of sulphur always filled the air of Mon Valley towns such as Braddock and Homestead.
Every year, death and relocation leaves us with fewer people who remember this part of our collective history.

Bono and the Edge at Work on ‘Spider-Man - Turn Off the Dark’

NYTimes.com: "SHORTLY before midnight on a rainy Thursday, Bono was headed to work, bearing plastic bags of takeout food from Esca up to a Manhattan studio on a nearly deserted West 48th Street. “Rise Above 1,” the first single from the cast album of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” was due for release in less than a week; it wasn’t finished. Nor were the rest of the songs for the album, which arrives on Tuesday. That’s also the official opening night of the musical, with its songs by Bono and the Edge from U2. Its long, torturous run of Broadway previews has been — as a self-conscious new song lyric puts it — “a $65 million circus tragedy.” In separate interviews Bono and the Edge described the experience the same way: “humbling.”

A Tony Honor to William Berloni, Animal Trainer

NYTimes.com: "BROADWAY bears a distinct resemblance to a wildlife preserve these days, with its war horses and Bengal tigers jockeying for Tony Awards Sunday night (and flying spiders biding their time until next season). What better year, then, to give a special Tony to the animal trainer William Berloni, who found Little Orphan Annie her first Sandy and has since put hundreds of critters through their paces?

Celebrating One Year of ‘World of Color’ at Disney California Adventure Park

Disney Parks Blog: "Tomorrow marks one year since “World of Color” made its first splash at Disney California Adventure park! In that time, the award-winning nighttime spectacular has been seen by more than 3 million guests.
Throughout its more than 700 performances, “World of Color” has continued to bring the emotion and fun of Disney films to life through a unique combination of animation, music, fire, lasers and (of course) water.

Brits on Broadway: What makes British theater work in the U.S.?

Slate Magazine: "The first time Sonia Friedman saw Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth's raucous comedy about a charismatic Wiltshire drug dealer fighting eviction from his caravan, the award-winning British theatre producer emerged from the Royal Court Theatre thinking that it could never get from Sloane Square to Broadway.

2011 Tonys!

TheatreFace: "Here's the 2011 Tony Awards Open Thread. What did you think of the broadcast? What did you think of the winners? Who got robbed? Which musical should just close up shop after their number on the show? What surprised you the most? I've included links to all the videos of the broadcast I could find on YouTube -- sorry if they get taken down before you can enjoy them.

Tony Awards Winners: The Women

Women and Hollywood: "It was a sucky season for women creatives (meaning playwrights and musical creators) at the Tonys this year. Don’t only take my word for it. Here’s another piece by Princeton academic Jill Dolan on the lack of female Tony nominees.
Because there were no women nominated in the top categories of best play or best musical (except for Cheri Steinkellner who was nominated for best book of a musical for Sister Act) and there were no women written plays nominated for best revival or a play of musical, of course there were going to be few female winners. We all knew that going in.

Academy Honors 2011 Student Academy Award Winners

Below the Line: "Fifteen students from colleges and universities around the world were honored June 11 as winners in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ 38th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. For several days, they had participated in a slate of industry-related activities and social events culminating in the awards ceremony, which featured as presenters actress Jennifer Garner, Oscar-nominated animator John Musker and Academy Award-winning producer Edward Zwick alongside Academy president Tom Sherak at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Bono and the Edge Reboot 'Spider-Man'

Rolling Stone Music: "Wide-awake at 2 a.m., Bono is riding in an SUV to a Las Vegas hotel — but he doesn't need a casino to make a huge, risky bet. After the $65 million Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was hammered by catastrophically bad reviews in February ('It may also rank among the worst' musicals of all time, The New York Times wrote), he and the Edge could have cut their losses and backed away. Instead, the duo behind the show's music have done the opposite, associating themselves more closely than ever with the project, even as director Julie Taymor stepped down from day-to-day control.

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh CAPA Class of 2011!

Art Works: "Yesterday, Rocco was in Pittsburgh where he delivered the commencement address to the Class of 2011 at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). CAPA was one of the finalists in the White House’s Race to the Top Commencement Challenge (take a look at their video down below). Here’s an excerpt from Rocco’s address, which urged the new graduates to “consider the importance of failure” as a tool toward ultimate success.

Federal Arts Funding is a Rounding Error

Stage Money: "Andersen points out that federal art funding is 0.066% of the federal budget or 66/1000s of one percent. The percent of the federal income which is not collected because of the income tax deduction for mortgage interest is 200 times the amount spent on the arts, or about 13 percent.

Book of Mormon Big Winner at 2011 Tonys

Stage Directions: "Big winners at the Tonys this year included: The Book of Mormon, which took home the most Tonys, winning nine (including Best Musical); War Horse, the British import about a boy and his horse during WWI that features life-sized puppets of horses, won five, including Best Play (and it actually won six if you count Handspring Puppet Theatre’s Special Tony Award)

Union and Tony Producers Come to Red Carpet Agreement

Stage Directions: "Well, that was quick. One day after IATSE Local One threatened to picket the red carpet at the Tony Awards the producers and IATSE have reached an agreement which will keep the red carpet a union job. In a statement from IATSE Local One, James J. Claffey, Jr. President of Local One IATSE and Allan Williams, General Manager of Tony Award Productions Inc. said jointly 'The Tony Awards and Local One IATSE are very pleased that, together, we were able to reach an agreement, to produce the Tony Awards red carpet on Sunday evening. The fact remains that Sunday is a true celebration of the Broadway community and all of the outstanding work that has been nominated this season.'

Taking on the Tonys: Is 'War Horse' the best play or 'a puppet show'?

CSMonitor.com: "For some playwrights and critics, however, it underscores the trend toward the flashy at the expense of the substantial. Charles Evered, an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who is an associate professor of theater at the University of California, Riverside points to the loss of “Good People,” a play about an American family in crisis. While Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand won for best actress for her role in the play, the show itself was passed over in favor of 'War Horse,' which Mr. Evered calls “a puppet show.”

Charles McNulty looks back on his apprenticeship in regional theater

latimes.com: "Regional theater wasn't a big turn-on for me when I was a theater student in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Off-Broadway was cool; off-off-Broadway was cooler. Those subscription-based behemoths scattered around the country like giant shopping malls sounded dorky to me.

Artist biographies: more than just cheap gossip

guardian.co.uk: "Do the biographies of artists – where they came from, who they loved, what they looked like – matter? Or is our obsession with putting a face, a name and a personal story to a great work of art just a distraction from truly engaging with it? Can artistic biography ever be more than cheap gossip?

'Book of Mormon,' 'War Horse' Win Big at Tonys

Backstage: "Critical darling and box office smash “The Book of Mormon” took home nine awards at the 65th annual Tony Awards on Sunday at the Beacon Theatre in New York, including best musical, director, book, score, and featured actress. The show, centered on two Mormon missionaries in Africa, came from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who won their first Tonys for the production.

Backstage at the 2011 Tony Awards

Variety: "What will the 'Book of Mormon' guys tell God when they get to heaven and discover that Mormonism was right all along? 'Look at the box office,' Trey Parker said. Despite strong pre-show buzz, the 'Mormon' crew said they weren't at all sure they were going to win. 'We've been in enough awards shows to know that it's very easy to lose to Phil Collins at any time,' Parker admitted.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Three Rivers Arts Festival exhibits and activities

Post Gazette: "Following is a list of Three Rivers Arts Festival exhibitions and activities other than stage performances. Unless otherwise noted hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. More information at www.3riversartsfest.org .

No Name Players offers comedic look at 'Book of Liz'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Don DiGiulio's latest challenge is to transport the fictional town of Cluster Haven out of the minds of David and Amy Sedaris and onto the stage.
DiGiulio, the founder and artistic director of No Name Players, has been creating theater since he began the company in 2000 while still a college undergraduate at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.
He's also directing 'The Book of Liz,' which centers on the Squeamish community, a religious group somewhat like the Harmonists or the Amish.
The comedic satire begins performances Thursday at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Downtown.

New faces join CLO's production of 'Jekyll & Hyde'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For Robert Cuccioli, 'Jekyll & Hyde' never grows stale, which is a good thing.
On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera will begin performances of the fifth production of 'Jekyll & Hyde' that Cuccioli has directed and the second time, he has staged one for CLO.
Cuccioli's attachment to the musical goes back much farther than that. He performed both title roles in the pre-Broadway tour and continued in the lead roles when it opened on Broadway in 1997.
Each production is different, Cuccioli says.

Just How Much Is a Tony Worth?

NYTimes.com: "Every year, Broadway producers with musicals struggling to fill theaters to capacity every night place their financial hopes on the Tony awards. But just how valuable is winning a prestigious Tony? And how much does the publicity — and the broadcast television showcase for the musical numbers on CBS — help the runners-up? FiveThirtyEight, a blog devoted to helping readers of The New York Times cut through the clutter of this data-rich world, decided to find out.

Young people's theatre manifesto gains momentum

The Stage: "The Manifesto for Drama, Theatre and Young People has been overseen by the National Campaign for the Arts and drawn up by an elected body of individuals working in young people’s drama, including Hilary Strong, former director of the National Council for Drama Training, and Steve Ball, chair of Theatre for Young Audiences.
It was developed following consultation with those working in the sector and is described as a “call to action” to MPs, parents, teachers and practitioners to “unify their efforts and ensure that young people have access to drama and theatre”.

Michael Kaiser: Are Unions to Blame?

HuffingtonPost: "A recent article I read suggested that labor unions are a primary cause for today's financial problems in the arts. I could not disagree more.
It is absolutely true that when income falls precipitously, as it has for many arts organizations, costs must be realigned. And it is also true that unions, in protecting their workers, fight tooth and nail to maintain their members' standard of living and work environment. That is why there are unions in the first place.
But the key issue is: why has revenue fallen so far for so many arts organizations?

SAG/AFTRA Members OK Education and Corporate Work Contract

Backstage: "Members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have approved three-year successor agreements to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Non Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Recorded Material and the SAG Industrial and Educational Contract.
The contract were approved by a vote of 95% to 5%, it was announced Wednesday.

Labor Dispute Threatens to Upstage Tony Awards

Backstage: "A labor dispute is threatening to make a mess of the Tony Awards, forcing actors to cross picket lines to attend the red carpet for Broadway's biggest ceremony.
Hundreds of members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees plan to picket with a giant inflatable rat near the Beacon Theatre on Broadway where the award show will be held on Sunday.

How to give the performance of a lifetime

Variety: "For this year's Tony-nominated thesps, acting epiphanies -- when everything suddenly clicks -- generally involve a long, hard haul to get there. As when Henry Higgins shouts about Eliza Doolittle, 'I think she's got it!'

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

What Happened at Intiman

The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper: "For members of such a low-stakes, chicken-feed industry, theater people are bizarrely resistant to speaking on the record about how and why things go wrong. It's easier to get FBI agents to go on the record than arts administrators.

'Book' burns up Broadway

Variety: "Broadway's box office took a slide in the first frame following Memorial Day weekend -- but with the spring slate heading toward Sunday's Tony Awards, it was still a good time to be feeling a little awards heat.

Pillow Project to explore existential themes

Post Gazette: "Since 2007, dance troupe The Pillow Project has periodically transformed Construction Junction into a casual performance art gallery where audiences don't just watch an experimental modern jazz piece but sit in it as dancers and multimedia projections move around them.
'The space has a certain sort of awe about it, and it's very unexpected,' said artistic director Pearlann Porter.

August Wilson's 'King Hedley II' champions common man with beauty and brutality

Post Gazette: "One of the many aspects of August Wilson's genius is his talent for taking lowly specifics and exalting them as universals.
In 'King Hedley II,' which runs through June 12 at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, a patch of dust behind a Hill District tenement is a man's soul laid bare, a video store represents his hope for a future, and the corpse of a cat stands in for the deals we try to make with God when justice is in short supply.

'Treasure Island' offers weath of experience for young actors

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It's not quite 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' but it's just as much fun for the adults and young people cast in Theatre Factory KidWorks' production of 'Treasure Island.'
The dramatization by Max Bush, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story, is a family affair for director Mike Byrne and his son, Michael, of Wilkins Township, and for Doug Peters and his daughter, Sarah, of Harrison City.

'Music Man' gives Actors and Artists a big kickoff

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Marian the Librarian' is more than just a cliche -- she's one of the lead characters in the Broadway classic 'The Music Man.' The show will be performed this weekend at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale as the kickoff summer musical for the Actors and Artists of Fayette County.
The 'Music Man' of the title is Harold Hill, a con man whose scheme is to collect money from parents to pay for instruments and uniforms for a boys' band that will never exist. Hill travels from town to town promoting his 'band,' staying in one place just long enough to fatten his wallet before he moves on.

The Drama Actor Roundtable

The Hollywood Reporter: "Six of Emmy's toughest contenders come clean about their biggest fears, the worst advice they ever got and whom they most admire (present company excluded).
Their collective résumé boasts dozens of Emmy nominations --and several wins -- but the folks on this year's Drama Actors panel weren't always at the top of their trade. One briefly sold ice cream (William H. Macy), another appeared in B horror movies (Tom Selleck), and a slightly luckier one slogged it out as a lifeguard (Timothy Olyphant).

Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano Work Hard for ‘Spider-Man’

NYTimes.com: "Friday’s show had been over for a couple of hours, but Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano were still working hard for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” at Joe Allen’s, the Broadway watering hole. The two young stars were downing fries and sandwiches when a table of tipsy fans came by, one of them calling himself an investor in this $70 million musical.

‘Zarkana’ Gestates in the Womb of Cirque du Soleil

NYTimes.com: "As it happens, “Zarkana,” Mr. Laliberté’s own high-flying blend of circus and rock opera is to begin a four-month run at Radio City Music Hall this week, the first time Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based entertainment behemoth, will have a regular presence on the edge of the New York theater district. Like “Spider-Man,” which opens on June 14, “Zarkana” features a character soaring over the audience, a hard-driving rock score, a villainous spider lady and gravity-defying acrobats. Mr. Laliberté didn’t just reject his friend’s offer; it appears he decided to show him how it’s really done.

Toward A Progressive Arts Policy: The Partisanship Question

ThinkProgress: "Back in May, I mused a bit on the difficulty of crafting an arts policy beyond the question of fund/not to fund. What I want to do over the next couple of weeks is to lay out some basic questions on the subject along with some initial thoughts as I start to pull my thinking together and shaping some of my reporting, something I think will obviously be a long process. Feel free to prod, poke, argue, send links, etc.

What the Jeff Awards left out

WBEZ: "A Jeff recommendation is the first step. If your production isn’t recommended for somethingon opening night, you can’t be nominated for an award—or get one. So it’s no surprise, looking at this year’s Jeff-recommended productions, to see that the roster is long and inclusive.
That makes certain curious omissions even curiouser. Like Steep Theatre’s Festen, a production that’s gotten rave reviews—and is sold out through the end of the run, no surprise given the incredible acting, direction, and stagecraft.
But Festen is about incest. Could the problem—for the Jeff committee, anyway—have been the subject?

Tony Awards' musical numbers are key to box-office success

latimes.com: "Reporting from New York—
— In 1994, Stephen Sondheim's 'Passion' beat Disney's Broadway musical version of 'Beauty and the Beast,' its closest competitor, in the race for the best musical Tony Award. 'Beauty and the Beast' collected only one trophy — for best costumes.
But in the days after the award telecast, Disney's Broadway musical brought in a record-breaking $1.6 million in sales while 'Passion' managed a fraction of that and closed six months later. 'It just goes to show you what a best costume Tony can do for you,' one insider quipped.

Last-ditch attempt to save Denver Center's National Theatre Conservatory fails

The Denver Post: "A last-ditch attempt to save the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' prestigious National Theatre Conservatory masters program died today when University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe announced his decision not to take the conservatory program under the wing of DU's theater department.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

'Twelfth Night' to open Quantum Theatre's new season

Post Gazette: "'More ambitious' is the catchphrase of Quantum Theatre's 2011-12 season, which includes three world premieres and a four-production schedule after fiscal prudence required a cutback to three last season.
The season opens July 28 with Karla Boos directing Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night,' with Robin Walsh as Olivia. The play is among the Bard's darker comedies that the artistic director has championed at Quantum. Even the first line is a perfect fit for the found-space company, as Viola asks: 'What country friends is this?'
Along those lines, there's one phrase in the press release about the first play that jumps out from the rest: 'Staged outdoors in a place quirky even for us.'

Review: Strong cast, story, keep Wilson's 'King Hedley' simmering

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "August Wilson's grim and gritty 'King Hedley' continues to unsettle and inform audiences in a new production at the August Wilson Center.
Produced through a cooperative association between Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company and The August Wilson Center for African American Culture, it's arguably the closest to Greek tragedy that Wilson came in his 10-play chronicle of the African-American experience in the 20th century.
It's set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1985, a time of hopelessness and violence when it seemed as though everyone had a gun, a gang and a grudge.

Opera Theater, Attack Theatre present modern 'Orpheus'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Myths may be ancient in their origins, but only the ones that touch people in any age can live on.
The story of Orpheus and the death of his wife, Euridice, dates back more than 2,500 years. He was the greatest poet and musician of Greek myth, who used all his power to bring his wife back to life. But, although he traveled to the underworld to bring her back, he lost her forever on the trip back.
In November, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh presented Christoph Willibald von Gluck's classic opera 'Orpheus and Euridice,' written 250 years ago. The company closes its season this week with a contemporary version of the same myth.

‘Balm in Gilead’ Staged in Warehouse in Brooklyn

NYTimes.com: "After 10 months organizing an underground production of Lanford Wilson’s 1965 drama, “Balm in Gilead,” Beau Willimon reached a dream-come-true moment on Thursday afternoon: His cast of 25 actors, drawn from across the country and given just days to work, was rehearsing for the first time in its 15,000-square-foot playing area in a South Brooklyn warehouse where the show was to have its one-night-only run.

Inside the Financial Wreckage of 'Lucky Guy'

NYTimes.com: "New York theatrical flops consuming $2 million to $3 million usually occur on Broadway, where plays cost that much and musicals are easily twice as expensive. Such debacles are rarer Off Broadway, but the lead producer and investors in the Nashville-themed musical “Lucky Guy” lost at least that much money when the show closed on May 29, 10 days after opening night, according to two theater producers with knowledge of the musical’s capitalization.

DEWALT 12” Slide Miter DWS780 vs Bosch Glide Miter GCM12SD

CopTool - Power Tool Reviews & News Blog: "Last week we did a hands-on with the new DEWALT 12” slide miter saw DWS780 ($599) and the whole time we were thinking how does this compare with the new Bosch 12” Glide Saw GCM12SD (previous post)? Apparently this was not an uncommon though as we received several more questions after posting some images on the twitter feed @coptool.

Why The Golan Case Matters: Pulling Works From The Public Domain Is A Massive Tax On Culture

Techdirt: "We've been covering the 'Golan' case through the courts for quite some time now. This is an important case concerning the contours of copyright law and the locking up of the public domain. If you don't recall, the case involved whether or not it violates the Constitution to pull content out of the public domain. Certain foreign works that were in the public domain were put back under copyright due to a trade agreement the US signed a while back. Many who relied on those public domain works were left out in the cold. A district court agreed that this appeared to violate the First Amendment. However, the appeals court went the other way, with some troubling arguments about how it was okay to pull works out of the public domain, effectively because US copyright holders insisted that without this, foreign countries would 'retaliate' against them, and thus it was okay for Congress to make this call. The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear the case.

Non-Equity Jeff Awards Honors Chicago Theatre

Stage Directions: "At its 38th annual celebration of Chicago’s non-union theatre scene, the Jeff Awards honored 27 award recipients for excellence Monday evening at the Park West. The event, emceed by Circle Theatre’s Kevin Bellie for the second consecutive year, featured production numbers by the nominated musicals and presentation of awards, two of which were delivered by robots. The robots, created for Sideshow Theatre Company’s “Heddatron,” earned their creators an award for Robot Design and Engineering in the Artistic Specialization category, shared with Izumi Inaba, who received an award for makeup design for “Cats” at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in association with Michael James.

What is the ultimate impossible experiment?

io9: "There's an old psychological theory that it takes 10000 hours of practice to become an expert in a field...and some argue that it's only practice, not natural talent, that makes you an expert. But that theory is completely untestable.

Spider-Man's Pay Dispute With Fired Director Julie Taymor is Musical's Latest Drama

The Daily Beast: "Nearly seven months after it first went into previews, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is finally scheduled to open on Broadway on June 14. But the opening-night gala may not be the only place producer Michael Cohl has to get dressed up for. He may also be headed to court.
The reason? A nasty, escalating dispute with fired director Julie Taymor over what she’s owed for her work on the show.

Who will replace Des McAnuff at Stratford?

The Globe and Mail: "On Saturday afternoon, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival announced that Des McAnuff’s contract as artistic director had been extended by one, final year to 2013, and, within hours, the speculation had started.
Who will succeed this internationally acclaimed, but controversial director as head of the largest, most overanalyzed theatre company in the country?

Daniel Radcliffe Welcomes Middle Schoolers to Majestic Theatre

Backstage: "'One day I will be a Broadway star,' said a small girl standing on a big stage. 'But for now I'm just a student at MS57.'
She was one of the many middle school students who had the opportunity to perform at the Majestic Theatre on Monday, thanks to a program put together by the Shubert Foundation and Music Theatre International. Public school students from Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn performed numbers from such musicals as 'Guys and Dolls Jr.,' 'High School Musical Jr.,' 'Once on This Island Jr.,' 'Annie Jr.,' and 'Aladdin Jr.'

McAnuff to exit Stratford

Variety: "Des McAnuff, the Tony-winning director of 'Jersey Boys,' will step down from his position as artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival after the 2013 season.
McAnuff announced his decision Saturday to extend his contract for a sixth year, but to depart after that time.

Monday, June 06, 2011

City Theatre's Momentum Festival: 'POP!' 'South Side Stories' and more

Post Gazette: "Momentum returned to City Theatre after a two-year absence with a couple of readings that had local flavor: 'POP!' a musical with a hint of Pittsburgh about Andy Warhol and 'South Side Stories,' a project that begins high on the Slopes and ends in the Flats, where City resides.

THE LEADING MEN: Two of the Mormon Boys — Josh Gad and Rory O'Malley

Playbill.com: "What are the chances of colleges roommates ending up being fellow Tony nominees in the same Broadway hit? Ask Josh Gad and Rory O'Malley.

Gary Griffin returns to Stratford in 2012

WBEZ: "Veteran director Gary Griffin will return in 2012 to the world-renowned Stratford Festival in Canada to stage the musical, 42nd Street. The return engagement is all the sweeter because next year is the 60th anniversary of the Stratford Festival, and Griffin will be the sole participating Chicago artist.

“The Daily Rind”, a Better Way to Plan the Day

A. King in Society: "For years my task and schedule management lived across various apps — OmniFocus, Basecamp, Google Calendar, and others (and more recently, as I pared down my “productivity” tools, a simple combination of The Hit List + iCal.) But mapping out what to do throughout my day in a reliable way has always been a problem. Really understanding how little time there was and seeing patterns in time usage proved next to impossible, despite all the technology at my fingertips.
I think I’ve found a better way.

Design and Performance Specifications

Technical Direction Tidbits: "One of my PM class lectures discussed design specifications and that the buyer assumes the risk because they have specified the equipment. On the other side, if the buyer defines the performance desired, the contractor assumes more risk. An IT example was given where all of the IT parts were specified, but perhaps the system as a whole didn’t work well because of unforeseen conflicts.

DeWalt's Impressive Toughsystem Takes On The Systainer

Tool-Rank.com: "I have been battling with the idea of purchasing a few Systainers so that I can use them with a hand truck to get my tools on and off the jobsite easier for a few years now, but the pricing always kept me away. Then out came the L-Boxx from Sortimo, and it popped into my mind as a possible solution. The L-Boxx then became the front runner when Bosch made them more readily available here in the States. However, now it looks like DeWalt's Toughsystem is the ideal storage/transport system for my needs.

TV Dinner Theater: Parodies of Old Sitcoms Draw Blood, Crowds

WSJ.com: "There wasn't an empty table at the Cock 'n Bull restaurant on a recent Saturday night as diners sat back to enjoy a theatrical homage to 'Gilligan's Island,' the 1960s TV sitcom.

Creede actors invading, invigorating Denver stages

The Denver Post: "In 1967, a dozen student actors from the University of Kansas came to Creede and saved this dying old mining town by starting a professional, seasonal theater company on the boarded-up Main Street. Today, the Creede Repertory Theatre is the largest employer in Mineral County.
And now, they're coming to Denver like a gold rush.

Broadway's jumbled year: Critic's Notebook

latimes.com: "Broadway has had a good year by most accounts. Box-office receipts have just been tallied, and it turns out that this has been the highest grossing season on record. Attendance is up, and artistic moods have justifiably brightened. A broad spectrum of drama, old and new (some of it genuinely challenging), has helped counterbalance the commercial froth. And 'The Book of Mormon,' which has the Tony for best musical in the bag, has given New York its first runaway hit in some time that actually received stellar reviews.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sondheim's 'Follies' is still here, still dazzling

Post Gazette: "The chorus girls of yesteryear never leave the stage in the new Kennedy Center revival of 'Follies,' Stephen Sondheim's 1971 meditation on love lost and the entertainment that went with it.
Throughout Eric Schaeffer's new Kennedy Center production, chorus girls in full Ziegfeld regalia -- sequins! headpieces! more sequins! -- loiter in the background, looking bored as they walk from stage left to stage right. They wear the costumes of an exuberant past and the listlessness of the has-beens they will become.

Public Theater expertly exploits snob appeal of 'God of Carnage'

Post Gazette: "For some reason, the French find misanthropy funny. Moliere had Paris chuckling in 1666 with 'The Misanthrope.'
Now France's latest darling of the stage, Yasmina Reza, mines the same subject for laughs with 'God of Carnage,' the closing production of the Pittsburgh Public Theater's season.

'Out of This Furnace' returns on a smaller production scale

'Out of This Furnace' returns on a smaller production scale: "On June 8, the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company returns one of its most popular productions to the stage.
When Unseam'd Shakespeare Company first performed 'Out of This Furnace' in 2008 as part of Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary celebration, it played to sold-out houses.
'My favorite thing was that 60 percent of the audience were not theatergoers,' says Marci Woodruff, who again will direct the production.

Arts groups can revise directions with personnel changes

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Changes in top management at arts organizations often bring more than a change in personnel.
As they search for a successor to those jobs at the top, boards and search committees use the hunt to look at where an organization is going, how its needs have changed and what its future should look like.
'The world changes, and an institution has to change with it,' says Lee Foster, chairman of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the chairman of the board of the L.B. Foster Co.

Review: 'God of Carnage' ratchets up tension, comedy

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "If playwright Yasmina Reza invites you over for an intimate evening get-together, you might want to think twice.
The social encounters she depicts in 'Life X 3' and 'Art,' as well as 'God of Carnage,' which Pittsburgh Public Theater is now performing, begin well but have a way of going sour fast.
Reza enjoys prying up the thin veneer of social conventions and civilized behavior to explore the dark, uncivilized and barely suppressed behaviors that are just waiting to escape when we drop our guard.

Getcha Head in the Game: Lysistrata Jones, Set on a Basketball Court, Opens in NYC

Playbill.com: "Lysistrata Jones, the new Douglas Carter Beane-Lewis Flinn musical that rips a page out of Aristophanes' ancient comedy about women withholding sex in protest of war, bounds onto a Greenwich Village basketball court, opening June 5 following previews from May 15 in its New York City premiere.

10 Tips to Be Assertive Rather than Aggressive

Focus.com: "When I train leaders I often get the distinct impression that they define assertiveness and aggressiveness as the same thing. I've found that assertiveness is the ability to ask for what you need while aggressiveness refers more to doing things without regard to how they affect others. In the world of leadership and workplace politics assertiveness is a highly desirable characteristic. It enables leaders to ask for what they need and make their position clear without being a jerk.

Creating a Sustainable Rep Plot – Mitigating the risk of Early Adoption

iSquint.net: "It’s hard to compare the market available to a university theater over 5 years ago to the state of LED technology today. But in an important way the situation is the same, the market for new, better lighting instruments is always evolving. How do you know when to jump in? How can we mitigate the risks of adoption?

St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn Facing a Nomadic Future

NYTimes.com: "St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Brooklyn theater whose versatile and cavernous playing space has become a magnet for New York and overseas acting troupes, is now confronting a likely fate that its leaders had worked years to avoid: homelessness.

World Record-Breaking Rube Goldberg Machine

Clothes Before Hoes: "University students comprising the purdue society of professional engineers (PSPE) rube goldberg team have set a new world record for the largest rube goldberg machine ever created.

Universities: Teaching Theater as a Profession

TIME: "Just as they graduate accountants, doctors, mathematicians and lawyers, U.S. universities are now turning out working professionals for the theater.

In the process, they are providing the plant resources, talent, and even the theatergoing community to sustain a revived regional repertory theater. In turn, the multiplying regional theaters — 25 at last count — are creating an expanding job market for drama school graduates.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Momentum festival bounces back with 'POP!'

Post Gazette: "The Momentum new play festival that City Theatre has used to develop works from concept to readings to full productions is back with a 'POP!' after two years on the sidelines.
'When the economy was going south, we were smartly frugal and cut our budget way back. Sadly, Momentum had to go, only it was never meant to be anything but a temporary hiatus,' said artistic director Tracy Brigden.

CLO's '9 to 5' is still a lively romp through the workplace

Post Gazette: "Entertaining Broadway-tested diversions from the workaday world come few and far between, so '9 to 5: The Musical' arrives like cool breeze amid a heatwave -- or more to the point in this circa-1979 story, like a newly minted answering machine to a beleaguered secretary.

REP's season features three world premieres

Post Gazette: "The REP, Point Park University's professional theater company, will produce three world premieres and one Pittsburgh premiere in the 2011-12 season.

'King Hedley II' lays out tale of survival in 1980s Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For Mark Southers and the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Friday's opening of 'King Hedley II' finds them entering the final stretch of a long-held promise.
In 2003, Southers, the company's founder and producing artistic director, embarked on a mission to produce all 10 of the plays in August Wilson's Pittsburgh cycle in the order in which they appeared on Broadway.

'Out of This Furnace' returns on a smaller production scale

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "On June 8, the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company returns one of its most popular productions to the stage.
When Unseam'd Shakespeare Company first performed 'Out of This Furnace' in 2008 as part of Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary celebration, it played to sold-out houses.
'My favorite thing was that 60 percent of the audience were not theatergoers,' says Marci Woodruff, who again will direct the production.

Pittsburgh Public Theater's God of Carnage, With Deirdre Madigan and Ted Koch, Opens June 3

Playbill.com: "God of Carnage, the production that concludes Pittsburgh Public Theater's 2010-11 season, makes its Pittsburgh premiere, officially opening June 3 at PPT's O'Reilly Theater.

Guy Laliberté Guides Cirque du Soleil

NYTimes.com: "WITH a wolfish grin, mangled pinky and a bald head shaped like a bullet, Guy Laliberté, a co-founder and the owner of Cirque du Soleil, looks like a man with a plan for world domination. Appearances, in this case, do not deceive.

Welcome to the Real World: The Office is Like High School

College Candy: "When I sat in the back row of my college lecture classes, wearing sweats and a free homecoming t-shirt, I day dreamed abotu office life. How I would waltz into the office in the latest J.Crew line, exchange pleasantries with my co-workers, and eat lunch with a charming male co-worker who plays footsie with me at company meetings.
And then I got a job that popped my J.Crew bubble.

SDCF Masters of the Stage - 2003 Symposium: New Writers, New Worlds - June, 2003

American Theatre Wing: "At its 2003 Directing Symposium, SDCF hosted a panel moderated by Mary Catherine Burke and featuring directors Christopher Ashley, Jo Bonney, Susan Einhorn, Leah Gardiner, David Warren and Les Waters and playwrights Jorge Cortiñas and David Henry Hwang to discuss expanding diversity among writers, directors and subject matter of new plays. The discussion encompasses the artist's responsibility to creating diversity in theater, the producer's responsibility to take on diverse projects, and the difficulty of taking pieces out of development and into production in commercial or not-for-profit venues.

The School for Scandal: storm in an 18th-century teacup

The Guardian: "I've just opened my production of The School for Scandal at the Barbican, and it seems the critics are up in arms. Five-star reviews or one star. 'Highly theatrical, provocative and intelligent, the show is unmissable,' reads one, while another says, 'Watching this School for Scandal is like witnessing a group of louts spray-painting an elegant old building with graffiti. It's time Deborah Warner was served with the theatrical equivalent of an Asbo.'

The School for Scandal's Deborah Warner: no mother of reinvention

guardian.co.uk: "It's good to find Deborah Warner responding to the critics in such a cool, rational manner: a welcome contrast to the vituperative rancour one sometimes gets from anguished directors. All the same, I think her argument rests on some highly questionable assumptions.

Theater Talkback: Anything But Theater! (At Least for a Night or Two)

NYTimes.com: "I stayed home and watched “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” last night and I don’t care who knows it.
I understand that this is not the most dramatic statement one could make. It doesn’t hold a candle to “I am Jean Valjean” or “At last my right arm is complete again.” But given my career, especially over eight years at the American Theater Wing, such a declaration seems to surprise many people, who apparently imagine me at the theater every night.

SAG-AFTRA Merger Committee to Meet June 17-19

Backstage: "The SAG-AFTRA merger process, which has moved forward in preliminary stages over the last five months, now shifts into higher gear: the first meeting of the unions' joint merger committee is scheduled for June 17-19, SAG and AFTRA confirmed in a statement exclusive to THR.

Pics from CMU Drama