Roger Rees has passed away at the age of 71. Mr. Rees, who most recently starred in The Visit on Broadway with Chita Rivera, won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Nicholas Nickleby. Among his many memorable roles on television, Rees created the roles of Robin Colcord on Cheers and Lord John Marbury on The West Wing. He is survived by his husband, and partner of more than 30 years, Rick Elice. [more inside]
Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles has announced it will bring its production of Spring Awakening to Broadway this fall. This will mark the first Deaf West production on the Great White Way for Deaf West since 2003's Big River.
Wallace Shawn interviewed by Liese Spencer in The Guardian. Wallace Shawn interviewed by Susan Bernofsky for Public Books. Wallace Shawn interviewed by Hilton Als for The Paris Review. Wallace Shawn interviewed by Andrew O'Hehir for Salon. [more inside]
How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening
The classic problem presented by the game is one all managers face: short-term issues, usually involving cashflow, versus the long-term challenge of nurturing your workforce and your client base. Despite the fact that a public-address system was blaring out, in English and Chinese, that “your workforce is your vital asset” our assembled young professionals repeatedly had to be cajoled not to treat them like dirt.
This past Sunday, Café Edison, affectionately known as the Polish Tea Room, served its last bowl of matzos ball soup and shuttered. [more inside]
Tor.com presents "As Good As New" a short story by Charlie Jane Anders about a girl, the apocalypse, and making sure those three wishes count.
"The du Maurier sisters had, from their volatile, crowded childhood onward, formed this private country they could slip in and out of, where "menaces" and "Venetian tendencies" could be freely discussed. In other words, they found a way to use games of pretend to tell the absolute truth." - Carrie Frye on author Daphne du Maurier and her seminal gothic novel, Rebecca.
Trifles is a powerful, brief, one-act play written by Susan Glaspell and published in 1916. It is for this play (and a short story version of it entitled "A Jury of Her Peers") that Glaspell is best known today, but she deserves to be better appreciated: "Her plays received better reviews than those of Eugene O’Neill, and in 1931 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her play Alison’s House [pdf summary]. . . . Glaspell was the co-founder with her husband George Cram Cook of the Provincetown Players (1916-1922), the Little Theatre that did most to promote American dramatists, and her diplomacy and energy held the group together for seven years. It was largely thanks to Glaspell’s intervention that O’Neill’s first plays were performed, and she played a major role in stimulating and encouraging his writing in the following years."
Tonight, 21 year-old actress Keke Palmer will make her Broadway debut in the title role inRodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, the first African American actress to play the role in any stage production of the show, first mounted as a television production on CBS in 1957, with Julie Andrews. [more inside]
YouTube theater critic Iain Armitage has never given a bad review. He's six years old. [more inside]
Broadway's Patrick Page Shares His Personal Struggle with Depression The night I heard that Robin Williams died, I slept very little. And it wasn't just grief keeping me awake. It was fear. I know my depression is lurking just around the corner-waiting. As Harvey Fierstein says, "All it wants to do is get you alone in a room and kill you."
"When Dystopia Rising went well, there were moments that felt natural, perfect. My first night was filled with gang warfare and hunts for a cult of radiation-worshipping Social Darwinists, but one of the parts I remember best was sitting next to a busker who played me a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, gave a mythologized retelling of the musical, and ended up explaining the origins of a group I believe was called the Church of Daft Punk" -- The Verge on playing in the massively complex post-apocalyptic LARP ( Live Action Role Playing) game, Dystopia Rising.
The Actors School is a (fake) docu-soap about an acting school, featuring an interesting interpretation of a scene from Friends.
50 years ago tonight, Fiddler on the Roof began performances at the Fischer Theatre in Detroit. Sheldon Harnick, the lyricist, says: "I remember one audition for Fiddler. As people left I heard someone say dismissively 'Oh once they run out of Hadassah benefits there'll be absolutely no audience for it'. At the time I feared maybe they were right." [more inside]
Brand New Ancients is a spoken word performance (review) by poet, singer and playwright Kate Tempest that won the Ted Hughes Award For New Poetry in 2012. Early this year, to coincide with a wider tour of the show, Kate Tempest and the Battersea Arts Centre produced three short films based on the performance. One. Two. Three (trigger warning, as this one is terrifying).
The New York Public Library has posted four original typescripts from Show Boat, the 1927 musical by composer Jerome Kern and lyricist and bookwriter Oscar Hammerstein, along with a blog post for some historical background.
The National Theatre of Scotland is spending 24 hours staging and live streaming 185 five minute plays on the subject of independence, created by people all over Scotland and beyond, as a creative reflection on the forthcoming independence referendum. [more inside]
The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable video: Comedy Actresses. Stacey Wilson sits down with The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, New Girl's Zooey Deschanel, Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco,The Mindy Project's Mindy Kaling, Shameless' Emmy Rossum, and Orange Is the New Black's Taylor Schilling, to talk about stupid questions from the media, disastrous auditions, odd fan interactions, the crazy stuff people tell them, and the state of American TV. (1:03:14, highlight transcription available)
Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
Kyle Kallgren finishes "Shakespeare Month" on his art house movie review series "Brows Held High" (previously) with a smashing take down of Roland Emmerich's 2011 Shakespeare-was-a-fraud conspiracy thriller "Anonymous". [more inside]
Davy and Kristin McGuire do some amazing things with cut paper, light and animation that turn these beautifully cut paper dioramas into haunting installations - including an homage to Hitchcock. Via Colossal.
“Putting magic at the center of a play about a magician doesn’t seem like that radical a choice,” explained Teller’s co-director and co-adapter Aaron Posner. "But in the history, at least the modern history of producing 'The Tempest', it is a radical choice."
SF/F legend Connie Willis pours a preview of a near-future version of the story of backstage back-stabbing, " All About Eve" with "All About Emily" for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
The BBC put together a series of television commentaries from Orson Welles, "Orson Wells' Sketchbook" none of which need more than his then slightly unfamiliar face (without, he underscores, the usual false nose he wears for roles), his unmistakable voice, and his illustrations — taken, literally, from his sketchbook. In these six fifteen-minute broadcasts, which originally aired in 1955, Welles talks about not just the inauspicious beginnings of his illustrious working life but his experiences with the critics, the police, John Barrymore and Harry Houdini, the infamous radio production of War of the Worlds , and bullfighting Playlist here.
Sooner Or Later is a torch song written by Broadway idol Stephen Sondheim for the 1990 film Dick Tracey, Here's it performed by Bernadette Peters for the RuPaul show in 1997. Oscar performance by Madonna. Album version. Film version .
Filmmaker IQ offers an extensive variety of free online courses, articles and tutorial videos for aspiring filmmakers. Their image gallery is also fun to browse through. [more inside]
23. On screen, your hero can blow away 500 bad guys, but if he smokes one fucking cigarette, you’re in deep shit. Sam Mendes’s 25 Rules for Directors
"Every play in your season should be a premiere—a world premiere, an American premiere, or at least a regional premiere. Everybody has to help. Directors: Find a new play to help develop in the next 12 months. Actors: Ditto. Playwrights: Quit developing your plays into the ground with workshop after workshop after workshop—get them out there. Critics: Reward theaters that risk new work by making a special effort to review them." -Ten Things Theaters Need to Do Right Now to Save Themselves
Dakh Daughters are a band/theatrical performance art group from the Dakh Theatre in Ukraine, based around "rapid merging of styles and unexpected sound collages". A handful of songs on youtube: Rozy/Donbass, Gannusya, Papirosy, Блудница, Доля (a performance at/in support of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev).
Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare (SLVimeo) a one-man show of Shakespearean monologues from 1982
Toast Of London stars Matt Berry (IT Crowd, Snuff Box, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) as troubled theatre actor Steven Toast, an eccentric middle-aged actor with a chequered past who spends more time dealing with his problems off stage than performing on it. With a recent divorce, a highly controversial play to perform every night, a shell shocked army officer for a brother and an audition in a prison - it’s turning into another very busy day for Toast in this, the pilot episode for the Channel 4 series. [SLYT] [NSFW] [more inside]
Last night, for the first time since the 1955 broadcast of "Peter Pan", the NBC television network aired a live performance of "The Sound of Music". [more inside]
Theatre critic Mark Shenton has been fired from the Sunday Express for having brought the company into disrepute after naked images of him were posted on a gay website behind a paywall. Richard Desmond, the owner of the Sunday Express is also the owner of Television X, the UK's most popular pornographic TV channel.
The Eidophusikon, an early form of motion picture, is a theatrical technology developed by fine art painter and theatrical set designer Philip de Loutherbourg using sound, colored filters, mechanical works, light from newly invented Argand lamps, mirrors and more . It was first exhibited at his home in 1781, featuring five scenes of land and seascape. In recent years, recognition of this as an early chapter in cinema history has prompted several institutions to recreate the experience. Among the most successful is the 2005 storm at sea depicted in Eidophusikon Reimagined by the Australian National University.
Not a bad cast ... Last night, London's National Theatre staged a two-and-a-half hour show to celebrate its 50th birthday, using extracts from many of the best plays it's put on during that period. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Benedict Cumberpatch, Simon Russell Beale, Ralph Finnes, Helen Mirren, Francis de la Tour, Alan Bennett, Christopher Eccleston, Penelope Wilton, Rory Kinnear, Roger Allam and Anna Maxwell Martin were all among those taking part. The BBC screened 135 minutes of the show live, and it can still be seen on the iPlayer till November 9. The Telegraph and The Guardian joined the applause.
“Movie theaters wanted nothing to do with popcorn,” Smith says, “because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theaters. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn’t want popcorn being ground into it.” Movie theaters were trying to appeal to a highbrow clientele, and didn’t want to deal with the distracting trash of concessions–or the distracting noise that snacking during a film would create. - So Why Do We Eat Popcorn At The Movies Anyway? (Smithsonian Mag)
Box. A choreographed performance incorporating a live human, two industrial robots, and projection mapping onto moving surfaces. You've seen projection mapping onto static surfaces, typically buildings. This takes it several steps beyond… and the result is stunning and beautiful.
Elaine Stritch Is Really Not Thrilled About Her Golden Years (June 2013), but she's making it work (September 2013). A documentary about her life will premiere this fall. In the meantime, perhaps you'd be interested in the Elaine Stritch Alarm Clock?
Why Art? Australian ABC Arts critic, theatre blogger and author, Alison Croggon, looks at public funding of the arts - and argues for more of it. "In a survey that looked at participation in visual arts and crafts, music, dance, theatre and literature – that is, the key art forms supported by the Australia Council – 38 per cent of Australians describe themselves as art lovers, for whom the arts are an integral part of their lives. Only 17 per cent report estrangement, believing that the arts attract pretentious elites, and a tiny 7 per cent feel no connection at all. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians reported engaging with the arts in the previous year. In 2009, more people attended art galleries (11 million) than went to the football (10 million)."
Theatre and film composer and GLAAD award winner Damon Intrabartolo has died at the age of 39. Intrabartolo is best known for the cult off-Broadway musical bare: a pop opera, the modern day Romeo and Juliet story of two boys who fall in love at a Catholic high school. [more inside]
You! The Musical! is a group of professional actors and musical theatre writers in New York who will literally write a musical about your loved one for their big day.
Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia," Twenty Years Later. Novelist Brad Leithauser muses on "the finest play written in my lifetime": One sign of "Arcadia"'s greatness is how assuredly it blends its disparate chemicals, creating a compound of most peculiar properties. The play’s ingredients include sexual jealousy and poetasters and the gothic school of landscape gardening and duelling and chaos theory and botany and the perennial war between Classical and Romantic aesthetics and the maturing of mathematical prodigies. [more inside]
"Echo Point" is a chilling, sound-rich supernatural radio drama written by Australian author Louis Nowra. Originally aired on BBC Radio 4, it is now available on SoundCloud via producer/director Judith Kampfner. [more inside]