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]
“We did our first show in a bar...all of a sudden, the whole room was quiet. And then we got everyone to sit on the floor cross-legged to watch our crankies.” [more inside]
You're at a Broadway or off-Broadway show. Suddenly, a cell phone goes off, or the person next to you starts texting. If you're on stage, you could do what Patti LuPone did at Gypsy. You could write an open letter to the offender. Or, you could do what Kevin Williamson did last night.
Founded in 1999 and quickly winning over theatre critics and audiences alike, Abattoir Fermé is an avant-garde collective that was awarded the 2008 Flemish Culture Prize for its "penetrating and ominous theatre." [more inside]
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre present Christmas: 12 Days of Christmas, Silent Night, Baby It's Cold Outside, Coldplay Christmas, Killer Reindeer Song, Xmas Songs You Daren't Sing, and more. Much more from the Socks here and here, on subjects ranging from Doctor Who to the credit crunch to phone hacking to Skye to Star Wars.
After protests by members and MPs of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and religious groups, the Athens premiere of the play Corpus Christi was cancelled. A journalist trying to document the protests was reportedly beaten while the police stood by. "A well-known Golden Dawn MP follows me. He punches me twice in the face and knocks me to the ground. While on the ground, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawn MP kicks me. The police are just two steps away but turn their back". Full translation of the tweets. MP Christos Pappas was later charged for intervening in officers’ attempts to detain a protester. The incident was captured on video, as well as MP Ilias Panayiotaros abusing the actors in a homophobic and racist manner (translation NSFW). [more inside]
Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
AV Club Interview with Nick Offerman Articulate and often profound, this excellent AV Club interview with MeFi favorite Nick Offerman (previously 1, 2, 3) discusses his role as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson, the modern concept of masculinity portrayed by Hollywood, the importance of being yourself, and prosthetic penises. Second page of interview NSFW. [more inside]
The Tony Awards' 2012 Opening Number - What If Life Were More Like Theater? - with Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Amanda Seyfried, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
Stars of the Edwardian Stage is a compendium of the beauties that have graced English theatres. [more inside]
5 Pillars of the Abandoned World is a tour through lost landscapes and shrugged off citadels. From the Gothic, Disney villainness ominousness of Miranda Castle to the distant splendor (photo by Cédric Mayence) of the abandoned Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Don't feel left out, North Americans: the US has plenty of holy, holey structures to sweep you off your feet. Fan favorite for urbane decrepitude, Detroit has lots to see. The St. Agnes Catholic Church is the place to be for the religiously inclined ramshackle rambler. Need a place to put up your feet? The Book-Cadillac offers a cozy spot to spread out your tour guide and relax. When you're ready to move on, just head over to Michigan Central Station and hop on the last train to forever. The world's an awfully big stage. There's a lot to take in, but don't worry about a thing. Just enjoy the show. There's no hurry; what's already gone isn't going anywhere. [more inside]
Computer security consultant Byron Sonne (previously, previously) has been acquitted of charges he plotted to attack the G20 summit in Toronto.
"The truth, the absolute truth, is that the chief beauty for the theatre consists in fine bodily proportions."~ Sarah Bernhardt
Derelict Cinemas and Theatres by Adam Slater: Since 2008, Adam Slater has been on a quest to photograph Britain’s abandoned and derelict cinemas and theatres before they are gone for good. Below are some examples from his astonishing set of beautiful yet grotesque ruins, which you can see in full on his flickr page. His blog, Reality Trip, features more fantastic photographs of old power stations, quarries and more. Be sure to check it out. [kubrickontheguillotine.com]
W. C. Fields appeared in the Earl Carroll Vanities in 1928. George Mann, part of the dance team of Barto & Mann, was on the same bill, and captured Fields in The Mormon's Prayers.