Susan Blackwell is an American actress, writer and singer, best known for playing herself in the musical [title of show]. The web series "Side by Side by Susan Blackwell" chronicles her unconventional encounters with Broadway celebrities: sorting laundry with Daniel Radcliffe, feeding goats with Jonathan Groff, researching rectal surgeries with Norbert Leo Butz, naming dogs with Zachary Quinto and consulting a ouija board with Andrew Rannells, to name a few. [more inside]
You may not know this but pantomime (overview for non-Brits) is a very lucrative business in the UK, especially for minor or fading stars of stage and screen (and Vanilla Ice) - Children's entertainers The Krankies (who have had a troubled relationship with panto in the past) have gone all out this year to pull in the punters via going to the gym (video), a lurid interview revealing their rather more adult private lives and a mind-blowing photo op with John Barrowman (SFW but what has been seen cannot be unseen and may prove traumatic for British people of a certain age) (previous)
King James Bible readings by top UK actors - free podcasts London's National Theatre recently staged a series of live readings to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and the glorious language that book contains. The actors taking part included Lindsay Duncan (Genesis), Patricia Routledge (Psalms), Maureen Lipman (Isaiah), Mark Gatiss (Luke) and Simon Russell Beale (Revelation). There's 12 readings in all, each of about 80 minutes, and the National has three available as free podcasts already, with the rest to follow soon. As a bonus, it's also offering Melvyn Bragg's talk on how the King James version was constructed and the main sources it drew on. I saw Bragg delivering this talk at the Cheltenham Literary Festival earlier this year, and it's well worth hearing.
“We shall have a man in the White House who will feel as responsible for American civilization as he does for American power and prosperity.”
"It was no accident that arts funding was once again brought to national attention with the exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Since the 80s, the enemies of the NEA have not been those with differences of opinion about what art should be supported or how. Instead they oppose any support at all for art of any kind." Hide/Seek, Culture Wars and the History of the NEA (NSFW, art)
Original Pronunciation (OP) "...performance brings us as close as possible to how old texts would have sounded. It enables us to hear effects lost when old texts are read in a modern way. It avoids the modern social connotations that arise when we hear old texts read in a present-day accent." The site includes transcripts of Shakespeare plays and other writings with IPA notations, indicating how to pronounce them in OP. It also includes some audio recordings. [more inside]
Cabaret's Don't Tell Momma performed by a young Judi Dench, or by Molly Ringwald, or Chris Moore, but what would she want with me?
"On Saturday June 18, 2011, representatives from the licensing agency came to watch our production. I met them before the show and explained the reasons behind my actions and that I understood the consequences. The cast was also prepared. We could have restored the production to the original script, we could have canceled the show and left them to wonder, we could have faked a medical emergency or technical failure – believe me, all of these scenarios crossed my mind. In the end, we chose to be honest and share the production we had created." Artistic director Nick A. Olivero writes an open letter to the theatre and arts community discussing the recent forced closure of his show, Little Shop of Horrors, at San Fransisco's Boxcar Theatre Company. [more inside]
Who is Joe Wall? Why he's an author and ambient electronic musician who works in a clock tower and loves to sing. But most Mefites know him as sonascope, author of many vast and beloved comments. His touching 2004 show, My Fairy Godmothers Smoke Too Much, is available free and complete online. [more inside]
Defamation by Twitter Broadway actor Marty Thomas has filed papers in court asking that the identify of the "bwayanonymous" Twitter account (cache) be revealed, after the account made a post alleging Thomas has crabs.
The next day, Sunday, I spent almost nine hours immersed in Robert Lepage’s marathon play, Lipsynch, at the Bluma Appel Theatre, which was part of Luminato. You tell people you’ve just spent nine hours watching a play conducted in four languages (with projected sur-titles) and they think you’ve undergone an endurance test, made a heroic sacrifice for art. On the contrary. There was no suffering(5 minutes of [enthusiastic] standing and clapping). The time flew by. It was like taking your brain on a luxurious cruise. Or spending the day in an art spa, basking in mind massages and sensory wraps. Maybe it was high art but the ascent was effortless: because Lepage did all the work for you, it was experienced as pure entertainment. [more inside]
"I HEREBY REQUEST that my body or any part thereof may be used for therapeutic purposes including corneal grafting and organ transplantation or for the purposes of medical education [...] with the exception of my skull, which shall be offered by the institution receiving my body to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in theatrical performance." [more inside]
Tomorrow after 37 previews and 1000 performances, Broadway will bid farewell to the critically-lauded, award-winning, first-ever revival of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific. [more inside]
Welcome to Culturebot, a NYC-based website all about performing arts and culture locally, nationally and around the globe. Culturebot.org is a multidisciplinary, contemporary arts + culture blog, launched in December 2003. Based in NYC we cover contemporary cultural news, events and ideas from NYC and around the world. Culturebot was envisioned and created by founding editor Andy Horwitz. It was initially made possible from a grant to Performance Space 122 by the National Performance Network. [more inside]
The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Hamlet, starring David Tennant as Hamlet, Sir Patrick Stewart as Claudius and the Ghost, Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius, Mariah Gale as Ophelia, and Edward Bennet as Laertes. Directed by Gregory Doran. [more inside]
Theatre composer Jason Robert Brown (bio) tries to explain to a young fan why it’s wrong to download sheet music from the Internet for free. Via.
Tracy Wright, a wonderful gem of the Toronto theatre and film scene, has died.
Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu The completely insane and dying Antonin Artaud's last public performance, a radio show which wasn't broadcast for 30 years thereafter. English translation here.
Molly Lives! Last night in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Theatre Company premiered Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. Kathleen Turner has taken on the role of the brassy Ivins. Turner knew Ivins personally and said "I liked Molly so much, and I liked the idea of keeping her alive, and being able to honor her." The script was written by twin sisters Alison and Margaret Engel, and based on Ivins' own words and writing.
The American Theatre Wing hosts MP3 interviews with actors, directors, playwrights and other artists. e.g. Stephen Sondheim and Anna Deavere Smith and F. Murray Abraham and Eric Bogosian and John Patrick Shanley and Edward Albee and Venessa Redgrave and Alan Ayckbourn and...
The Ancient Theatre Archive: A Virtual Reality Tour of Greek and Roman Theatre Architecture offers photos, panoramas, detailed descriptions, and, in several instances, virtual tours of classical theatre sites across Europe. (Tours require Quicktime to view.) The Met offers a basic overview of the differences between Greek and Roman theatrical architecture. For more theatres and related theatrical imagery, visit John Porter's one-stop catalog of online visual resources, Skenotheke.
Last spring Young Jean Lee, an American playwright and director, spoke plainly on the state of American theatre to the Nation. She described it as "our most backward art form."
Oy coom too berry Sayzurr, nut too preyze im. That's a reconstruction of how Brutus's famous speech from "Julius Caesar" may have sounded to Shakespeare's original audience. (Scroll down in the linked page for the rest of the speech -- or look inside this post.) If you'd like to learn more about Original Pronunciation (OP), check out www.pronouncingshakespeare.com, where you'll find several recordings by David Crystal, the scholar who probably knows most about the subject. You can also listen to this example or this NPR broadcast, first linked to in this 2005 post, here. Ben Crystal, David's son, tries some OP here. [more inside]
In the vein of Gwen Verdon's "Walk It Out", please consider the heat of Ann Miller's "Womanizer". [more inside]
The papers of Edward Alleyn, the Elizabethan actor-manager, are now available online in a digital edition. Most of what we know about the London theatre in the age of Shakespeare comes from this archive; highlights include the only surviving example of a 'part' or script written out for an actor in an Elizabethan play (image) and the contract for building the Fortune playhouse in 1600, just a year after the building of the Globe. Sadly, the archive doesn't include any manuscripts relating to Shakespeare, because Alleyn worked for the Admiral's Men, one of the two main theatre companies in London, whereas Shakespeare worked for the competition (the Lord Chamberlain's Men), though that didn't stop the nineteenth-century forger John Payne Collier from faking a few documents of his own to fill the gap.
Don't! Mess! With! A! Snap! Diva! A clip from the 1989 documentary Tongues Untied which is about black gay identity. (via)
Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. The MGM musical version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz turned 70 this week. It wasn't the first time it was a movie, nor the last time it was a movie or a movie musical. [more inside]
Charlie Chaplin [previously, except the primary link from blogspot is down] has a grandson, James Thiérrée. Growing up in his parents circus Le Cirque Imaginaire (later, Invisible), the acrobat evolved into performer/director/choreographer of soon to be four full-length works. (Full disclosure: the first three are all from La Veillée des Abysses--Bright Abyss--and the latter is a preview for his upcoming solo act Raoul.) He's also made forays in movies you've probably seen. More? Check out this Au revoir Parapluie (Farewell Umbrella) medley, and how about some trapeze? [more inside]
Adam Curtis's It Felt Like A Kiss. The whole of the experimental film (from the author of The Power of Nightmares and The Trap) which accompanied his recent show at the Manchester Festival. "When a nation is powerful it tells confident stories about the future."
Drop the acid just before the bus leaves the station: In this January 14, 1967 broadsheet, probably distributed along the Haight on telephone polls, walls, and in windows, ComCo passes on some learned tips on good Bay Area headventure trips. ( Via digaman's twitter )
"Its the story of our own village" ~ A journey in Indian street theatre (PDF of article) share's author Joel Lee's experiences wandering around India with three street theatre troupes. Also called the "theater of social change" this grassroots artform has become a powerful means of communication across the barriers of language, literacy and culture in both rural and urban India. [more inside]
The Royal Shakespeare Company presents King Lear, starring Ian McKellen, directed by Trevor Nunn, adapted for broadcast and available in its entirety online. [more inside]
Every movie has a few scenes in there somewhere that aren't crucial to the plot. Every movie has a few minutes you can miss and not be lost when you sit back down. Now you can go see a movie and get that extra large soda without worrying about missing anything important. No more guessing when to run and pee!
a semi-staged production of Shakespere's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelsohn's incidental music
Last night, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a semi-staged production of Shakespere's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelsohn's incidental music. Now they've put a video of the performance up on their website. [more inside]
If an artistic director has quantified the dream of theatre on a spreadsheet, they are dead already.
Monologuist Mike Daisey has a beef with the way theater is made in the United States: . He's made that beef the substance of one of his monologues, How Theater Failed America. Now, Todd Olson, Producing Artistic Director (scroll down for bio) at the American Stage Theatre Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, has beef with Daisey, too. Olson says: balance my budget, wretched actor miscreant; Daisey says: bring it. [more inside]
The recession has hit the theatre world (and the arts scene in general) very hard - but some argue that theatre practitioners aren't doing themselves any favours when seeking funding. The main question insufficiently addressed is "who is the funding for?" - hint: it's not about you. Approaching theatre as a product isn't working, not when MFA acting programs don't often allow its graduates to earn enough to earn back their debt. So now the question is: how can the economics of theatre be changed?
Twelve Angry Lebanese - inmates from Lebanon's infamous Roumieh Prison are putting on an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men - to stunning reviews. [more inside]
Theatre of the New Ear. Two radio plays: one by Charlie Kaufman, the other by the Coen Brothers, recorded live and starring Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep. [more inside]
The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) is a medieval Japanese account of the rise and fall of the Taira clan and has inspired many other works of art. Click on the chapters and scroll down to see Heike illustrations (or start here), see more art or figures inspired by the Heike. Would you rather read? [more inside]
The Things He Carried. "Airport security in America is a sham—'security theater' designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease."
Paul Sills, son of Viola Spolin and one of the fathers of Chicago style improv comedy through his work with The Compass Players (who sort of morphed into Second City) and through his Story Theatre work has passed away at age 80. Chicago has lost two of its legends in one day.
When Brad and Amy got married, Amy's "Man of Honor" got up to give his toast -- a musical toast. Other friends and family joined in, much to Amy's surprise, and the result, captured here on video, is pretty darned delightful.
Comedian Julie Klausner (of "Hot Jewish Girls want to talk to you!!") has obsessions. So do her friends. As you do, she hosts a comedy night in New York where people can confess and explain (sometimes via powerpoint) the things that drive their compulsions. [more inside]
OPAL Libri Antichi from the University of Turin offers over 3,000 books as free, open PDF files. Most of these date between AD 1500 and 1850 and most are in Italian, with many in French. They tend to be plain books with few illustrations. A few English titles are present, including David Hume's 1800 Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul; several texts by William Wycherley such as Love in a wood: or St. James's-Park (1735); and Richard Lassels 1686 work The voyage of Italy: or, a compleat journey through Italy with the characters of the peaple, and the description of the chief towns ... (volume 2) - an early travel guide. The PDFs are unsearchable plain scans. via this thread in the W4RF forum which contains hundreds of links to free online historical documents
The Case for the First Folio For centuries, editors of Shakespeare's plays have conflated different published editions (quartos and folios) in an attempt to create one true text as the writer intended. In this essay (.pdf file) Jonathan Bate, one of the editors of The RSC Shakespeare makes the case that in fact what they're doing is editing together different drafts of the play originated by the bard at different times in his life attempting to make better dramatic sense. Essentially that none of the texts you studied at school are what Shakespeare intended to be performed at all. [more inside]