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Jewell Re: Arts – When to Take Your Final Bow? The Performer’s Paradox

StageDoor

I was five years old when I attended my first musical. It was a Lyric Theatre performance of West Side Story, and I was captivated. Every movement, every note, everything about the production stole my attention. Halfway through the first act, I made my decision. I leaned over to my mom and said: “I want to […]

Aisle Seat – Tony Nominations: The Snubs Less Noted

Hedwig

The annual Wednesday meet-the-Tony-nominees event that traditionally follows the Tuesday nominations announcement is always a jolly occasion. The chosen few, guided by press representatives, parade before television cameras and photographers. They drop by desks where reporters from all sorts of publications ply them with questions that rarely include “What’s your favorite color?” Most nominees show […]

Jewell Re: Arts — Arts Fundraising Is Not Cape Fear

George-Whitefield

This is probably the first thing you should know about me: I love the word “egad.” Something about a minced oath just sets everything right with the world. Of course, if such a simple thing as a word could set the nonprofit arts world right, all the better. But alas, that is up to us […]

Aisle Seat – “Live Theater”: As Opposed to What, Dead Theater?

Biltmore-Theater-Sally

The Broadway League release arrived with the headline: Empire State Theatre Production Tax Credit Approved New York is Now the Fourth State to Offer Tax Benefits for Investing in Live Theatre The good news has already been reported elsewhere, and I’m not writing about it now because I have any reason for objecting to a government initiative that increases theater-related business […]

TV Legend Dick Cavett Recreates History Off-Broadway

Dick Cavett

Dick who? All right, you self-infatuated millennials and blissfully myopic under-40-ers who registered a blinkered “Who?” at our over-the-top headline. First we’ll introduce you to the American genius of Dick Cavett. And then you — like the rest of us fogies, geezers and weezers — will understand the excitement as the 77-year-old TV legend stars in Brian […]

Collective Memory in the Plays of Nilo Cruz

Sotto-Voce

Nilo Cruz, who in 2003 became the first Latino writer to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, uses lyrical language to create a sense of atmosphere and often to transport the audience to sites of collective memory. The play that won him the Pulitzer, Anna in the Tropics, for example, is set in a cigar factory in […]

The Aisle Seat: Bob Fosse Dances Through a New Biography

BF Featured

Bob Fosse is the unforgettable reason for one of the Top 10 nights I’ve spent in a theater. In terms of audience response to him, I’m not certain I’ve ever experienced anything to beat it. The occasion was the 1963 City Center revival of Pal Joey with Fosse in the title role, of course, supported by mink-wrapped Viveca […]

Triple Axelrod: Is Your Theater a Community or a Clique?

Velvet-Rope

You know the feeling. A heavy, sweeping sadness descends from your shoulders to your heart. Followed by a sharp sensation in your solar plexus that cuts so deeply your feet no longer exist. They don’t like you. Maybe it’s because you don’t look the same. Your skin color is a different hue or your fashion style […]

The Lorgnette: The Return of Slapstick Tragedy in ‘The Mutilated’

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Tennessee Williams’ one-act play The Mutilated just completed a month-long run—extended a week by popular demand—at the New Ohio Theatre in the Village. It’s an odd play, certainly, and that oddness was embraced and reveled in by the two perfectly cast stars: Penny Arcade and Mink Stole. This production, directed by Cosmin Chivu, followed the lead Williams provided with his script and, instead […]

Breaking News: ArtsNash Gains Tax-Exempt Status From IRS

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It’s official: ArtsNash is now tax exempt. On Monday, the Nashville-based nonprofit arts journalism company received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service indicating it has been approved for tax exemption under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. What does that mean? Among other things, it means contributions to ArtsNash like those […]

The Aisle Seat: Philip Roth Comes Clean, Autobiographically

Roth-Featured

In 1993, when Philip Roth was promoting Operation Shylock, he consented to give interviews in an unprepossessing Simon & Schuster office.  Interviewers were led to him for sessions strictly limited to 45 minutes. I was one of the 45-minuters. Operation Shylock is the one where a character calling himself Philip Roth is making trouble around Israel for […]

Interrobang?! – Theatre Lane: No Outlet?

Theater-Lane

For 15 years I’ve been driving to campus and turning into the parking lot behind my building, but it was only a few days ago when I noticed the street sign that stands on the corner of the entrance: Theatre Ln – No Outlet. I must admit, upon seeing it, my first inclination was to […]

The Aisle Seat: Tossing Back a Terrific ‘Tempest’ at the Delacorte

The Tempest Delacorte

It’s with great pleasure and a modicum of regret that I write about The Public Theater’s two-part late season event(s) at Central Park’s popular and populist Delacorte Theater. I refer to the production of Shakespeare’s comedy-drama The Tempest and, two weeks later, the two Fall for Dance evenings. Actually, since the dance program was a gathering of […]

Triple Axelrod: The Whole Backstage and Nothing But

The-Whole-Backstage

“A lot of theaters have to use somebody else’s space to do anything,” says Richard Resler, a volunteer for the Whole Backstage Community Theatre in Guntersville, Alabama. He is standing in the renovated mainstage auditorium, looking around. “It’s amazing what having your own place does to your attitude. It kind of takes an element of fear out […]

The Aisle Seat – Julie Harris: A Devoted Fan Remembers

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During the 1950s, ‘60s and 70s, Julie Harris—eventually collecting five acting Tonys—didn’t appear in a new production every year. But she almost did. And I missed few of them. (Between 1945 and 1997 she’s listed as helping populate 33 productions.) Harris was my favorite stage actress—and if talking “favorites” has a sophomoric ring to it, […]

Actress Miki Yamashita on Diversity and Invisibility

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“I remember almost always being the only Asian American in my classes, growing up in grade school and middle school,” says Massachusetts native Miki Yamashita. “For the most part, though, I didn’t feel that separate from everybody else. I feel like the environment was pretty inclusive.” She said it wasn’t until she went out into the […]

Interrobang?!: Shakespeare, London and a Good Pair of Boots

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The Present The most recent issue of American Theatre Magazine featured an excellent article about New Dramatists’ artistic director and “official gadfly of the institutional theatre,” Todd London, whose book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play I wrote about on my Theatre Ideas blog when it first came out in 2009. The American Theatre article by Stephen Nunns prompted me to order […]

Downtown Dispatches: What Happens When They Hate It?

Two Thumbs Down

Sometimes people just hate your show. Or, worse, they don’t get it at all and they dismiss your work as messy, unclear, unserious, which actually hurts more. But man, either one stings when you worked as hard as you worked. But that, friends, is part of the game. If you’re going to memorize and incessantly […]

The Aisle Seat: Theater in the Around Rules(?)

Orlando_Furioso

Why, oh why am I suddenly immersed in immersive theater, and what good is it doing me? These days, immersive theater seems always to be with us.  Like the poor.  So much so that at my mentioning the current inundation of emailed press releases announcing these impending entries, one respected critic I know said, “When […]

Luhrmann v. Fitzgerald, or There Oughta Be a Law

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We interrupt this theater-oriented column to talk about a book and a movie.  At first, you’d think they’re the same: The Great Gatsby.  They’re not.  They’re F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, and Baz Luhrmann’s anti-masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, wherein he treats the April 10, 1925, novel as if it were the blueprint for a bungalow that […]