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(from The New York Times, 9/23; Article by Michael Paulson, Elizabeth A. Harris, and Graham Bowley; Photographs by Dina Litovsky, Victor Llorente and Daniel Arnold; via Pam Green.)

We zero in on one moment in New York City’s cultural calendar that’s been wiped clean — what it means, what it looks like, what it cost and what’s ahead.

Ah, New York. The city where, this coming weekend, Hugh Jackman will make mischief out of marching bands in Broadway’s “The Music Man”; Anna Netrebko will pine stirringly as Aida for the Metropolitan Opera; and Nick Cave will command the stage with the Bad Seeds at Barclays Center.

The whole world seems to be here: Acts from Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon join an Arabic music festival at Joe’s Pub. Performances and parties herald the opening of a new $60 million home for the Irish Arts Center. And the reimagined Next Wave Festival draws adventurous artists from around the globe to BAM.

That’s not hypothetical. That’s the actual arts calendar for this weekend, Sept. 25 to 27, 2020.

Or at least, it was.

The coronavirus pandemic has shredded the schedule, silencing New York’s stages. Now Jackman is taking online dance classes. Netrebko is being treated for Covid-19.

Even as culture vultures return to museums, students to schools, and diners to restaurants, the performing arts remain indefinitely dark. (There are exceptions, of course, mostly small and outdoors. And there is streaming — so much streaming.)

So what happens when the performances pause, seasons are suspended, and stages go dark? We look at the toll the shutdown is taking through data (jobs vanished, revenues gone), visuals (picturing the season that isn’t) and personal stories (22 arts workers who should have been working this weekend, and what they’re doing instead). One weekend, lost, but also, so much more.

 (Read more)


(via Michelle Tabnick Public Relations


Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) presents its annual free Meet and Greet Introductory gathering, this year revamped for social distancing via Zoom and addressing the adjustments the organization has made during the current pandemic. You are invited to join us for Staying TRU in Tough Times, and What Our Community Can Offer You onTuesday, September 22, 2020 via Zoom. Reserve a spot on the event page at or by emailing – you will be put on a list to receive the Zoom link.


From Bob Ost, executive director of TRU: “Even at a safe distance, we have a strong, vibrant and creative community that we are honored to bring together virtually. We invite those who don’t know us to come meet some of our key players, learn about our programs, and most important of all, discover a welcoming environment that supports and nurtures artists and producers during difficult times. Stay positive, test negative, be safe!”


This free-for-everyone seasonal kickoff and networking meet-and-greet is a chance to meet the program directors and illustrious board members of Theater Resources Unlimited who make it possible to bring you the range of programming we offer for producers and artists, and learn how we have adapted our programming for these pandemic days. Our confirmed lineup includes:

  • TRU Vice-President and co-founder Cheryl Davis, award-winning playwright, attorney, General Counsel for The Authors Guild, and feedback panelist for How to Write a Musical That Works
  • Board member Merrie L. Davis, producer (Company London revival, Dear Evan Hansen, Eclipsed, Gigi; off-Broadway Himself and Nora)
  • Board member Cody Lassen, producer (upcoming How I Learned To Drive, Indecent, Spring Awakening revival; producing team of Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to Me, The Band’s Visit, Significant Other)
  • Board member Neal Rubinstein (On the TownHedwig and the Angry Inch revival, upcoming Dangerous the Musical)
  • Board member Patrick Blake, producer (The 39 StepsThe Exonerated, Bedlam’s Hamlet/St. Joan, Play Dead), founding AD of Rhymes Over Beats, faculty for Practical Playwriting workshop
  • TRU Literary Manager Cate Cammarata, Faculty for Practical Playwriting and How to Write a Musical workshops)
  • Producer Jane Dubin (The Prom, Tony winning The Norman ConquestsFarinelli and the King, BandstandPeter and the Starcatcher, An American in Paris)
  • Ric Wanetik, producer (Tony nominated Twilight Los Angeles: 1992, Broadway’s Marlene, Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company) who helps run our Director-Writer Communications Lab and is often a Speed Date producer. 
  • Plus two of the people who offer free consultations to new members: entertainment attorney Lee Feldshon and career consultant Joanne Zippel of Zip Creative. 

Learn about our programs, including our Producer Development & Mentorship Program, Raising Money for Theater, Essentials of Successful Self-Producing and other Producer Boot Camps, Writer-Producer Speed Date, Director-Writer Communications Lab, How to Write a Musical That Works workshop and more. And let us know what we don’t offer that you wish we did.


Doors open at 5:00pm for networking and refreshments, roundtable introductions of everyone in the room will start at 5:30pm – come prepared with your best half-minute summary of who you are, and what you need. Free for TRU members; usually $12.50 for non-members, but free for everyone for this season opener (with a pay-what-you-can if you’d like to support us). Please use the bright red reservation box on at, or call at least a day in advance (or much sooner) for reservations: 833-506-5550, or e-mail


Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.


TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. Currently, TRU offers a Weekly Community Gathering on Fridays at 4:30pm to help maintain community spirit during this time of isolation. TRU serves writers through the TRU Voices Play Reading Series, Writer-Producer Speed Dates, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Writer-Director Communications Lab.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit


Mabou Mines is Thrilled to Announce
as the Company’s new team of Co-Artistic Directors


While our stages may be dark, we have big plans for the future…
Carl Hancock Rux and Mallory Catlett join Karen Kandel and Sharon Ann Fogarty as Co-Artistic Directors of Mabou Mines. Founding member Lee Breuer and long-time Co-Artistic Director Terry O’Reilly will step into new roles as Artistic Advisors. Rux, Catlett, Kandel and Fogarty carry on leadership of the Company to create a vibrant, collaborative hub for diverse artists.

Carl and Mallory both have a rich history of collaboration with the company. After serving as a Resident Artist, Carl became an Associate Artist in 2018 and has served as an Advisor for Mabou Mines SUITE/Space Performance Program for artists of color. Mallory is currently collaborating with Karen Kandel and Eve Beglarian on the new work Vicksburg Project and brought her OBIE Winning piece, This Was The End, developed in the Resident Artist Program, to Mabou Mines in 2018. She will serve as mentor for the long-running Resident Artist Program for Emerging Artists.


KAREN KANDEL first worked with Mabou Mines on the gender-reversed adaptation Lear. She describes her early work with the Company as truly transformative, during which she “became acutely aware of what it means to be a full creative participant.” Karen is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including three OBIEs, Connecticut Critics Circle Award, Drama League Outstanding Performance Citation, United States Artists, Ziporyn Fellowship, TCG Fox Fellowship and Asian Cultural Council Fellowship. Karen became a Co-Artistic Director at Mabou Mines in 2015.
MALLORY CATLETT is a creator/director of performance across disciplines; from opera and music theater to plays and installation art. Her work has premiered/performed in New York at EMPAC, 3LD, HERE, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, PS122, Abrons Arts Center, The Chocolate Factory, has been featured at the Ice Factory, COIL and BAM’s Next Wave Festival and toured internationally to Canada, Ireland, UK, France, the Netherlands and Australia. She is the recipient of the Foundation for the Contemporary Arts 2015 Grants to Artists Award and a 2016 Creative Capital Grantee. She is an associate artist at CultureHub, a member of the
Collapsable Hole and the artistic director of Restless Productions NYC.
CARL HANCOCK RUX is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist. He is the author of the novel, Asphalt, the OBIE Award-winning play, Talk (co-produced by the Foundry Theater/Joseph Papp Public Theater) and the Village Voice Literary prize-winning collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta. Rux is a frequent guest performer in dance, and performance collaborating with Carrie Mae Weems, Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater, Nona Hendryx, Urban Bush Women, Robert Moses Kin, Jane Comfort & Co., Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ann Bogart, Nick Cave, and originated the title role in the Bernice Johnson Reagon opera, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, directed by Robert Wilson, which had its world premiere at the Paris Opera Garnier and US premiere at BAM. Rux has worked with numerous institutions as a performer and/or curator at The Whitney Museum, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, Harlem Stage, Threadwaxing Space, The Knitting Factory, among others, and is the recipient of several awards including a BESSIE award for his direction of the Lisa Jones/Alva Rogers dance musical, Stained; a New York Press Club Journalism award for his NPR radio documentary Walt Whitman: Song of Myself;  a Herb Alpert Award and a 2019 Global Change Maker Fellow. 

SHARON ANN FOGARTY has been a Co-Artistic Director with Mabou Mines since 1999. As a producer she helped launch most of Mabou Mines’ work since 1994, including award-winning productions such as Belén – A Book of Hours and Song for New York, directed by Ruth Maleczech, and An Epidog, Ecco Porco, Red Beads, and Mabou Mine DollHouse, directed by Lee Breuer. As a director with Mabou Mines, Sharon premiered Cara Lucia, Lucia’s Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, Finn and Faust 2.0 .

The Company has been sustained by the principals of collaboration with a wide network of artists, and the future will be no different. The 50th anniversary is an opportunity to imagine an expansive future for Mabou Mines in our newly renovated home at the 122CC.
Central to Mabou Mines mission has always been nurturing and mentoring the next generation of innovative theatre artists. Carl and Mallory are both former resident artists of the company. It is integral to our vision for the future to bring new voices to the stage, and these artists are up to the challenge of not only creating and producing their own projects but strengthening Mabou Mines residencies and fellowships to elevate the company’s unparalleled intergenerational mentorship model.

Help us celebrate our 50th Anniversary by supporting a new generation of artists. Please donate to the company and its future!

With love,
Mabou Mines


Mabou Mines is an artist driven intergenerational artist collective whose performance pieces subvert social, cultural and disciplinary constructs. Mabou Mines is a collaborative hub for diverse, avant-garde theater artists. Our mission is to generate, support, and connect audiences with original works of experimental performance and inventive re-imaginings of the classics, while nurturing the next generations of innovative theater artists. Mabou Mines’ creative vision is informed by the ethos of our co-founders: JoAnne Akalaitis, Lee Breuer, Philip Glass, Ruth Maleczech, and David Warrilow. Fifty years later, the company remains committed to collaboration and providing a platform for work that interrogates, innovates, and represents a multiplicity of identities and experiences.



Adam Sullivan tells us that international film star Khaled ELnabawy will “be a guest with director Molly Smith on Molly’s Salon next Thursday 7:00 pm Washington D.C. Time and 1:00 am Cairo time.” 

Thursday, August 27 at 7 p.m.  

Molly visited Egypt last November by an invitation from the Egyptian Star Khaled ELnabawy; Nabawy starred in D.C. in Camp David.


A weekly Salon featuring artists and leaders of Arena Stage.

These half-hour long weekly conversations will include some of our best thinkers and creative firebrands.

Molly will sit down with a variety of artists and leaders to discuss new ideas they are excited about and glimmers of hope for the future.

Thursday, August 27 from 7:00 – 7:30 PM
Khaled Nabawy, actor, Arena’s Camp David
Michael Edwards, Artistic Director, Asolo Repertory Theatre
Jackie Reyes-Yanes, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs

This event is free, but if you feel you are in a position to donate to support Arena Stage programs, please go here:

You can also donate to Arena Stage via Paypal at

Questions? Please contact

Aug 27, 2020 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)




In the run-up to the 2020 election, Reagan Political Strategist John B. Roberts II looks back at 1984—only  to find a highly controversial president, a terrible economy, and mass protests in the streets.  The parallels go on . . .

Interview with Bob Shuman, Stage Voices

Where were you on New Year’s Eve 1983 and then on New Year’s Eve 1984? In what area of your life had you changed the most?

In 1983 I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my best friend and colleague, Tony Blankley.  He and his wife Lynda were great hosts and, while we looked forward to 1984, there was also a little trepidation about the coming election.  A year later, I was back working at The White House, but my mind was focused on making a change. In the seven weeks between the election and the year’s end, I’d grown determined to curtail my involvement in politics and spend more time writing. It took me ten more years to make that change, but I finally did it.     


As a political writer, you have looked at the contributions of first ladies to the country and CIA involvement in the escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet, among other issues. What do you see as Ronald Reagan’s greatest contribution to the nation and could he have made it without winning in 1984?

It sounds corny, but his greatest achievement was rallying the country’s spirit and unifying it after the bruising decades of the sixties and seventies. Three presidencies in a row had ended in failure before Reagan, with Nixon, Ford, and Carter all serving only one full term in office. When he took his office, political polarization was high, and there were massive protests over his defense build-up and deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe. But his ability to forge broad-based political coalitions with bipartisan support set the stage for his three biggest accomplishments: restoring economic growth, ending runaway inflation and double-digit interest rates, and, through direct negotiations with Gorbachev, setting the stage for the end of the Cold War.  It took two terms for all this to come to fruition.      


 The first images or thoughts that come to mind regarding,

Roger Stone:

Sartorial splendor, the shiny veneer covering a hard-core political operative.

Walter Mondale:

Everyone’s prudent uncle.  A fundamentally decent man, who will never be the life of the party or probably ever have a hangover.   

Roy Cohn:

He had piercing blue eyes that looked to me like they concealed a thousand years of experiences.

Normandy, France:

Long rows of crosses decorated with tiny French and American flags.  A stark contrast, in their bone whiteness, to the lush green grass and blue skies of June. 


One person from the 1984 campaign who should be working on the Republican campaign today–and why?

Doug Watts.  He was in charge of advertising for the campaign and oversaw what came to be called the “Morning in America” theme, which emphasized the nation’s economic and spiritual recovery, with memorable television ads. Doug Watts not only helped Reagan win a landslide reelection, he set the stage for a period of national unity and bipartisanship that lasted well into the 1990s.


1984 is also an important year for dystopian fiction, a genre you have also written in.  How do you reconcile politics and literature?  

Growing up in one of Europe’s last Fascist dictatorships piqued my interest in the dysfunctional detours societies can take. I lived in Franco’s Spain at a time when no political opposition was tolerated:  the media was tightly controlled, and the Guardia Civil (whom the poet Garcia Lorca called “those patent leather men with their patent leather souls”) were virtually omnipotent and widely feared. 

On a vacation in London, during the time, I bought a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book from a Socialist Workers party street vendor.  I had to smuggle it like contraband into Madrid. Weirdly, such controls also created opportunities. Playboy magazine could be purchased, from American military personnel, for a dollar and twenty-five cents, and resold to Spaniards for a thousand pesetas–about a 1,500 percent profit!  Besides augmenting my allowance, differences between free societies and dystopian ones were usually dangerous. My father was in the military and we took a .22 rifle to Spain and registered it.  Every time Franco’s motorcade drove past our apartment to the airport, a Guardia Civil officer, with a machine gun, was stationed on the roof over our balcony. 

Of course, Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War, and he wrote about it explicitly in Homage to Catalonia. I think that conflict also influenced 1984.  

What is the biggest misconception about the 1984 campaign that’s still with us today?

That the outcome–Reagan’s reelection in a landslide–was inevitable because of the strength of the economic recovery.  The truth is our polling showed that Reagan was vulnerable to a Democratic ticket headed by U.S. Senator and former astronaut John Glenn, and even to a Mondale/Hart ticket.  When Mondale first named Ferraro as his running mate, our polls showed she had the potential to galvanize female voters across the party spectrum and change the outcome of the election.  After Reagan badly flubbed the first presidential debate, the age issue could have derailed his reelection.  In hindsight, the magnitude of Reagan’s victory makes it appear inevitable, but the truth is that it took many components of the campaign, working in synch, to create that landslide. The operation against Ferraro wasn’t the only factor in Reagan’s victory, but it was an important one.On Election Day, Reagan won 58% of the female vote.    

Thank you very much.

Reagan’s Cowboys by John B. Roberts II, available now from McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers 

View on Amazon  

Read Part 1 of this interview

Interview (c) 2020 by John B. Roberts II and Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.




(Chosen by Rosita BolandDonald ClarkePeter CrawleyMartin Doyle, and Hilary Fannin for the Irish Times, 8/1; Photo: The Irish Times.)



From The Plough and the Stars
Play, 1926
It befits an unsentimental classic like The Plough and the Stars that its heart resides in such an unlikely place. Bessie Burgess, the cantankerous, self-demolishing, crowing unionist (“Oh, youse are all rightly shanghaied now!” she spits at her revolutionary neighbours) is ultimately the spine of compassion, quiet heroism and genuine sacrifice amid all the posture and chaos of Seán O’Casey’s street-level view of the 1916 Rising.


From Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
Book, 2017
For a modest, sensible twentysomething from Ballygobbard, Aisling has taken Ireland by storm. The first three books featuring her, written by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, are the bestselling Irish fiction titles this century. Compared to “an Irish Bridget Jones”, Aisling is as much in the tradition of a Maeve Binchy or Marian Keyes heroine as she is a rival to Helen Fielding’s creation.


From Normal People
Book, 2018; TV drama, 2020
Despite being a young man both studying literature and writing it, Connell’s trademark characteristic is an inability to be articulate, especially with Marianne, his love. What Sally Rooney’s creation doesn’t, or can’t, say to her during their school and college years together is partly what makes his character so realistic, frustrating and engaging.


From Grace Notes
Book, 1997
In Scotland, Catherine, a composer, is trying to literally compose her life. She is a new mother, but her partner is abusive. She is estranged from her family back in Northern Ireland. Music and her career-changing composing commission both ground her, Bernard MacLaverty’s novel, and then lift her onwards from where she has been in a paralysis.


From The Twelfth Day of July
Book, 1970
Sadie, a Protestant teenager, is sassy and feisty. As we follow her love-across-the-divide relationship with Kevin, a Catholic, over five books, we grow with them. Joan Lingard’s young-adult-fiction series brought the Troubles home to generations of young people elsewhere and brought fiction home to young people in Northern Ireland.


From Cathleen Ni Houlihan
Play, 1902
“Did that play of mine send out / Certain men the English shot?” WB Yeats wondered about Cathleen Ni Houlihan. If so, they must have been as naive as the question. In 1798, a mysterious old lady disturbs a family dinner to sing of blood sacrifice, tell of her stolen “four beautiful green fields”, and lure a young man to join the Rebellion. Thus appeased, she transforms into a girl with “the walk of a queen” and struts away into several more Irish dramas.

(Read more)