Monthly Archives: January 2021


(Michael Paulson’s and Ben Sisario’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/29; via Pam Green;  In a sign that some theaters are rethinking how they will operate when Broadway reopens, Jujamcyn Theaters is overhauling its ticketing practices.Credit…David S. Allee for The New York Times.)

Jujamcyn, which operates five of the 41 Broadway houses, said that when theater returns it will use SeatGeek instead of Ticketmaster.

As many live performance venues rethink their operations in anticipation of a post-pandemic reopening, one of Broadway’s major theater owners has decided to overhaul its ticketing practices.

Jujamcyn Theaters, home to the musicals “Hadestown,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “The Book of Mormon,” said Friday that it had reached an agreement with SeatGeek, a disruptive newcomer to the marketplace, to handle of all its ticketing. It had been using Ticketmaster, the dominant platform for concerts and other live events.

The agreement is SeatGeek’s first on Broadway; the company, which is based in New York, works primarily in the sports industry in the United States, but also has theater clients in London’s West End.

“We’re always scanning the landscape for what is new and what is possible, but the shutdown really changed what we were looking for,” said Jordan Roth, the president of Jujamcyn, which operates five of the 41 Broadway theaters. “There are capabilities that SeatGeek has built that speak directly to the now, and also, I think, to the future.”

Roth would not describe the financial details of the arrangement, but said he had been impressed by the company’s technological flexibility, as well as its use of historical and comparative pricing to help customers assess ticket value. He said that beyond selling tickets, its technology could be used to allow customers to order food and drink, arrange transportation, purchase merchandise and get other information. SeatGeek will also allow tickets for Jujamcyn shows to be resold through its platform.

The deal is a coup for SeatGeek, which began in 2009 as an aggregator of listings on the secondary ticketing market but has become a significant competitor to Ticketmaster in selling tickets directly on behalf of theaters and sports teams. SeatGeek sells tickets for the Dallas Cowboys, the Cleveland Cavaliers and a number of Major League Soccer teams.

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My projects complete easily and automatically—and I am pleased with my process and results.


All right resources are mine now–and I am grateful. 


I am worthy of success.


My path is important to myself and our community.


I am most truly successful, as an artist and otherwise, when I am my most authentic self, openly and honestly.


I adapt my vision to the new theatrical reality—and it has all positive outcomes for me.


Theatre comes back strong in 2021—and heals us.


(Many of the above affirmations are from or based on work by Teri D. Mahaney, Florence Scovel Shinn, Louise Hay, and others.)


(via Emily Owens)


Hotel Good Luck tells the moving and dizzying story of Bobby, a late-night radio DJ who is confronted with an upsetting event which plunges him into a rabbit hole of parallel universes in an attempt to regain what he has lost. 

The English-language premiere of Mexican playwright Alejandro Ricaño’s Hotel Good Luck, co-presented by The New Ohio and The Cherry Artists’ Collective. The play will be live-streamed from the historic State Theater in Ithaca, NY

‘HOTEL GOOD LUCK’ Co-presented by the New Ohio theatre, NYC

February 12–20

A late-night radio DJ plunges down a rabbit hole of parallel universes in search of a dear one he has lost. This intellectually dizzying and emotionally moving English-language première will stream live from the gorgeous State Theater in Ithaca NY for five performances only.  Written by Alejandro Ricaño, one of Latin America’s most brilliant and celebrated young writers. 

San Diego Red said of the Spanish-language production, “Hotel Good Luck Lives Up to The Name And Triumphs!” Hotel Good Luck is the second international play in The Cherry’s season, following the success of “A Day,” which the New York Times called “transfixing” and its “very appealing” cast “full of charm”!


All livestream performances at 7:30pm EST:
Fri Feb 12 | Sat Feb 13
Thu Feb 18 | Fri Feb 19 | Sat Feb 20

Runtime: approximately 65 minutes, no intermission



(Chris Wiegand’s article appeared in the UK Guardian, 1/26. Photo:  Stage fright … Ebizô Ichikawa in the play within the film Over Your Dead Body. Photograph: OYDB Film Partners. )

Continuing our series on the best films about theatre, a 200-year-old Japanese ghost story takes centre stage in a movie merging reality and fantasy

The prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike is best known for his 1999 horror film Audition, in which a widower advertises a role in a fake movie production, intending to choose a wife from those who apply. The backdrop of the screen industry suggests that his casual misogyny is symptomatic of a wider social disease. Fifteen years later, Miike released Over Your Dead Body, a sort of companion piece, following a group of theatre actors in and out of rehearsals. Like Audition, the film – whose Japanese title is Kuime – explores deception and vengeance with slow-burning and increasingly grisly intensity. Amid its schlock and horror, it vividly retains a traditional theatricality that left me longing to see a proper production of the play at its centre.

That play is the ghost story Yotsuya Kaidan, about a ruthless samurai who is haunted by his rejected wife, Oiwa. The samurai is portrayed in the play by the cruel Kosuke who abandons his lover, the established stage performer Miyuki (who plays Oiwa in their production), and starts an affair with a younger actor.

When Yotsuya Kaidan was first staged, about 200 years ago, it was presented in a kabuki double bill with another play over two days: half of each play on the first day, the culminating halves on the next. Miike’s film itself entwines two narratives. We watch lengthy scenes of Yotsuya Kaidan in its dress rehearsals, using meticulously designed historical sets on a revolve stage. These are intercut with the actors’ dressing-room encounters and scenes in Miyuki’s sleek apartment. In most films about theatre, the offstage dramas are the real focus and we see only snippets of the show they are creating. In Over Your Dead Body, considerably more time is given to the play within the film.

There are some startling perspectives along the way – in one of the opening scenes, the camera looks out from inside a washing machine. Strikingly, the world of the play is presented as a linear, more straightforward narrative while the lives of the actors become increasingly surreal, merging reality and fantasy. In one disturbing sequence, Miyuki’s bedroom is dressed as if it was an outlandish set design, with blood pooling on plastic sheets covering the furniture.

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(Valeria Paikova’s article appeared in Russia Beyond, 1/28; Photos:  Russia Beyond. )

Mikhail Baryshnikov is not one to go unnoticed. A true living legend of ballet, he is one of the greatest dancers in modern history.

Die-hard fans of classical Russian ballet praise Baryshnikov for his powerful leaps and a lifelong passion for freedom, while his younger admirers, who first came to know him as Aleksandr Petrovsky, Carry Bradshaw’s Russian boyfriend on ‘Sex and the City’, worship him for taking contemporary ballet to a whole new level.

It seems like Baryshnikov has been swimming against the tide since childhood. He chose his battles wisely, though, and proved to be a brilliant long-distance “swimmer”. Baryshnikov’s story is an exciting tale of self-actualization and personal growth.

A star is born

Like many Soviet families of the time, Mikhail’s father was a strict military man and a devoted communist, while his mother came from a peasant background. It was she who instilled a love for the arts in Mikhail. The family lived in Riga, capital of then Latvian SSR. Baryshnikov fell in love with ballet and enrolled in his first professional dance school on his own. He told his parents that he didn’t need their moral assistance. Misha (a common short form of the Russian name ‘Mikhail’) literally proved he could stand on his own feet when he was only 9. He passed the entrance exams and was accepted.

Two years later, Baryshnikov moved to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to train at the famous ballet school (now known as the Vaganova Academy). There, he was taught by none other than Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian poet’s namesake and teacher of another ballet legend, Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the West in 1961. 

Years later, Baryshnikov himself would be recognized as one of the finest ballet virtuosos in the world, along with Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev.  


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(Angelique Jackson’s article appeared in Variety, 1/29; via Pam Green; Photo: Variety.)

Cicely Tyson’s co-stars and admirers shared their remembrances of the late Emmy and Tony-winning actor, who died Thursday at 96.

Viola Davis, who starred opposite Tyson, playing mother and daughter for six seasons on “How to Get Away with Murder,” shared a lengthy tribute to the legend alongside a photo from the set.

“I’m devastated. My heart is just broken. I loved you so much!! You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream,” Davis wrote in her caption. “Because it was only in my dreams that I could see the possibilities in myself. I’m not ready for you to be my angel yet. But…I also understand that it’s only when the last person who has a memory of you dies, that you’ll truly be dead. In that case, you will be immortal. Thank you for shifting my life. Thank you for the long talks. Thank you for loving me. Rest well.”

“How to Get Away with Murder” executive producer Shonda Rhimes also posted a salute to Tyson, captioning her photo: “She was an extraordinary person. And this is an extraordinary loss. She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn. I am grateful for every moment. Her power and grace will be with us forever.”

Pete Nowalk, the show’s creator, said Ms. Tyson made him “feel like the greatest writer alive. “Ms. Tyson brought her entire soul to every moment on and off the screen. She made every word sing and your heart sang with her,” Nowalk wrote. “That’s how talented an actress and inspiring a human she was. My heart hurts for everyone who got to meet her, even if only for a moment. We were all so lucky to have been in the presence of such greatness.”

Tyson was nominated for five Emmys for her work on the Shondaland-produced series, with the final nod coming in 2020. But the actor’s career spanned nearly seven decades, and included winning turns in “Sounder” (for which she was nominated for an Oscar in 1973), “The Trip to Bountiful,” “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “Roots.”

LeVar Burton, who played Tyson’s on-screen son Kunta Kinte in the 1977 television epic, wrote: “This one cuts deep… Elegance, warmth, beauty, wisdom, style and abundant grace. She was as regal as they come. An artist of the highest order, I will love her forever…RIP”

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The words and wisdom of Constantin Stanislavski:

[To Gordon Craig—a genius as a stage director–] Hamlet was the best of men, who passed like Christ across the earth and became the victim of a cleansing sacrifice. Hamlet was not a neurasthenic and less a madman, but he had become different from other people because he had for a moment looked beyond the wall of life into the future world where his father was suffering. (MLIA)


(Robert Berkvist’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/27; via Pam Green.  Photo: The actress Cloris Leachman in 1974. She won accolades and an Academy Award for her dramatic work, but comedy was her forte.Credit…George Brich/Associated Press.)

“The Last Picture Show” made her a star, but she may be best remembered for drawing laughs on “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Phyllis” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Cloris Leachman, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a neglected housewife in the stark drama “The Last Picture Show” but who was probably best known for getting laughs, notably in three Mel Brooks movies and on television comedies like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” died on Wednesday at her home in Encinitas, Calif. She was 94.

The death was confirmed by her son Morgan Englund, who did not give a cause.

Ms. Leachman entered the spotlight as a Miss America contestant in 1946 and was still in the public eye more than 74 years later, portraying offbeat grandmothers on television and film and competing with celebrities less than half her age on “Dancing With the Stars.” In between, she won admiring reviews for her stage, film and television work, as well as Emmy Awards for performances in both dramas and comedies.

Her movie career began in 1955 when she played a doomed hitchhiker in “Kiss Me Deadly,” a hard-boiled detective film based on a novel by Mickey Spillane. She was already a seasoned stage and television actress by then, and throughout the rest of the 1950s and the ’60s she appeared in big roles on the small screen — she preceded June Lockhart as the mother in the 1957-58 season of “Lassie” — and small roles on the big screen, including as a prostitute in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969).

But she did not become a star until Peter Bogdanovich cast her in “The Last Picture Show,” his 1971 adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s novel about life in a small Texas town in the early 1950s. Her nakedly emotional portrait of a lonely middle-aged woman who has a brief affair with a high school football player won her the Oscar for best supporting actress.

“I’m at a point where I’m free to go out and have a little fun with my career,” she said after winning. “Some Oscar winners have dropped out of sight as if they were standing on a trapdoor. Others picked it up and ran with it. I’m going to run with it.”

She did, and more awards and acclaim quickly followed. She never received another Oscar nomination, but between 1972 and 2011 she was nominated for 22 Primetime Emmys and won eight.

A number of those Emmys were for dramatic work, including her performance as a woman who finds herself pregnant at 40 in the made-for-TV movie “A Brand New Life” (1973). But comedy was her forte.

She was nominated four times and won twice for her performance on the hit CBS sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as Phyllis Lindstrom, the scatterbrained landlady of Mary Richards, the plucky TV news producer played by Ms. Moore. She went on to play the same role from 1975 to 1977 on the spinoff series “Phyllis,” for which she received another Emmy nomination and won a Golden Globe.

Ms. Leachman in a 1971 episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She won two Emmys for her performance as the scatterbrained Phyllis Lindstrom, and played the same role in a spinoff, “Phyllis,” from 1975 to 1977.

Although her focus for the rest of her career was on television, she also had some memorable movie roles, notably under Mel Brooks’s direction. In his beloved horror spoof “Young Frankenstein” (1974) she was the sinister Transylvanian housekeeper Frau Blücher, the very mention of whose name was enough to terrify any horse within earshot. She played similarly intimidating women in Mr. Brooks’s “High Anxiety” (1977) and “History of the World, Part I” (1981). She also co-starred with Harvey Korman in Mr. Brooks’s short-lived sitcom “The Nutt House” (1989).

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(Nobuko Tanaka’s article appeared in the Japan Times, 1/27. Photo: Look into the future: A sign of things to come in the world of performing arts, director Kuro Tanino’s virtual reality production, “Dark Master VR,” plays with the audience’s senses of sight, taste and smell to create an immersive theater experience. | KEIZO MAEDA.)


In his 1964 anthem, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” Bob Dylan sings: “As the present now / Will later be past / The order is rapidly fadin’…”

At the time, he may have had social turmoil in mind when he wrote those lyrics, but the sentiment applies just as well now to how the performing arts in Japan have been going through dramatic shifts to survive in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, theater companies broke the mold by embracing digital platforms and trying out new approaches to business models and staging productions. Such changes will no doubt carry on in the new year, especially with Japan’s second state of emergency likely to be extended until the end of February.

When the government first declared a state of emergency in April last year, many venues temporarily went dark through the spring. By midsummer, however, theaters gradually and carefully opened their doors again as some moved their start times forward in line with government warnings to limit socializing after 8 p.m, shifted to offering low-capacity seating or started putting their shows online.

Despite the effort of theaters to adapt, a single case of COVID-19 can result in instant cancellations and months of preparation going down the drain. Consequently, venues and theater companies are paying close attention to safety measures, all the while exploring creative ways to bring theater to life without the need for a packed auditorium.

When it reopened this past August after a five-month closure, the venerable Kabuki-za theater in Tokyo halted its traditional practice of running two long programs per day. Instead, in order to reduce the time audiences spend in close proximity, it switched to four short programs, with the auditorium emptied and cleaned after each show. Starting this month, though, the Kabuki-za will present three programs a day to half-full houses. However, audience members will be prohibited from eating and drinking during performances (a policy in line with the nation’s cinemas), as well as shouting out customary cheers of encouragement to the actors.

A more drastic approach to modernizing has come in the form of Zoom Kabuki, a project that gets its name from the online communication platform as well as the term “図夢” (zu-mu), which translates to “attempting to dream.” Launched by Shochiku, the production company that operates the Kabuki-za, the streaming project presented “Yaji Kita,” an original contemporary work starring the kabuki actors Matsumoto Koshiro X and Ichikawa Ennosuke IV, on Amazon Prime in December. Eleven more performances are planned for 2021.

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