Category Archives: Current Affairs

RUTH STAGE PARTNERS WITH THE CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA FOUNDATION FOR GALA TO BENEFIT BILE DUCT CANCER–AND MAJOR THEATER ANNOUNCEMENT–PLANNED FOR OCTOBER 26TH ·

New York, New York: Off Broadway actor and producer Matt de Rogatis has announced that his non profit theater organization, Ruth Stage, has formed a partnership with the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. The two charities have been informally working together since last May on a variety of projects but have only recently finalized a series of fundraising events through early 2022. 

“It’s a privilege to be working with the CCF on such a cause and it is my hope that our theater group can help to make a difference.” said de Rogatis, the Ruth Stage Chairman & Creative Director who initially reached out to the foundation to help a friend that was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma. “What started off as a mission to help one person has turned into a call to action to help the countless individuals living with bile duct cancer.” 

Although it is considered a rare form of cancer, with approximately 10,000 people diagnosed each year in the United States, the incidence of cholangiocarcinoma is growing. A recent study (JAMA Network Openestimates that by 2040, liver and bile duct cancer will be the third deadliest cancer in the United States. Because of this, raising money for research is an urgent matter, which is something that influenced the partnership between Ruth Stage and CCF. 

“The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation greatly appreciates the generosity of Ruth Stage. Like so many others, the company has experienced firsthand the impact of lethal bile duct cancer diagnosed of a loved one. Their support helps further our mission to support patients and render cholangiocarcinoma a treatable disease.” said Laura Hnat, CCF Vice President and Chief Development Officer. 

As part of their syndicate, an exclusive gala entitled Theater Saves Lives: An Evening of Hope, will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, October the 26th, 2021. The benefit will be held at Cubico in Soho, New York City located at 433 Broadway in “The Cellar” space. This exclusive event is limited to 100 guests and tickets are available on tier levels ranging from $300 to $800 for individuals and $500 to $1500 for couples.  

Attendees can expect a full service open bar with specialty cocktails, a high end, southern inspired pass around dinnerdessert, live music, guest speakers from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and a charity auction featuring fine art, sports memorabilia and getaway vacation packages. Proceeds will benefit the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and Ruth Stage. 

Additionally, de Rogatis and Ruth Stage CEO Joe Rosario are expected to officially announce their January 2022 Off Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in which Rosario will direct. As part of the evening, shortly after the announcement, a behind the scenes, virtuoso cast rehearsal will take place for all in attendance.

  Two time Tony nominee Alison Fraser and theater luminary Austin Pendleton will be guests at the gala event. Both will be a part of the rehearsal and the January production. Ruth Stage vice chairman, Spencer Scott, will also be present and announced as part of the cast. 

“I am grateful for Ruth Stage and its generous support,” CCF founder, Stacie Lindsey said. “Nonprofit organizations helping each other in ways that make sense to bring awareness to their causes is a win-win situation.” 

To purchase tickets to Theater Saves Lives: An Evening of Hope, visit www.ruthstage.org or www.theatersaveslives.eventbrite.com. For additional information and for group discount inquiries please contact info@ruthstage.orgFor more information on the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation please visit www.cholangiocarcinoma.org.  

  

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Founded in 2006, the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is a global 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to find a cure and improve the quality of life for those affected by bile duct cancer. CCF supports basic & translational research and raises awareness in the cholangiocarcinoma community through advocacy, education, collaboration, and research. For more information, please visit our website at cholangiocarcinoma.org.   

Matt de Rogatis (Chairman & Creative Director/Ruth Stage) Matt de Rogatis is an actor/producer and the Chairman and Creative Director of Ruth Stage; a 501(c) (3) non profit theater organization producing professional works in both New Jersey and New York City. Some of his previous acting/producing credits include “Frederick Clegg” in the Off Broadway premiere of The Collector (59E59 Theaters), acclaimed revivals of Lone Star as “Roy” (The Triad), “Richard III” in Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III (124 Bank Street Theater & Theater for the New City) directed by Austin Pendleton, and most recently, a celebrated Off Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie in which he portrayed “Tom” (Wild Project). 2022 marks the 40 year anniversary of Ruth Stage. 

Alison Fraser is a two- time Tony Award nominee for playing Martha in The Secret Garden (Drama Desk nominee also) and Josefine/Monica in Romance/Romance. Other Broadway roles include Dorine in Tartuffe; Born Again, Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Tessie Tura in Arthur Laurents’ production of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone.She originated the role of Sharon in Aaron Mark’s Squeamish (Off Broadway Alliance Award , Outer Critic’s Circle Award nominee). She was Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford in Michael John LaChiusa’s First Daughter Suite (Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nomineeat the Public Theater, Mommy in The Sandbox and The Landlady in Funnyhouse of a Negro at The Signature Theatre (director Lilia Neugebauer). Other roles she has created Off-Broadway include Arsinoé in David Ives’ The School For Lies, Sister Marie Walburga in Charles Busch’s The Divine Sister, Jessie in Terrence McNally’s Dedication, or the Stuff of Dreams (opposite Marion Seldes and Nathan Lane),Trina in March of the Falsettos and In Trousers ( also credited with vocal arrangement credits)  Miss Drumgoole in Todd Rundgren’s Up Against It, and The Matron in the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ In Masks Outrageous and Austere (opposite Shirley Knight). Film and TV credits include GothamHappy! High MaintenanceLaw & Order: SVU, Happyish, Smash, It Could Be Worse, Blowtorch, Socks and Bonds,Understudies, Jack in A Box, The Thing About My Folks (opposite Peter Falk and Paul Reiser) and the upcoming The Sound of Silence (opposite Austin Pendleton and Peter Saarsgard, and the upcoming Can’t Let It Go. She has been heard on thousands of radio and television commercials, the Grand Theft Auto franchise, innumerable audiobooks(recent Earphones Award winner for Fierce Poise) and dozens of albums including her three solo cds: Alison Fraser-A New York Romance, Men In My Life, and Tennessee Williams: Words and Music.  

Spencer Scott is an actor, director, producer, and acting/playwriting consultant from Long Island, New York. He studied drama at Syracuse University and trained with the legendary Austin Pendleton at HB Studio in New York City. He has performed in many plays such as Romeo & Juliet, The House of Yes, An Inspector Calls, The Boys Next Door, and Ruth Stage’s production of The Glass Menagerie in 2019. In addition to taking on the role of Gooper in Ruth Stage’s upcoming revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  he is also a producer on the show. Some of his other theatre producing credits include, Romeo & Juliet, Dad’s Dates and Other Disturbances (A Collection of Short Plays and Films by Frank Tangredi), and the popular recurring series: Ten Minute Play Soiree presented by The Greenhouse Ensemble.  

Austin Pendleton is an actor, director, and playwright. He has acted in about 250 movies and appeared several times in such TV shows as HOMICIDE, OZ, and the different versions of LAW AND ORDER. Onstage in New York he has acted on Broadway (CHOIR BOY, at Manhattan Theatre Club; THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, with Natalie Portman; and as Motel the Tailor in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof); off-Broadway (Obie winner for THE LAST SWEET DAYS OF ISAAC; ROSMERSHOLM, at Manhattan Theatre Club; UP FROM PARADISE, a musical by Arthur Miller and Stanley Silverman, at Jewish Rep; EDUCATING RITA, with Laurie Metcalf); and off-off Broadway (title roles in KING LEAR, HAMLET, RICHARD THE THIRD, RICHARD THE SECOND; new plays such as CITY GIRLS AND DESPERADOES, DRESS OF FIRE, CONSIDER THE LILIES). As a director he has been represented by the premiere productions of: A THOUSAND PINES, by Matthew Greene; BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, by Stephen Adly Giurgis, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize; FIFTY WORDS, by Michael Weller, with Elizabeth Marvel and Norbert Leo Butz; Chekhov productions at Classic Stage Company such as THREE SISTERS (for which he won the Obie, and which starred Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jessica Hecht), IVANOV, which starred Ethan Hawke, and UNCLE VANYA, with Mamie Gummer; A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COEUR, by Tennessee Williams, with Kristine Nielsen and Annette O’Toole; WARS OF THE ROSES (Shakespeare, at 124 Bank Street Theater & Theater for the New City); HAMLET (also at CSC, with Peter Sarsgaard); THE LITTLE FOXES, on Broadway, with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton (five Tony nominations, one for direction and three for actors, including Ms. Taylor and Ms. Stapleton).  

Joe Rosario is an actor, writer, producer, and director from the New York City area. As an actor he has appeared on The Sopranos, Ed, Law and Order, Sex and the City, Law and Order SVU, Oz, 100 Centre St., Faith and Hope and the original pilot Thunderbox. He has appeared numerous times on The Chappelle Show, The View in various comedic skits and was a re-occurring character on the Late Show with David Letterman. He has also appeared in over 50 commercials. Rosario is also an award winning filmmaker and producer. His award winning films have been official selections in over 20 film festivals, including Cannes film festival, New York International and Barcelona film festivals. His film work includes the feature drama “SNAPSHOT” starring Zach McGowan (Shameless). Joe’s print work includes editorials in over 30 magazines as well as billboard appearances in Russia, Italy and the United States. He is currently developing several TV pilots and screen plays which have won awards at over 20 domestic and international festivals. Rosario is also an accomplished script doctor and acting teacher. Privately, he coaches many actors seen on film and TV. In 2015, Joe directed An Evening of One Acts: The Exhibition & Flowers for Algernon for Ruth Stage. His original stage play, Hemingway and Me, will be produced in June 2022 in New York City. 

(via: Ruth Stage)

JOE KINNISON’S IMPROV—THE WRITER AND ANGLER ON HIS NEW HOW-TO BOOK: ‘NEXT-LEVEL BASS FISHING’–FROM SKYHORSE ·

JOE KINNISON is on the hook for our latest interview, talking with SV’s Bob Shuman about getting started in bass fishing, enjoying the peace, beauty, and intellectual challenge of the sport, and sharing insights from the world’s top Bassmaster anglers:  Christiana Bradley, Tyler Carriere, Destin Demarion, Pam Martin-Wells, and Brandon Palaniuk. 

 

Joe Kinnison “sincerely promotes fishing for everyone.” His previous book is Oh’Fish-Al Innsbrook Fishing Guide, on fishing technique tailored to a lake resort community in Eastern Missouri. Joe is an officer in a St. Louis fishing club, and he has several bass tournament wins. He is also a member of the Missouri Writers Guild and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SOEPA). 

 

What did you hook your first fish with—and what are your first memories of fishing?

When I was in primary school, my parents bought a small farm. The farm was all of the way at the end of a miles long gravel road. A small neighborhood organization took up a collection to maintain the road, along with a well that served water to the community. The well was a short walk up the road from our site, and a roughly two acre, kidney-bean-shaped pond was just downhill from the well on common ground. The pond was difficult to approach. It was surrounded by weeds and generally not well kept. Still, we decided to try fishing in the pond one summer day. After trampling enough weeds to get to the water’s edge, we baited hooks with bobbers and worms and started casting. In what seemed like no time, we were reeling in bass, many of which were good size, at least to a kid. Nearly every cast produced a fish, and I remember getting worn out, more than feeling that we’d caught all we could.

What kind of bait do you use today?

I use artificial baits today, and I change baits depending on the forage of the lake and the season of the year. I have had some of my best fishing days, in terms of volume, fishing a lipless crankbait. A lipless crankbait is a fairly heavy lure which is shaped like a fish. The fishing line ties to about the center of the fish’s back which makes the lure wiggle as it moves. A lipless crankbait can be cast a long distance, and the lure is retrieved at a regular rate. I use the lure to cover flats, which are large, shallow sections of lakes. I have had some of my most prolific fishing days dragging a lipless crankbait up the deep edge of a flat and long distances over the submerged surface of the flat. When the fish bite this moving lure, they tend to bite hard. The long length of fishing line from the long cast gives the hooked fish room run, and surge, and jump.

How has your technique changed over the years—and what crucial insight did you have about it?

When I moved to St. Louis, I started getting together with a small group of anglers. We jokingly called ourselves the Bassin’ Assassins. About once a month, we would travel to a group of ponds on a friend’s farm. We were not a very experienced group, but the ponds were seldom fished. These bass would bite almost anything. I started by throwing an inline spinner, which is really more of a trout lure than a bass lure. The bass bit it anyway. Since the ponds were a forgiving environment for an up-and-coming angler, I started experimenting. What I learned is that I preferred to fish slow, rather than just rip baits along a path and try for a reaction strike. I liked making the bait appear natural and move like a real crayfish or a worm. I later learned that this style of mimicking prey is called finesse fishing. Finesse fishing is the method I most prefer. It is slower, it gives a good feel for the fish, and being able to tempt a fish with what it believes is actual food is rewarding.

Why do you think people give up on fishing—and is there a way to keep them going with the sport?

I have met many people who like catching, but don’t necessarily like fishing. I think most people get excited to have a fish on the line. They get to steer the fish, reel it in, control it, and grab its lip. Although that’s the excitement of the sport, catching does not always happen. Moreover, sometimes when it does happen, the fish do not fight, or they are too small to be challenging. During most fishing trips, there is a period of time when the fish are not biting. Those are the times when most people give up on fishing, finding it boring. Those that stick with the sport seem to be the anglers that start seeking solutions when the fishing is idle. They start changing lures, alternating retrieve cadences, or switching colors. They start to notice changes in water color or wind direction or sun angle. Those that begin to understand the natural elements that impact the catching. These are the ones that keep going with the sport. I think the best way to learn the types of things that matter to fishing success is to spend time on the water with someone who loves fishing, not catching.

You interviewed five professional anglers, affiliated with Bassmaster for this book—were there any commonalities to their experience and stories?  Are most people who fish helpful to the newcomer?

Fishing is a welcoming community, especially to kids. In my experience, anglers are like golfers, in that they are happy to recount the elements that led up to their par, what club, what distance, what line, and so on.  For anglers, it may be what reels and cranks, what location, or what technique. While some anglers protect their secrets, most are quite open in sharing their experiences. As for the professionals, the most common element of their stories is that they each had a mentor. Be it a grandfather, brother, or family friend, each angler had a generous fishing enthusiast take them under their arm and give them experiences on the water. Although fishing is the second most popular outdoor sport, fishing can seem to be a small and not mainstream community. Really, it’s not. You just need to find a friend.

What does a fisherperson do during the off-season?

The off-season for professional fishing may not be what you think, the off-season is actually in the fall. Professional tours start as early as February, and the season ends in July. While that is the professional ranks, I make the point in my book that I am far from a professional caliber angler. For me, the off season is what you might expect, winter. I live in the Midwest, and I am not a big fan of cold. Some of my peers travel to Arkansas each year to fish for trout in the Ozark mountain streams. Personally, I like the heartiness and the fight of bass, so I stick with that type of fishing. I give my boat a good cleaning about Thanksgiving time, and I park it until the Easter season. I spend the winter reading and writing.

Please discuss the issue of releasing fish after they are caught. Why would or wouldn’t you do this—is it ever required?

Choosing to either keep or release a bass is a thorny issue, and there are passionate opinions on both sides. Large and smallmouth bass are not good eating fish. They are edible, but they would not be a first choice among diners. As such, keeping these fish for food is not the norm. For most of my fishing tenure, catch-and-release has been the preferred method. Recently, however, lake management views have been changing. Bass tend to be the apex predators in most lakes. With few adversaries, the fish tend to overpopulate. When a bass population gets too large, sufficient food is not present to support all of those fish. The fish tend to grow to approximately the same size and compete for what nourishment is available. These fish tend to thin. The industry calls such fish stunted. The bulk of the fish population of a lake can be unhealthy, starving. Some of the new thinking is that small bass should be removed from lakes and rivers to try to prevent the stunting problem. With small bass being particularly hard to prepare as food, the question becomes what to do with them. Dead fish are better used for garden fertilizer or even left on the bank to feed birds and raccoons. Some animal rights people believe that culling small fish is inhumane. Other animal rights people believe that starving a population of fish is inhumane. There are good arguments on both sides. I am a believer that catch-and-keep is the best policy.

What is fish body language and how does knowing about it help when fishing?

Even experienced anglers generally do not know that largemouth bass can change color. The fish have the ability to express the green and black pigments in their skin, or they can mask those pigments. It would not be unusual to catch really green-looking bass on one trip, and then catch really white-looking bass on another trip on the same lake. Coloration depends on how deep the bass are swimming and how much vegetation is in the water. Bass express their pigments when they are in the weeds. The green shades make them harder to find. The suppress their pigments when they are in deep or open water. More whiteness makes them harder to see by other fish looking from the bottom toward the surface. The pigment provides information to the angler. If you reel in a white-ish bass, it does not mean the animal is unhealthy. Instead, it means the animal came from a deep, suspended position to bite the lure. In that way, the coloration of the bass tells you at what depth the fish are feeding. This is valuable information for the angler.

How would this book have been written if you worked on it ten years ago—what has changed in the field?

I do not think this book could have been written a decade ago. Like many pursuits, fishing has undergone tremendous technological change in the last ten years. In that period of time, the industry has developed high resolution sonar equipment, invisible fishing lines, and previously unheard of lure presentations like umbrella rigs. Due to the improvements in the technology, most anglers have been focused on trying new gear. The new gear has been effective in improving catch rates, especially for offshore fish. As the technology has been assimilated, in my experience, questions remained unanswered. For example, if we both have all of the greatest gear, what makes an angler on the Bassmaster Elite tour different from me? In looking for that explanation, it became clear to me that soft skills separate anglers who already possess the latest technology. It really comes back to the human elements to determine success. Mentorship is a factor. It is also sensory skills, creativity, and organization that make the true difference.

What do you discuss in the book that isn’t typically covered in fishing books?

This may sound mundane, but one of the things that I discuss is how to get on the water. Some of the nation’s best fishing lakes are overwhelmingly large. It can be a difficult problem just to get started, and no one tells you that perspective. I point readers to where to launch their boat, where to get a guide, where to stay overnight, and where to grab dinner. Such practical things are often omitted in fishing books. Beyond the practical, few other fishing books will inform readers about things like sensory training and improvisation techniques.

How long does it take, on average, for someone to feel confident in fishing?

Getting confident in fishing can take a while. I cannot really identify a precise timetable, but I would say about five years will not be far off. As with any sport, some people have a natural gift for fishing. They may be particularly aware of nature or unusually observant. These folks usually start fast. For the fast starters as for the rest of us, eventually the angler will have an outing where they catch nothing. A reliable bait does not work or no fish reside in a confident “honey hole.” At these times, whatever confidence the beginning angler has fails. What restores confidence is going back out on the water and trying different lures, different techniques, and different locations until one finds and catches the fish. Having to adapt to different conditions and different quirks is what ultimately makes a successful angler. One would have to have experienced several shut-out situations before becoming assured that success could be achieved under most  fishing conditions.  Personally, going onto a lake knowing that I can effectively fish crankbaits, or spinnerbaits, or soft plastics, or swimbaits is what ultimately gave me confidence. That and being able to consistently out-fish my brother-in-law.

Do you honestly believe that both sensory training and improv training really make a difference to an angler?

Both of these disciplines sound “new agey,” and “fluffy,” as in not tangible. I refer people to a scientific study of a baseball team that employed sensory techniques. The results were measurable. In the book, I tried to translate some of the sensory training ideas to outdoors pursuits. I have tried these sensory exercises, and I believe that they have helped my fishing. My most memorable response to suggestions for sensory training was an angry one. A very experienced angler chastised me for trying to teach people what for him was just being “in the zone.” I guess he had some natural abilities, and he was upset that I was teaching people how to make the best of their lesser gifts. Improv is also a tentative conversation for most anglers. People seem to think that I’m trying to get them to try out for Second City Comedy or something of that ilk. No, I’m trying to provide permission and instill a process for experimentation. Sometimes just knowing it’s okay to cast a jig with a purple streamer or a crankbait with a worm weight ahead of it on the line is acceptable as long as it is purposeful.

You really make the sport sound approachable and fun.  How were you able to do that?

Two teachers in particular had an influence on my life. A high school English teacher was a fiend for economy of language. Second, a college professor once lowered a grade on a paper saying that I turned in ten pages because I did not have time to write eight pages. He wanted editing and economy. I brought those sentiments into my professional life, and I became a big advocate for clarity and simplicity. I believe that writing in that fashion makes most topics approachable.

Fishing can get really complex, and the industry is heavy on jargon. I have heard professional anglers take more than a full minute just to tell you the details of their rod, reel, line, and lure combination. I do not think it needs to be that complicated. One of the things that I really liked about the anglers that I worked with is that they too kept it simple. For example, one only used two lure colors, among the hundreds of choices. If the pros can reduce the options to two, so can weekend anglers.

Finally, fishing is fun. Something about the man versus beast situation is primal. Fishing is a rite of passage. Getting proficient at fishing is really just calling upon skills you use in other areas of your life and channeling them productively into this particular pursuit. Most people have the life skills that enable at least some measure of success at fishing. I am hoping to draw these out of people so that they enjoy the peace, beauty, majesty, and intellectual challenge of the sport as I do.

Thanks so much, Joe, for talking with Stage Voices.

View Next-Level Bass Fishing at AMAZON

Photo permissions (from top): Skyhorse; Joe Kinnison; Tyler Carriere 

(c) 2021 by Joe Kinnison (answers) and Bob Shuman (questions). All rights reserved.

AUSTRALIA: CABARET STARS TURN TO GAMERS AND INFLUENCERS FOR STREAMING TIPS ·

(Stephen A. Russell’s article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 9/20.   Photo: Sydney Morning Herald.)

The word ‘cabaret’ conjures images of intimate, candlelit spaces with audience members huddled together and the performer in amongst it. But for 200+ days, as lockdowns roll on, that’s not been an option. Could the internet fill the void?

With energy as big as her vocals, Tash York was used to dashing between Fringe festivals across the country and hopping overseas for annual appearances in Edinburgh. “To do it as a full-time profession, you need to have audiences everywhere,” she says. “It also means, for the performer, you can do the same show and peddle it around for the entire year.”

(Read more)

CHRISTO GETS HIS FINAL WISH AS PARIS’S ARC DE TRIOMPHE IS WRAPPED ·

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 16: The Arc de Triomphe is seen ‘wrapped’ in homage to late artist Christo in Paris, France on September 16, 2021. (Photo by Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

(from France 24, 9/17.)

It was the dream of the late artist couple, Bulgarian-born Christo and his French wife Jeanne-Claude. As they gazed out of their window in the early 1960s, they imagined wrapping Paris’s Arc de Triomphe monument in fabric. They laid out detailed drawings and instructions on how to transform the landmark structure and today, their vision has been posthumously realised. We take a closer look.

Also on the programme, it’s that time of year in France where for two days thousands of historic monuments across the country – including gardens, museums, theatres and even the Paris sewers – hold free open days for the public. Our reporters take us behind the scenes at Paris’s iconic Châtelet Theatre.

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JEAN-CLAUDE VAN ITALLIE, ‘AMERICA HURRAH’ PLAYWRIGHT, DIES AT 85 ·

(Neil Genzlinger’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/15; Photo: The playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie in 1999 introducing a reading of “America Hurrah,” his best-known play. A production in Mobile, Ala., lasted two days before the mayor shut it down.Credit…Fran Durner for The New York Times.)

He was a central figure in the experimental theater movement for decades. His best-known work, a trilogy of one-acts, opened in 1966 and ran for more than 630 performances.

His brother, Michael, said the cause was pneumonia.

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‘WEST SIDE STORY’ DROPS GRANDIOSE TRAILER FOR SPIELBERG REMAKE ·

(Ryan Parker’s article appeared in the Hollywood Reporter, 9/15;  

The 20th Century film is due in theaters Dec. 10.

West Side Story dropped its official trailer Wednesday, and the Steven Spielberg remake looks as epic as the Oscar-winning original musical.

A little more than two minutes in length, the preview outlines the classic story of forbidden love between Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler) and the hatred the rival Jets and Sharks gangs have for one another.

Although a remake of the 1961 film, Spielberg’s version is not a shot-for-shot copy, as can be seen in the bold, stylish trailer, which has new scenes and different dialogue.

West Side Story also stars Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andrés Rivera, Corey Stoll and Brian d’Arcy James. Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her performance in the original film, also appears in the remake.

The 20th Century film wrapped in October 2019 but has been awaiting release after being delayed a few times due to the pandemic.

(Read more)

CHEERS GREET THE REOPENING OF THREE MEGA-HIT BROADWAY SHOWS ·

(Mark Kennedy’s article appeared pm the AP, 9/14; via the Drudge Report;  Photo: Kristin Chenoweth; credit: AP.)

NEW YORK (AP) — Theater royalty — in the form of Kristin Chenoweth, Julie Taymor and Lin-Manuel Miranda — welcomed back boisterous audiences to “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “Hamilton” for the first time since the start of the pandemic, marking Tuesday as the unofficial return of Broadway.

Chenoweth surprised the crowd at “Wicked” by appearing onstage for a speech on the same stage where she became a star years ago. “There’s no place like home,” she said, lifting a line from the musical. The crowd hooted, hollered and gave her a standing ovation.

Taymor, the director and costume-designer of “The Lion King,” congratulated her audience for the courage and enthusiasm to lead the way. “Theater, as we know, is the lifeblood and soul of the city,” she said. “It’s time for us to live again.” And Miranda at “Hamilton” summed up the feeling of a lot of people when he said: “I don’t ever want to take live theater for granted.”

“The Lion King,” “Hamilton” and “Wicked” all staked out Tuesday to reopen together in early May after then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo picked Sept. 14 for when Broadway could begin welcoming back audiences at full capacity.

The trio of shows were beaten by Bruce Springsteen’s concert show in June and the opening of the new play “Pass Over” on Aug. 22, as well as the reopening of two big musicals — “Hadestown” and “Waitress.”

But the return of the three musicals — the spiritual anchors of modern Broadway’s success — as well as the return of the long-running “Chicago” and the reopening of the iconic TKTS booth, both also on Tuesday, are important signals that Broadway is back, despite pressure and uncertainty from the spread of the delta variant.

The crowds virtually blew the roof off the three theaters. At “Wicked,” they stood and applauded the dimming of the lights, the welcome announcement, the arrival and departure of Chenoweth, the opening notes of the first song and several moments during that song, especially when Glinda says: “It’s good to see me, isn’t it?”

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***** ‘MASTERCLASS’: A MAGNIFICENT SEND-UP OF THE ANXIETIES OF THE AGE (SV PICK, IRELAND) ·

(Chris McCormack’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 9/13; Materclass: Adrienne Truscott plays opposite Feidlim Cannon.)

Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Brokentalkers and Truscott’s fruitful collaboration feels like a direct response to #MeToo

MASTERCLASS

Project Arts Centre: Space Upstairs
Dublin Fringe Festival

★★★★★
This magnificent send-up of James Lipton’s Inside the Actors Studio is the latest play to feel like a direct response to #MeToo. What sets Brokentalkers and Adrienne Truscott’s fruitful collaboration apart is how it resembles an outward sign of inward changes: an industry reckoning with its own direction.

On the set of an absurd talk show, Truscott appears as a laughably macho playwright whose adversarial new drama is igniting the gender wars. (The sideburn-scratching pretentiousness of early 1990s Greenwich Village will feel like a specific flashpoint for anyone who remembers the depressing uproar accompanying David Mamet’s Oleanna.)

If anything is to be gained from the skewered machismo of a male artist bleeding at his typewriter, inscribing quotes on penknives and carrying a shotgun like an accessory, it might be the desire to purge a broken system. Opposite Truscott’s playwright sits a bluff interviewer (Feidlim Cannon) whose questioning devolves into a bungling pep talk, as if art criticism is complicit in preserving myths about male geniuses.

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ARTISTS AND ARTS WATCH: THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL FOR KABUL’S STREET ART SCENE ·

(Amy Kazmin’s article appeared in the Financial Times, 9/9; street painting depicting Farkhunda Malikzada, a 27-year-old woman who was lynched by a mob in Kabul in March 2015 © Yaghobzadeh Alfred/ABACA/Reuters.)

The city’s domineering blast walls were a canvas for colourful murals 

They were afraid of these murals and they had a very clear plan for them,” says artist Omaid Sharifi, co-founder of the grassroots movement Artlords, which mobilised Afghans to paint more than 2,000 murals across the country. “They knew that these murals were the soul of Kabul city, and they wanted to destroy — silence — the soul of Kabul.” The first Taliban regime, from 1996 to 2001, was a time of extreme hardships for the country’s artists, as an extreme, dour, joyless interpretation of Islamic law was enforced. Arts and entertainment — even television and videos in private homes — were banned by fundamentalist leaders who believed photography violated the Islamic injunction against idolatry. In their zeal, the Taliban blew up two monumental 6th-century Bamiyan Buddhas — an act of cultural vandalism that provoked global outrage.

Music was prohibited, instruments smashed, with brutal punishments for anyone who broke the rules. Many Afghans hoped the Taliban — who have embraced social media with gusto — might have grown more tolerant of arts and cultural expression over the past two decades. But the destruction of Kabul’s murals, Sharifi said, has made clear that the new regime will not tolerate any voices other than their own.

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