Category Archives: Events

MOISÉS KAUFMAN ON MARRYING ART AND LIFE ·

(Joanne Kaufman’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/15; via Pam Green.)

The playwright and director Moisés Kaufman lives with his husband, Jeffrey LaHoste, in what Mr. LaHoste puckishly calls the smoked fish belt. Murray’s Sturgeon ShopBarney Greengrass and Zabar’s are all just a cherry stone’s throw away from the rental the men have shared since 1989, soon after meeting in a political theater class at New York University.

The couple, who married three years ago, got the apartment, a Classic Six with crown moldings, hardwood floors and a windowed kitchen, in that time-honored New York way — through somebody who knew somebody who had very good connections.

At the time it felt a little far away,” said Mr. Kaufman, 53, a founder with Mr. LaHoste of Tectonic Theater Project, a company whose productions include “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” and “The Laramie Project,” an account of the reaction to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, both written by Mr. Kaufman.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/realestate/moises-kaufman-on-marrying-art-and-life.html

Photo: Lambda Literary

‘THE CLIMBERS’ BY CLYDE FITCH (METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE–9/8-10/8)—NEXT ON THE STAGE VOICES CALENDAR ·

‘THE CLIMBERS’ BY CLYDE FITCH (METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE)

ABOUT:

ARE WE THERE, YET?

By Alex Roe

In the land of opportunity, no star is beyond our grasp. No aspiration is too high, if only we will reach for it.  But is the invitation to continually strive a gift, or a curse? Is opportunity-worship devotion to a jealous idol? Is it, in fact, a goblin haunting the American dream? 

Farcical and heartbreaking by turns, Clyde Fitch’s 1901 The Climbers defies easy categorization, but by changing its own tone, this long-overlooked play captures  an elusive quarry and an essential conundrum for the American social animal.  At the dawn of the 20th century, the altruistic and esteemed head of the Hunter family  has died before his time, leaving his wife and three daughters with an unwelcome surprise. Desperate in his final months to keep up with the demands of their extravagant social life, he made a risky investment and lost the family’s once substantial fortune, leaving them with no assets or income at all. 

If the fires of adversity prove one’s mettle, the various members of this family seem to be made of different stuff. Mr. Hunter’s widow, youngest daughter, and son-in-law scheme to dupe others into making up their losses. Meanwhile, his sister and two elder  daughters vow to care for themselves and their families whatever the personal costs.  From these different campaigns spring both the wicked comedy and tender pathos of the play. 

(Read more)

http://metropolitanplayhouse.org/essayclimbers

and Read more….The Clyde Fitch Report

Photo: L to R: Levi Adkins, Becca Ballenger, Margaret Catov, Matt McAllister
Alexandra Anne, Erin Leigh Schmoyer, Marc LeVasseur, David Licht,
Erin Beirnard (concealed), Alyssa Simonb
photo: Tanya Parks

WRITING RUPERT, PLAYING MURDOCH, MAKING ‘INK’ ·

(Rosalyn Sulcas’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/21; via the Drudge Report.)

LONDON — Brash headlines. Hyper-opinionated columnists. Celebrity mania. Unabashed appeals to those who feel excluded.

Sound familiar? These themes perfectly reflect the media climate of our time, but they also define the portrait of a young Rupert Murdoch in James Graham’s “Ink,” which is at the Duke of York’s Theater in the West End, after a successful run at the Almeida Theater.

Directed by Rupert Goold and starring Bertie Carvel and Richard Coyle, “Ink” chronicles the 1969 takeover of the moribund Sun newspaper by Rupert Murdoch, then a rising Australian media mogul. Together with Larry Lamb, who he hired as the editor, Mr. Murdoch proceeded to reinvent the mass-market tabloid and to change the media and politics here in a way that still resounds today. (The Sun, still going strong, is one of the tabloids thought to have strongly influenced Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.)

How much could Mr. Murdoch, who is a close friend of Donald Trump, and who controls the Fox News Channel, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, have foreseen the consequences of those early decisions? What motivated him? What does it mean for “Ink” to be seen in Britain now? Mr. Graham, the author of several recently successful plays (“This House,” “Privacy”), and Mr. Carvel, best-known for playing the villainous Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda,” sat down a few days before the West End premiere to discuss these questions and more. This is an edited version of the conversation.

What made you want to write a play about the rise of the tabloids? Was it prompted by the polemics around Brexit?

Continue reading the main story

DOES THE ROAD TO BROADWAY PASS THROUGH BEIJING?  ·

(Peter Marks’s article appeared in the Washington Post, 9/19.)

A week ago, Signature Theatre’s artistic director, Eric Schaeffer, flew to South Korea to stage the company’s hit revival of the musical “Titanic” in Seoul, with a Korean cast. And now, the Arlington-based, Tony-honored group is taking yet another step toward Asia as it dives into an ambitious project to help develop an original Chinese musical — in both Mandarin and English.

The hope for “Road to Heaven: The Jonathan Lee Musical,” says lead producer Ivy Zhong, founder and chief executive of China Broadway Entertainment, is to create the first piece of Chinese musical theater with global reach, starting with a Mandarin version in China and then a production in English in the United States and elsewhere. To that end, her company has recruited a group of American theater professionals, including Schaeffer as director, Richard Maltby Jr. (“Miss Saigon”) as lyricist and book writer John Dempsey (“The Witches of Eastwick”).

Their mission is to turn the songbook of Taiwanese-born singer-songwriter Jonathan Lee — known to fans in China and Taiwan as Li Zongsheng — into a jukebox musical, adapted from a novel by Li Xiuwen. That process began this week, with rehearsals in New York that are to lead to a full reading of the musical on Dec. 12 in Signature’s Shirlington complex, with production costs paid by Zhong’s company.

(Read more)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/does-the-road-to-broadway-pass-through-beijing/2017/09/19/c3b0c99e-9d47-11e7-8ed4-a750b67c552b_story.html?utm_term=.59eda2b41e55

ELEVATOR REPAIR SERVICE TACKLES SHAKESPEARE’S ‘MEASURE FOR MEASURE’ ·

(Jason Zinoman’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/14; via Pam Green.)

Elevator Repair Service, one of the city’s few truly essential theater companies, has always delighted in a good problem, whether it’s how to dramatize oral arguments from the Supreme Court or stage the famously difficult-to-adapt novel “The Great Gatsby” without sacrificing a word. So it makes sense that when its artistic director, John Collins, decided to direct his first Shakespeare, he decided on “Measure for Measure,” perhaps Shakespeare’s most problematic of problem plays.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/14/theater/elevator-repair-service-tackles-shakespeares-problem-play.html

Photo: Elevator Repair Service

MICHAEL FRIEDMAN, A MAN OF MANY VOICES AND A GIFT FOR PROPHECY ·

(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/11; via Pam Green.)

“Populism, yea, yea…”

Sung with a snarl, and accompanied by twanging power chords, those words opened the floodgates to a wave of electric emotion — a compound of rage, restlessness and a disgust with a ruling elite whose days had to be numbered. “We’re gonna take this country back,” went the lyrics of this anthem for dispossessed Americans, “for people like us, people who don’t just think about things.”

I first heard that song more than eight years ago at the Public Theater in downtown Manhattan. It was the opening number in a concert productionof a show called “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a musical portrait of the seventh president of the United States. It’s been playing in my mind a lot recently.

How prophetic it sounds now. How easily those lyrics, and the propulsive drive of discontent within that melody, might fit the supporters at a rally for Donald J. Trump, whose ascendancy to the American presidency few people anticipated. But in 2009, who knew?

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/11/theater/michael-friedman-appraisal.html

 

DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: OUR GUIDE TO THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND ·

(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 9/14.)

REVIEWS 

End Of

The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin

Sep 16-21/23-24 7.30pm €14/€12 fringefest.com

If, like me, your immediate response to the apocalypse would be to regret not having read more books, Sugar Coat Theatre’s new production is just the slap in the face you’ve been needing. Seanan McDonell’s new comedy, which will be performed in The Gutter Bookshop, is easily one of the loveliest venues of this year’s Fringe. Two friends working in a bookshop receive a mysterious package that may herald the end of the world as we know it. Sharp-eyed director Conor Hanratty works with Charlene CraigDamian Gildea and Will Irvine – as well as conjuring tricks – to flip through the beginning of the world’s last chapters.

 

Gladys and the Gutter Stars

Smock Alley Theatre Boys School, Dublin

Sep 11-14/16-17 6.45pm €14/€12 fringefest.com

Whatever happened to Gladys and the Gutter Stars? The musical duo, whom the press still write about in sensationalist, incredible and hyperbolic terms, are still universally regarded as the greatest creators of popular song since the dawn of measurable time. Word is their long-anticipated new album will be made available exclusively on floppy disk. Or that it will be composed exclusively of whale song. Either way, performers Rachel Gleeson and Cameron Macauley finally offer a sneak peek of the opus in this Fringe show. Could this be a stunning return to form or a shocking display of hubris? Gladys and the Gutter Stars are pretty sure it will be one of those things.

 

Polar Night

The New Theatre, Dublin

Sep 14-16/20-23 1pm €12/€10 fringefest.com

A woman travels north in the winter to visit her ill mother, and her new husband. The performance – created by Nadine Flynn and Aaron Stapleton – combines theatre, film and visual art to evoke a cabin folding in on itself with licks of the supernatural and nudges of real concern. In a place where the daylight won’t easily reach, manipulation teems and high suicide rates chill the marrow. Rose, struggling to keep her sanity, must find the light to get free.

REVIEWS 

My Left Nut 
Bewley’s Café Theatre, Powerscourt Townhouse
★★★★

In Michael Patrick’s bittersweet comic solo performance, a young Belfast boy is having trouble with his manhood. In 1998, during the tentative steps of the Good Friday Agreement, the five-year-old’s father passes away, leaving an absence he comes to rue keenly in adolescence, when his left testicle inflates to the size of a grapefruit. In whom can a self-conscious teenager confide?

Written with his director Oisín Kearney, Patrick’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale strives for independence and intimacy through comedy, protected by a very sturdy solo-show formula, made more vulnerable with confessions of body horror and bereavement.

 

Patrick’s gang of mates, as charmingly sympathetic and well-informed as he is, take the bulge in his trousers to be a sign of his prowess. For his part, Patrick interprets it as punishment from God, “tangled up with wanking”. Unable to confide in his stoic mother he relies on excruciating discoveries via a dial-up internet connection.

The peace process would be a tempting metaphor to explore shifting authority and unguarded dialogue, but Patrick, you feel, is closer to a peace product: his preferred metaphor is a Sega video game.

Embarrassment, moreover, has been his trouble, now transformed to the source of his comedy. Like an ultimately unfussy procedure, that’s an encouraging reconciliation. – Peter Crawley
Runs until Sept 23

 

Gladys and the Gutter Stars
Smock Alley Theatre
★★★★

Gladys and the Gutter Stars

Can a band live on without their front-woman? In Cameron Macaulay and Rachel Gleeson’s wry comedy with songs, both are musicians debuting new material for a podcast. Their painful split from demented lead singer Gladys, of course, is unresolved.

Here, bitterness is barely suppressed under the polite exchanges of an interview. Gleeson sours into a scowl as Cameron gives an intelligible but winding answer for why he struggles with Arts Council applications. In turn, she talks seriously about spirituality and Kanye West.

Shane Daniel Byrne’s charming interviewer deals out thoughtful questions about imagery and lyrics, but his guests haven’t reflected much on a track-list that sounds like a string of second thoughts (Why Am I with You?, Pull Up the Blind, Betrayal).

The surreal arrival of Gladys herself rouses deeper anxieties. This could easily have been a vapid defence for naval-gazers but instead we get something more discreet, the trudge of a generation asked to work for free. With sparks of rock’n’roll, the Gutter Stars carry on. – Chris McCormack
Runs until Sept 17

(Read more)

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/stage/dublin-fringe-festival-our-guide-to-the-best-of-the-weekend-1.3219710

Photo: Gladys and the Gutter Stars/No More Workhorse

CHEKHOV: ‘THREE SISTERS’ (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3–LINK BELOW) ·

Listen at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0739rh4

Three sisters living in a garrison town in provincial Russia dream of the day that they will return to their home city of Moscow. Maybe then their lives will really start. But in Anton Chekhov’s poignant classic somehow real life keeps getting in the way.

Three Sisters was written in 1900 and is a meticulously observed play for an ensemble cast. In its wry portrayal of dreams and self-delusion, and of the folly of believing that life is always better elsewhere, Chekhov’s drama captures universal truths, joys and sorrows but his greatness as a writer of the human condition lies in his avoidance of either sentimentality or judgement.

With Peter Ringrose on additional piano

Sound: Nigel Lewis

Adapted for radio by D.J.Britton
Directed by Alison Hindell
BBC Cymru Wales production

WILL THE OLD GAY PLAY HAVE SOMETHING NEW TO SAY? ·

(Jesse Green’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/7; via Pam Green.)  

Many of us who arrived in New York in the last decades of the last century, looking to the theater for news about what it meant to be gay, found ourselves serially disheartened.

Starting with Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band” in 1968, and continuing with Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” about a dozen years later, we faced quite a fun house mirror of gay life. Or perhaps a house of horrors.

“The Boys in the Band,” daring in its forthrightness, situated its characters on a Kinsey scale from four to six and a psychological spectrum from damaged to desperate. Arnold Beckoff, the protagonist of “Torch Song Trilogy,” could have been one of them. Though sympathetic and sassy, he was still a drag queen in an era that did not valorize that.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/theater/will-the-old-gay-play-have-something-new-to-say.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fjesse-green&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection

 

SIR PETER HALL, REST IN PEACE: POWERFUL FORCE IN BRITISH THEATRE ·

 

(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/12.)                                                                                                                                   

(Listen to BBC Radio’s 2001 interview with Peter Hall:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00nc8qb )

Sir Peter Hall, who has died aged 86, was the single most influential figure in modern British theatre. As a director of plays, especially Shakespeare, Pinter and Beckett, he was very fine. In the opera house he brought real musical understanding to the work of Mozart and Verdi. But it was through his creation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1960s and his stewardship of the National Theatre from 1973 to 1988 that he affirmed his passionate faith in subsidised institutions. If we now take their existence for granted, it is largely because of the pioneering battles waged by Hall and his visionary enthusiasm.

As a man, he was extremely complicated. To many in the theatre, he was seen as a consummate politician: someone who hid his manipulative skills behind a mask of public affability. And he certainly possessed the politician’s ability to get things done. But he also had the vulnerability of the artist and, on many occasions, I glimpsed the melancholia and wounded spirit that lay beneath the geniality. Far from being a consummate Machiavel, he always struck me as a candid, generous and open person who made little attempt to conceal either his euphoria or his disappointment.

(Read more)

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/sep/12/peter-hall-obituary-british-theatre-rss-national

Photo: The Times of London