Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Theatre Week in Review: July 6, 2013

A sampling of theatre news, reviews and humor for the week: on Broadway & beyond

broadway-signRussian theatre gets a makeover:
But not before Russian police investigate the 2007 Moscow Art Theater production of The Pillowman.

Obama awards Tony Kushner: On Wenesday, the President will award the playwright with a National Medal of Arts for his contributions to American theatre and film. Anna Deavere Smith will receive a National Medal of Humanities for her “portrayal of authentic American voices.”

How to cure Producer Paralysis: Producer Ken Davenport “just doesn’t get” why anyone would want to produce non-profit theatre. (Yes, he actually said this.) And then he goes on to state what a for-profit producer can learn from a non-profit producer. (Huh.)

I Hope They Serve Beer on Broadway has been cancelled: The Off-Broadway theatrical adaptation of Tucker Max’s surely philosophically deep and artistically sound I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell has been cancelled. Sorry ’bout your luck, bro. But, no, seriously: you make my skin crawl.

“Demystifying the MFA”: This series on the Howlround blog discusses why you should (not) get an MFA in theatre. (Or, if you’re me, an MA.)

Going to theater school makes you want to be part of a theater that largely doesn’t exist in the present culture. — Rachel Rusch

Happy Birthday, Neil Simon/America! The Pulitzer Prize -winning playwright and three-time Tony Award-winner is the only playwright to have a Broadway theatre named after him during his lifetime. He turned 86 on Independence Day.

“Encores! Off-Center Tilts Toward the Political”: Composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change; Violet) heads the new Encores! Off-Center program of smaller scale and nontraditional shows. A reading of The Cradle Will Rock next week will showcase a 14-piece orchestra (most productions use a single piano despite Blitzstein’s original 28-piece orchestrations), stars Raúl Esparza, Peter Friedman, Judy Kuhn, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Anika Noni Rose… and will be awesome.

Do non-profit theatres need ethics statements? In her blog post “Taming Our Inner Speculators,” Diane Ragsdale discusses the relationship, both past and present, between profit and non-profit theatres — the “tug-of-war” between art and commerce.

“Should Critics Know What Tickets Cost?” The Guardian‘s Lyn Gardner ponders Tom Sutcliffe’s suggestion that critics’ comp tickets should list the actual price because lacking that knowledge may leave some them casually recommending mediocre shows that could wipe out an average family’s weekly budget.

Will the arts suffer after Bloomberg leaves office? Mayor Bloomberg has been known as an arts mayor, supporting various cultural groups throughout the city — even contributing, deeply, from his own personal fortune. So what will happen when he leaves?

“I think it’s a great group, but it’s not my scene.” Bette Midler discusses her Tony snub and why we’ll never see her in Mame on Broadway (sigh).

“Do the Arts Get a Pass When the Content is Questionable?” Yes, and here’s why.

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