Sunday, April 23, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

I Am Miss Saigon, and I Hate It

AMERICAN THEATRE: Growing up, my dad always told me, “Every Vietnamese family has a remarkable story.” I was raised in Orange County, Calif., the home of Disneyland, the Angels baseball team, and Little Saigon—the largest population of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam. It means that we were surrounded by people who were refugees, veterans, war survivors—people who were forced to uproot themselves from their homeland, travel across the Pacific to a country where they did not speak the language, and build a new life. And every one of them, according to my dad, carried a story of how they got there, of the sacrifices they had to make, the family they lost or abandoned.

No fines issued after OSHA investigation into Cirque du Soleil performer’s fall

www.cirquefascination.com: The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found no major safety violations after an investigation into a Cirque du Soleil performer’s fall last year.

Karina Silva Poirier, an aerial silk performer with Cirque at Disney Springs, was seriously injured after falling about 45 feet during a practice session Oct. 20.

Could Immersive Theater be Merging with With Theme Parks in Disney's Star Wars Land

Theme Park University: I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I think we are on the cusp of it finally happening. Immersive theater, which I believe is the most exciting form of entertainment out there today, may finally have some elements mixed in with Disney’s new Star Wars Land when it opens in 2019. I’ve got a couple of sources to back this up, but let’s start with a video that was released during Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando.

Making a Mile of Monet

Guild of Scenic Artists: Valerie, a founding member of the Guild of Scenic Artists, and Co-Owner of Infinite Scenic shares her tale of transforming a museum space into an intimate romantic dinner venue; and how one manages such a large and complex painting project.

I want to share with you my process on an all-time favorite project. One of my most creative event planning clients requested Infinite to design and paint 370 linear feet of painted water lily wallpaper inspired by Monet’s iconic paintings.

“New York-caliber actors”: How NYC-centrism hurts regional theater

phindie: I see a lot of theater – my average is 150 shows per year. Many of those shows are in New York, and many are in Philadelphia. In 2016, I also saw professional productions in New Jersey, Delaware, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Williamstown, Mass., to name just a few places. The caliber of acting I found throughout the United States was consistently jaw-dropping, and I can say without reservation that many of the actors who have chosen to make their careers in places like Philly or D.C. or Chicago are every bit the equal of those who work consistently in New York.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Worth A Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Director, performer resign after Calgary Opera plans to cast white woman for Asian role

The Globe and Mail: Calgary Opera's production of South Pacific, planned for this summer, is facing upheaval over the same issue at the core of the musical: race. A dispute over the casting of a Tonkinese character has seen the director, a designer and a performer quit the production. The company says the director's departure was premature as the role has not been definitively cast – although a white artist is on hold for the role while Calgary Opera continues its search for a race-appropriate fit.

When A Censored Play Was Already In Violation of Copyright

Arts Integrity Initiative: The shutting down of a high school play at East Newton High School in Granby, Missouri last week may have set a new low in bad timing for such incidents. The show was not canceled after casting, during rehearsals, just prior to opening night or following the first performance. No, at East Newton the show was canceled roughly 10 minutes into the second act on its first night. Why? Because two parents, watching the show, demanded that their child be pulled off the stage.

5 graphs that show the ethnic, racial and gender makeup of playwrights at the Mark Taper Forum

For The Curious: Then one of my graduate students, Christina Ramos, asked, “How many Latino plays have they done at the Taper in the last 40 years?”

“I don’t know, but lets find out.” Thus began a two week trek through Center Theater Group’s 50 year production history.

The simple answer is 10. There have been 10 plays by Latino playwrights in the past 40 years.

Disney Could Go Westworld With New Patent Filing for Soft 'Humanoid' Robots

io9.gizmodo.com: A new patent filing for Disney hints at a dark, apocalyptic future at Disney’s amusement parks... or even in your own home. Just kidding, it’s fine, everything’s fine. It’s only robots. What could possibly go wrong?

A Las Vegas nightclub is getting turned into an e-sports arena

The Verge: Starting in early 2018, the Luxor Hotel will be home to the very first e-sports arena on the Las Vegas Strip. The joint venture between Allied Esports, Esports Arena, and Luxor-owner MGM Resorts International will see an existing 30,000-square-foot nightclub transformed into a multi-level e-sports venue. It will be equipped with all the staples of a standard sports arena plus an LED video wall, professional streaming video production studios, and daily gaming stations for attendees.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

In Minnesota, Change Play’s Title Or Lose A Production?

Arts Integrity Initiative: If you happen to have been giving any thought to producing Langston Hughes’s 1935 play Mulatto at the Ames Center in Burnsville MN, save yourself some time and either move on to another play or another venue. Why? Because the Ames Center is uncomfortable with the word “mulatto,” and won’t approve it in the title of an offering in their building. Hughes’s stature, and the fact that the Black Repertory Group in Berkeley play produced the show as recently as 2015, probably wouldn’t make any difference.


Spiel Chicago Episode Seventeen: Lavina Jadhwani

PerformInk: Lavina Jadhwani is a director, playwright and casting director who is fascinated by the art of the mash-up. She recently adapted Uncle Vanya for Rasaka Theatre Company, the midwest’s first South Asian American theater company where she previously served as Artistic Director. Lavina spoke with me about the kind of work that’s important to her, as well as her work as a casting director.


Harry Shearer: Why My 'Spinal Tap' Lawsuit Affects All Creators

Rolling Stone: Behind the ambitious, creative talent that is Hollywood lies a darker side of the entertainment industry little appreciated by the ordinary moviegoer. It's an opaque world of film financing, revenue accretion and minimal profit share. If exposed, as our Spinal Tap lawsuit against Vivendi aims to do, fans will no doubt be horrified at the shameful gravy train that rolls for corporate rights holders at the expense of creators. So far, challenges to media conglomerates' comfortable status quo provoke little more than derision, since the power balance is so skewed in their favor. But, for how much longer?


Lighting Through The Glass Ceiling Reflections on Tharon Musser

Rosco Spectrum: Oceans of words have been written about Tharon Musser, her beginnings at Yale, her first success with José Quintero’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, her work with the Michael Bennett-lead “dream team,” her three Tony awards, her introduction of the computerized console on Broadway, and the small army of Tharon Musser assistants that are now successful, professional lighting designers. There had been a titan or two before Tharon, such as Jean Rosenthal and Peggy Clark, and there were several successful contemporaries – but only Tharon was “the Dean.”


CMU augmented reality app shows East Liberty as it used to be

TribLIVE: It would be easy to walk right by the vacant storefront along Penn Avenue in East Liberty.

There's a brightly colored mural painted over large metal doors. A vinyl sign says the storefront is for lease.

But the building's history is lost to the passerby.

An app under development by a team of Carnegie Mellon University theater students intends to change that.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...


Ars Nova’s Brilliant Career

The New Yorker: n a Monday night this winter, at a gala in a Beaux-Arts former bank downtown, the young playwright Rachel Bonds, whose luminous “Sundown, Yellow Moon” is currently onstage uptown, made a showstopper of a speech, on a night not lacking in potential showstoppers. The event was a fund-raiser for the nonprofit Off Broadway theatre and artist incubator Ars Nova. It had a Russia-in-winter theme—bear-shaped ice sculpture, stilt walkers, faux-fur hats—in honor of the company’s first Broadway transfer, Dave Malloy’s “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” It featured songs from the show, performed by Malloy, Josh Groban, Denée Benton, and others. But when Bonds spoke people made sounds of amazement: as Ars Nova’s playwright-in-residence, she said, she was paid a salary and given benefits. Good benefits. “I actually went to the dentist,” she said, to “ooh”s. “I also had my first child.” Prenatal care, delivery, everything, was covered by her Ars Nova health insurance. “He’s eight weeks old, and it’s my first night away from him,” she said. “So that tells you how much Ars Nova means to me.” After her speech, she went out to the street and got a car home. Inside, the party raged on, with vodka and accordions.


At Seattle Opera, the real drama is offstage

KUOW News and Information: In mid-March, Seattle Opera general director Aidan Lang’s assistant called his scene shop manager Michael Moore to request a meeting.

Moore had no idea of the bombshell Lang was going to drop.


Disrobing “The Foreigner” at a Minnesota High School

Arts Integrity Initiative: Context is everything.

If you ask the average parent whether, in the abstract, they want to hear a student, any student, saying the n-word from the stage of their local high school auditorium, the answer (hopefully) would be no. Put that word in its full context in the musical Ragtime, or in the plays of August Wilson, and those familiar with the works may feel differently.


Diversity for Dummies

HowlRound: The first thing to say about this “Quick Start” manual is that I’m a dummy myself. In all the years I’ve grappled with diversity, the one constant has been recalibration. What was diverse ten years ago is privileged today, and today’s diversity models will become obsolete in the coming years. Historically disenfranchised groups are just now finding their voices after decades, even centuries, of silence. Diversity requires periodic check-ins, assessment, and retuning.


Invisible Disability in Theatre: Why I May Not Want to Tell You I Have a Disability

HowlRound: Working in the theatre with an invisible disability can be challenging. While most buildings have a ramp to allow a person who uses a wheelchair to get into the building and there may be handrails in the bathroom for patrons with mobility challenges, an artist with an invisible disability like my Tourettes Syndrome (TS) or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) doesn’t need a change to a physical structure. Instead I need accessibility into people’s minds. However since my disabilities are “invisible,” how are theatre administrators or directors supposed to know that I have a disability or the kinds of accommodations that I need?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Think of the Children Before Scrapping the NEA, Says Mike Huckabee

Hit & Run : Reason.com: The $148 million allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts is fiscally trivial in the context of a $4 trillion federal budget. By the same token, however, the NEA is culturally trivial, a point that Mike Huckabee inadvertently makes in a Washington Post op-ed piece urging Congress to preserve the program.

It’s A Time For Disobedience: MIT Media Lab Will Pay $250,000 To Support It

Fast Company: “You don’t change the world by doing what you’re told.” So says Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, on the nomination form for a new type of award: a prize for disobedience.

The award–a $250,000, no-strings-attached cash prize, funded by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman–will go to a person or group responsible for an “extraordinary” example of disobedience for the good of society. While that might take the form of traditional civil disobedience, Ito defines disobedience broadly.

Cheerleading company can get copyrights, pursue competitors, Supreme Court says

Ars Technica: The Supreme Court issued a 5-2 opinion (PDF) today allowing cheerleading uniforms to be copyrighted. The case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, is expected to have broad effect in the fashion world and beyond. A group of 3D printing companies had also asked the high court to take up the case, asking for clarity on how to separate creative designs, which are copyrightable, from utilitarian objects that are not.

The Company That Launched Broadway’s Great Comet Reveals the Key to Finding Groundbreaking Art

Playbill: Ars Nova has earned a reputation for developing groundbreaking new work that defies the boundaries of traditional theatre—think Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, which the company debuted Off-Broadway four years before it hit Broadway’s Imperial Theatre this past fall.

Since its founding in 2002, the organization has continued to showcase emerging artists with fresh voices and produce innovative new theatre. Last week, Ars Nova paired with WP Theater to present Rachel Bonds’ new play with music, Sundown, Yellow Moon, which opened Off-Broadway to critical acclaim.

What Theatre Artists and Administrators Should Know About Sexual Harassment

HowlRound: Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (beneath the root of a tree, at the bottom of the ocean), you know that sexual harassment in the workplace has been a topic in the news lately. What performers and other theatre professionals may tend to forget is that while they are artists, they are also “acting” as employees, be it of a theatre company or an individual producer. And, as employees, they have certain rights under federal, state, and sometimes city employment laws.
 

And a bonus article this week:

Tests Show CMU Water Supplies Are Safe

www.cmu.edu/news: Following extensive testing, Carnegie Mellon University has determined that drinking water supplies throughout its campus facilities are safe and free of elevated lead levels.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Worth a Look

Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...

Yes, women are still getting screwed in Chicago theaters

On Culture | Chicago Reader: Gender Breakdown, Collaboraction's angry and absorbing ensemble piece about inequity in the theater community, is rooted in something equally dramatic, but a lot drier: a ten-month research project undertaken by Kay Kron, an actor, writer, and, currently, development associate at Chicago Children's Theatre, as the "capstone" project for the DePaul University master's degree in nonprofit management she'll complete this year.

Classical ballet has a diversity problem and its stars know how to fix it

www.usatoday.com: As an African-American soloist with the United Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, Eric Underwood says he is often asked why the ballet world isn’t very diverse.

It’s complicated, Underwood says. Race, income, social hierarchies and other factors often conspire to create a situation that excludes people of color from serious pursuit of dance.

Musical Theater Can Create Political Action, Right?

Clyde Fitch Report: In a moment when Americans are looking for means of resistance in all aspects of political, cultural and daily life, musical theater seems like, well, one of our less effective weapons. Yet the musical is often referred to (perhaps disparagingly) as a populist art form. What, then, are the possibilities for musicals to harness the power of the people? How effective are musicals at, for example, documenting contemporary, real-life stories? Can they stir audiences to take direct action? Can they organize communities? With a team of writers, musicians and composers, I’m developing and directing a new project that I believe will explore the potential of musicals to meet us where we are.

Don't dismiss Universal's new, interdisciplinary take on theme park rides

www.themeparkinsider.com: Universal has developed a lot of screen-based attractions, so it should stop developing new rides that use screens and build nothing but animatronic dark rides, to keep fans happy.

Am I getting this right?

A California Movie Theater is Trying to Appeal to Families With Playgrounds

Movie News | Movies.com: Imagine you go to see Disney's new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast and while the show is playing there are kids running around and climbing on a jungle gym and going down large slides all around you. That's what could be the experience at some "Cinepolis Junior" theaters in California trying to appeal more to children, and with them whole families.