NY Times Names Jesse Green Co-Chief Theater Critic
The New York Times poached New York magazine’s Jesse Green to be co-chief theater critic with longtime Number One, Ben Brantley. The hiring, effective May 1, according to a memo to the staff from culture editor Danielle Mattoon, inaugurates the double title in the theater coverage and comes with Brantley’s blessing in sharing the title.
Green fills the spot abruptly and somewhat mysteriously vacated by longtime second-string critic Charles Isherwood, who was fired last… Read
Shonda Rhimes Reaches A New Stage With Playwrights’ Grants
Shonda Rhimes announced today that she’s backing IAMA Theatre, an L.A.-based nonprofit with strong ties to Shondaland-produced shows including Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. The 9-year-old company named Rhimes its first "Patron of the Arts" and said her contribution (the amount was not specified) will fund, among other things, the Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission.
"I chose IAMA because attending their shows has brought me so much joy," Rhimes said in the… Read
Bill Condon Signs On For ‘A Star Is Born’ Stage Musical
Just in time for the premiere of his live-action Beauty & The Beast film, Chicago screenwriter and Dreamgirls helmer Bill Condon has signed on to develop a stage adaptation of A Star Is Born, based on the 1954 Warner Bros. film starring Judy Garland and James Mason. The new musical is in early development; Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures will announce a production timeline in the near future, a spokesman said Thursday morning.
The story of an ingénue taken under the wing of… Read
Off-Broadway Designers Agree On First-Ever Contract
The Off-Broadway League and United Scenic Artists, IATSE Local USA 829, have agreed to terms on an inaugural contract covering off-Broadway designers. If ratified by members, the three-year deal will go into effect in July.
More than 4,300 members comprise Local USA 829, made up of artists and designers working in film, theater, opera, ballet, TV, industrial shows, commercials and exhibitions. Costume designer Colleen Atwood, a Local USA 829 member, won the Oscar this… Read
Mary-Louise Parker & Denis Arndt Will Reprise ‘Heisenberg’ Two-Hander At L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) and Denis Arndt (The Practice, Picket Fences) will summer in Los Angeles, bringing their acclaimed performances in Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg to the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum. The Manhattan Theatre Club production, staged by Mark Brokaw (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella) will run June 28 through August 6; opening night is set for July 6.
A romantic comedy with brains (UK playwright Stephens also wrote the National Theatre’s… Read
Olivier Awards: ‘Harry Potter And The Cursed Child’ Breaks Nominations Record
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the most-nominated new play in Olivier Award history, scoring a record-breaking 11 nominations for this year's edition. Nominees for the British theater's most prestigious prizes were unveiled Monday afternoon in London, seeing the two-part Potter extravaganza tie with the record holder for the most-nominated production, the musical Hairspray, in 2008.
Based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potte… Read
Miriam Colón Dies: Al Pacino’s Mom In ‘Scarface’, Latino Theater Founder Was 80
Miriam Colón, the Puerto Rican-born actress whose roles over a seven-decade career included playing Al Pacino’s mother in Brian De Palma’s Scarface and who launched the influential Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York, died Friday at age 80. Her husband told the Associated Press that Colon died owing to complications from a pulmonary infection.
Colón came to Los Angeles in the early 1950s and attended the Actors Studio. Her early TV credits included everything from P… Read
Mozart Meets Trump In Gotham Return Of Pro-Immigrant ‘¡Figaro! (90210)’
A mashup of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro music and a new English and Spanglish libretto by Vid Guerrerio, ¡Figaro! (90210), will run in April at New York’s Duke On 42nd Street theater. The show recasts the title character and his fiancée as undocumented Mexican workers in the Beverly Hills mansion where a real estate mogul and his actress wife reign. It’s set to play 15 performances from April 7-23, as a project of the nonprofit New 42nd Street. Presenters tell… Read
Kenneth Branagh Nabs Olivier Honor; ITV Renews ‘Unforgotten’ – Global Briefs
Kenneth Branagh has been set to receive the Special Award at the Olivier Awards on April 9 in London. The honor is being presented in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British theater. Branagh has a long history with the Oliviers, first receiving the Best Newcomer statue in 1982. Most recently, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company put on its inaugural West End season with seven plays including The Winter's Tale, Romeo And Juliet and The Entertainer which also… Read
Review: A ‘Sweeney Todd’ That Lets You Eat Your Pie And Have It, Too
It was the best of pies, it was the worst of pies. Benjamin Barker, AKA Sweeney Todd, has set up his terrifying tonsorium in Greenwich Village, and in contrast to John’s of Bleecker Street around the block, where you can’t get a slice but only a pie, at Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, you can get both a pie and sliced.
The pies we’re talking about here are, of course, the meat variety (though an equally delicious vegetarian alternative is on offer) made… Read
Review: Janie Dee in ‘Linda’ & David Mamet’s Latest, ‘The Penitent’
If the question of whether a woman can have it all makes your eyes glaze over, you’re probably a man. One theatergoer’s fallow field can be another’s fertile ground. In the case of Penelope Skinner’s Linda – which opened Tuesday at the Manhattan Theatre Club in a sleek production directed by MTC a.d. Lynne Meadow – a subject familiar to fans of, say, the late Wendy Wasserstein, is given fresh oxygen in a narrative that adds some layers of complexity and topicality to one… Read
Patty Freedman Dies: Theater Publicist & Actress Was 64
Patty Freedman, co-owner of the Andrew E. Freedman Public Relations firm and a former actress under her birth name Patty Dworkin, has died. She was 64. Her husband Andrew said she died February 17 of breast cancer in New York.
As Patty Dworkin, Freedman began her theater career in Ohio with the Kenley Players, a popular Midwestern summer stock troupe. She eventually graduated to Broadway, appearing in such productions as See Saw, Shenandoah and Sly Fox.
She was performing… Read