This painting won $10,000. It’s by a chimpanzee

This painting won $10,000. It's by a chimpanzee

“After tallying more than 27,000 public votes, The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce the winners of our Chimpanzee Art Contest. ”
…”Brent is 37 years old and has lived at Chimp Haven since 2006. He is protective of Grandma, Chimp Haven’s oldest resident. He loves to laugh and play. Brent paints only with his tongue. His unique approach and style, while a little unorthodox, results in beautiful pieces of art. “


Stephen Sondheim Theater: Environmentally-Friendly Broadway

Stephen Sondheim TheatreArchitect Pam Campbell, who was in charge of the renovation of the Stephen Sondheim Theater, where The Trip to Bountiful is currently showing, takes us on a tour to point out the environmentally friendly or green aspects of the theater (which, in architect-speak, is LEED certified) —  walls, which look like metal, are made of recycled paper; 95 percent of the air is filtered; the building was the first in the city legally permitted to include waterless urinals.

More on Curbed

stephen sondheim theater interior

Broadway’s Answer to Justin Bieber and One Direction: Smells That Sell

onedirectionfraganceJustinBieberperfumeThe news that both Justin Bieber and the boy band One Direction have launched their own lines of perfumes  is not just odd, embarrassing and baffling. It’s also inspiring. If these very rich performers’ very smart handlers have discovered fragrances as a revenue source worth exploiting, why can’t Broadway get hot on the scent as well.

Ads describe Bieber’s Key as a “fruity floral musk fragrance….with decadent notes of vanilla”  and Our Moment by One Direction as ” a vibrant and playful fruity floral fragrance reflecting the essence of One Direction.”

So why not:


Guilty by Spider-Man: The fragrance that you’ll fall for.

Circle of Life Lion King2

L’Eau de Lion King — Brings out the zoo in you.

Wicked Gershwin Theatre

Wildly Wicked – A scent that turns you green


Eternity at Phantom — A smell like the freshest sewer


Seize The Day by Newsies — the manly smell of newsprint with accents of essence of tap shoe


(Resist) Temptation by The Book of Mormon — a whiff of starched shirt with notes of pepper spray

Chanel No. 42nd Street

Desire, not only Under the Elms

Mortality by Lear, When all you have left is your sense of smell 

(The last three are contributions by Indira Satyendra, @Hudsonette)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech, delivered 50 years ago today

On 28 August, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the following speech at the March on Washington:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But 100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

And so we’ve come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a cheque. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad cheque which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we’ve come to cash this cheque – a cheque that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: in the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.


There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights: “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied and we will not be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning: “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.

But not only that.

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

August Wilson’s American Century Cycle Project begins at WNYC!

In his twenties, Ruben Santiago-Hudson saw “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the first play by August Wilson that appeared on Broadway, and “I was smitten, captured, put in a spell,” he says. “Nobody had represented me with such integrity; nobody seemed to have the love for me and the people I knew like August did.”
Three decades later, having performed in such August Wilson plays as “The Piano Lesson,” “Gem of the Ocean,” and “Seven Guitars,” for which he won a 1996 Tony Award, Santiago-Hudson returned last night to “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” directing the first of an ambitious project to record for radio broadcast all 10 of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle plays within the next month.
Santiago-Hudson, who will perform in “Fences” and “Seven Guitars” and direct three of the plays, is the artistic director of the project. It is the first given permission by the Wilson estate since Wilson’s death in 2005 to record all 10 plays, each set in one of the ten decades of the twentieth century. Each recording session will feature many performers who were in the original casts — the nearly 60 actors include Jesse L. Martin, Phylicia Rashad, and Leslie Uggams — and be presented in front of a live audience at WNYC’s The Greene Space. The video will be livestreamed on The Greene Space website, but only the audio will be preserved, in effect turning Wilson’s plays into radio dramas.
In the video, Santiago-Hudson explains his choices, and several of the performers for the first play, including Clarke Peters and Larry Gilliard Jr. (both from the TV series “The Wire”), as well as associate artistic producer Stephen McKinley Henderson, a consummate interpreter of the playwright who has performed in eight of his 10 plays, describe their love for his work.



Clarke Peters, Larry Gilliard, Jr. musicians and other cast of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the first of the recorded shows.

Clarke Peters, Larry Gilliard, Jr. musicians and other cast of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the first of the recorded shows.


August Wilson's plays. The left column is organized by when he wrote them. The right column goes chronologically by the year in which the play is set.

August Wilson’s plays.
The left column is organized by when he wrote them. The right column goes chronologically by the year in which the play is set.


Schedule at The Greene Space

The shows are sold out, but each will be presented live online at 7 p.m. at The Greene Space website

Monday, August 26
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Wednesday, August 28

Thursday, August 29
Talk: The Lloyd Richards Effect

Wednesday, September 4
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

Thursday, September 5
Talk: August Wilson’s Women

Friday, September 6
Talk: Music and Dance

Monday, September 9
The Piano Lesson

Wednesday, September 11
Two Trains Running

Friday, September 13
Seven Guitars

Monday, September 16

Tuesday, September 17
Talk: Bringing Black Works to Broadway

Thursday, September 19
Talk: Religion, Spirituality and Africa

Saturday, September 21
King Hedley II (Matinee Presentation)

Saturday, September 21
King Hedley II

Tuesday, September 24
Gem of the Ocean

Wednesday, September 25
Talk: Reminiscences

Saturday, September 28
Radio Golf (Matinee Presentation)

Saturday, September 28
Radio Golf

New York Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award Winners 2013

Waiting For Waiting For Godot

GertrudeSteinSaintsWaiting for Waiting for Godot, a comedy about life on stage, was one of the three winners of the New York International Fringe Overall Play Excellence Awards, and Gertrude Stein Saints!, which turned two inaccessible avant-garde operas into a glorious Glee, was one of the two for Overall Musical. The full list:

Overall Play:
Kemble’s Riot
Ndebele Funeral
Waiting For Waiting For Godot

Overall Musical:
Gertrude Stein Saints!
Save The Date: A Wedding Road-Trip Musical

Carol and Cotton – James Vculek
Down the Mountain and Across the Stream – Jake Shore
Kumrads Wont – Christina Michelle Watkins
The Rufus Equation – Ted Cubbin
Strange Rain – Lynda Crawford

Solo Performance:
En Avant: An Evening with Tennessee Williams
Human Fruit Bowl
Naked in Alaska
Talk to Me About Shame
What’s an Anjan?

Count Down My Life
What Every Girl Should Know
The Young Olympians & The Most Amazingly Awesome Adventure Ever

Book, Music & Lyrics:
Cowboys Don’t Sing: A Western Musical – Dennis Flynn, Johnny Kelley &
T.J. Alcalá

Costume Design:
Joey Haws – The Nightmare “Dream”

Padraic Lillis – Bully
Lisa Oretenzi – Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick)
Michelle Sutherland – Gertrude Stein Saints!

Allison Plamondon – Someone To Belong To

Lula del Ray

Remy Germinario – Bradley Cole: A Musical
Jonas Nerbe – William
Melissa Rosenberger – Carroll Gardens Aborning
Howie Michael Smith – America’s Breath of Fresh Air

Audience Favorite:
Perfectly Normel People

— Winners of the 2012 FringeNYC Overall Excellence were selected by an independent panel of over 40 theater professionals,

Julie Harris RIP. Tyne Daly Back on Broadway. Macbeths vs Peter Pans. Week in New York Theater

“God comes to us in theater in the way we communicate with each other…”~Julie Harris (1925-2013), often called the first lady of the American theater, who died on Saturday at the age of 87.

A sad and busy week. News about Tyne Daly’s return to Broadway, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s odd exit from it, and Kenneth Branagh’s debut on a New York stage;  yet more Peter Pans and Macbeths!  Weird and wonderful conversations with the cast of The Glass Menagerie, who all told me they didn’t like the play; Lin-Manuel Miranda, who tried to give me the time of day; Diana DeGarmo, who replied to a snarky comment with elegance; Mark Ruffalo, who told me his favorite lines from Awake and Sing, which he performed on Broadway in 2006.

I reviewed the new revival of Clifford Odets’ Jewish family drama with an Asian-American cast, as well as an overstuffed children’s musical called Timmy The Great, and a comedy about the life on stage, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, one of the 185 shows at the Fringe.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music mailed me something lewd. I videotaped the best male dancer on Broadway. And more, below. If this is the dog days of August, they’re barking.

Week in New York Theater

Monday, August 19, 2013

DalyandMcNallyTerrence McNally’s 20th Broadway play, Mothers and Sons, about a mother confronting the lover of her long-dead son, is slated for Spring. Tyne Daly is set to star, as she did when the play had its debut at Bucks County Playhouse in June

David Leopold ‏@Pknot:  Saw Mother & Sons this summer and liked it. She gave a good performance in good production. Worth seeing.

Let It Be 3Let It Be will close Sept 1, four months earlier, having played 46 performances and nine previews.

Best Theater Casting Directors: 2013 Artios Award Nominees 

ShakespeareDid Shakespeare really invent all those words? A PhD candidate in English says probably not.

A new book argues Hamlet is about love, and “helped Freud understand, perhaps even invent,psychoanalysis”

If “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” married “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike,” what would you call their kids?

Isaac Butler ‏@parabasis:  Expensive.


Can a show offer too much entertainment? Yes. My review of Timmy The Great


BridgesofMadisonCountylogoThe Bridges of Madison County with Kelli Ohara and Steve Pasquale opens at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld on February 27.


Kenneth Branagh will make his New York stage debut in Macbeth at  the Park Avenue Armory June, 2014. #AnotherMacbeth
PatB ‏@patbky: Have heard raves about this production from people that have seen it. Will be booking tix for sure!

Will Kenneth Branagh say ‘the Scottish play” in The Park Avenue Armory. The armory is not technically a theater,so is superstition waived?

Lillian Bikset :  The world’s a stage. So I keep wondering if it’s safe to say the title of the Scottish play in social media.

Park Avenue Armory ‏@ParkAveArmory We’re tempted to yell it from the rooftops, so we admire your restraint.

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard, whose books fed Hollywood insatiably, has died at 87

SallyStruthersasDollyandGloriaGOLDENGLOBES/Sally Struthers (All in the Family), now 66, will star in a 70+-city tour of Hello, Dolly!, launching in Somerville, NJ, in Oct.

Melanie Griffith, 56, on being too old in Hollywood. “You just have to keep biting and pushing your way through, doing theater.”

(Theater as rehab for aging Hollywood actresses?)

CeliaKeenanBolgerasLauraThe Glass Menagerie
The cast didn’t like the play


Zachary Quinto on Stage Acting vs. Screen Acting



New Work Now, FREE reading series by the Public Theater, of new plays (plu one old AIDS play) in September Schedule:

In TODAY’s New York Times (not from 1920s): Cops raided House of Yes, Brooklyn space for clowns & comics, as a speakeasy

(Perfecting the art of stunt casting): LaToya Jackson  joins the Off-Broadway cast of Newsical in Sept

FREE  CherryLane Theater Master Class:
David Henry Hwang  9/9
Playwright Kia Corthron, 9/16′
“Roseanne producer” Matt Williams 11/18


Phantom of the Opera



Most Romantic Theater:

Many pick “Once” or “Phantom of the Opera” as their most romantic theatrical experience, but Lourdes Pagan picks Pippin and, after hearing her story, most would surely agree.

Lovely, heartwarming stories about romance on the stage, and in the seats.


My review of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing

The National Asian American Theater Company’s solid if unexceptional production of Awake and Sing, Clifford Odets 1935 drama of a struggling immigrant Jewish family in The Bronx, is opening just a few days after the 50th anniversary of the death of Odets, whose heyday as a playwright was almost 80 years ago. He has been experiencing something of a renaissance in New York…. Awake and Sing is often considered his best play…For those of us who saw Awake and Sing at Lincoln Center in 2006, the new production in the more intimate Walker Space  is unlikely to set off any great sparks.

Full review of Awake and Sing


Rebecca Luker (veteran of eight Broadway shows, including Phantom) is taking over temporarily for Victoria Clark as Fairy Godmother Marie in Cinderella Sep 6 – Jan 19.

Laura Benanti, Cheyenne Jackson, Shuler Hensley to play love triangle in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, City Center Encores April, 2014

Peter Pan (vs. Macbeth)

PeterPanfrom Belvoir St TheaterNew adaptation of Peter Pan, by Belvoir St Theatre, , set entirely in a kid’s bedroom in 1980s suburban Australia, is coming to  New Victory Theater October 4 to 13

There may be FOUR Peter Pans in NYC this coming season. Maybe Peter Pan can duke it out with Macbeth for dominance of NY theater

Speaking of Macbeth, Pia Catton asks professors and directors WWHY there are so many Macbeths (coming up: Ken Branagh and Ethan Hawke)

All the explanations for Macbeth mania — a time of terrorism, obsession w/fame, Weiner-like inapt behavior — seem lame to me.)

Theaters are given tax-exempt status, Linda Essig,  points out, because of their role as educators.

Richard Dreyfus tried to retire from movies 10 years ago and pursue theater, but, the way he tells it, theater didn’t want him.

 How is the Internet affecting your career and work as a theater artist?

(my contribution to Weekly Howlround online chat)

The Internet has

1. made research easier for theater artists, especially dramaturgs

2. Social media, especially @Twitter, has strengthened the theater community, and enlarged it (eg to include critics.)

3. Theater news and views are more quickly and more widely available. “Word of mouth” has become world-wide.

4 Internet gives artists terrific excuse to procrastinate yet feel productive:”I’m marketing/networking/whatever”

But how much has the ubiquity of social media and the Internet in real life become incorporated on stage/in plays

Monica Byrne ‏@monicabyrne  I saw a supposedly contemporary realist play recently that made no mention of any of it… .which felt all the more strange because Internet access would have solved a lot of plot points :/

Several plays r explicitly about effect of social media — eg Facebook Me. Not sure it’s fully incorporated on stage yet.

Waiting For Waiting For Godot

My review of Waiting for Waiting for Godot, funny comic riff on the life of an actor, part of the Fringe Festival



Cuba Gooding Jr. gets his face on Sardi’s — and then leaves BroadwayJ

Broadway Idiot, a documentary following Greenday’s Billie Joe Armstrong as he created American Idiot, will be in New York movie theaters in October.

Class war theater from the 1930s is getting revived, says Michael Feingold, because class war has been revived.

Clockwise from top left: Fantasia Barrino (in After Midnight), Diana deGarmo, Clay Aiken, Justin Guarini (in Romeo and Juliet), Constantine Maroulis, Frenchie Davis

Clockwise from top left: Fantasia Barrino (in After Midnight), Diana deGarmo, Clay Aiken, Justin Guarini (in Romeo and Juliet), Constantine Maroulis, Frenchie Davis

Elizabeth Vincentelli’s blunt take on six American Idol-ers on Broadway

Clay Aiken: likely to return “but few will care”

Fantasia Barrino (in “After Midnight” this season): ” Has the charisma and chops to date a little dude named Tony.”

Justin Guarini (in “Romeo and Juliet” this season): “Can look forward to a solid career as a character actor. Who would have thought?”

Diana De Garmo: “Let’s hope she likes bus travel — road tours are in her future.”

future holds so let’s just take it a day at a time shall we?

“I’m a better actor now than when I was an actor”playwright Mona Mansour tells American Theatre Magazine.”I like writing moments I can feel”

Videos from the Dramatists Guild of America National Conference. Includes:

New Media: Dramatists in the Age of Twitter, Facebook

Writing Wicked

A Conversation with Doug Wright

A conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda: At 5!



MandyPatinkin1Mandy Patinkin on portraying a character: “It helps tremendously if I can write my own play under what the writer has written.” Profile of Mandy Patinkin, star of stage and Homeland  (reads like a therapy session) There are two Mandy Patinkins, says author — the “Do Less Mandy” (when he underplays, he’s terrific) and the “Too Much Mandy” (“oy”)

McKellen Stewart Feature

How do Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart make sense of enigmatic “Waiting for Godot” and “No Man’s Land.”?  By focusing on the concrete.

Acting career in a nutshell via IanMcKellen:

Start in Hamlet as Bernardo–>Rosencrantz–>Horatio->

Hamlet–>Claudius→Polonius–>the skull


Eric LaJuan Summers, the best dancer on Broadway

Julie Grega ‏@j_grega1920h Brings the house down every time!


Both the Fringe and Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike come to an end.

Brochure in the mail from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, promoting Anna Nicole the Opera. (The inside flap says "...a kiss.' -- but still)

Brochure in the mail from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, promoting Anna Nicole the Opera. (The inside flap says “…a kiss.’ — but still)