Dancing for Democracy feels like a good catchphrase for the next five weeks in several ways. It is the name of the latest of many star-studded fundraiser by Broadway supporters of Joseph Biden (RSVP for Oct 5), It also describes the delicate maneuvering required of the nation as a whole to stay healthy, to stay whole, to stay optimistic….and to stay the march towards tyranny.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and cast members of “Hamilton” have created one of at least five Broadway videos to encourage people to register to vote — the deadline in New York is October 9th — and then to vote on November 3rd (or earlier. Early voting in New York begins October 24.)
The Roosevelt Administration set up the federal program in 1935-1939, times similar to our own, during the Great Depression, which provided jobs for unemployed theater artists & presented live theater across the country at low cost or free to some 25 million Americans — one-fifth of the country at the time.
The Week in Reviews
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg two days after Arena Stage debuted its hour-long “docudrama” online gave new urgency to the argument for D.C. statehood. Directed by Molly Smith, the artistic director of the 70-year-old D.C. theater company, “The 51st State” is a series of ten short plays based on interviews with a range of Washington D.C. residents, written by ten local playwrights and performed by 11 local actors. But their concerns are not just local concerns…The “characters”…reflect what many see as a pivotal moment in American democracy…
Book Review: Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat
Mary Chase wrote 14 plays, 6 on Broadway, including “Harvey,” a Pulitzer Prize winner & one of the longest running plays on Bway. Yet she was called a “housewife who writes plays in her spare time.” That was a lie, as a new biography makes clear
Week in Theater News
Bad news from the Metropolitan Opera: It has canceled its 2020-2021 season (nothing on stage until September 2021) and has already lost $150 million.
Good news: It will return with Terrence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” an adaptation of Charles Blow’s memoir — the first opera at the Met by a Black composer
The explosion of digital productions of all sizes has shown great creativity and made hit shows more accessible – but is it all financially sustainable? ( Guardian)
How to Hire Individual Artists for Your Classrooms ( HowlRound)
Certain: The ball will drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve Uncertain: Whether anybody will be in Times Square to see it
The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America, a benefit for Amfar will take place on October 8 on Broadway.com featuring GlennClose as Roy Cohn, Lois Smith as
the young Mormon wife Harper Pitt, as well as Nikki James, Patti LuPone, Daphne Rubin Vega, and playwright Jeremy O. Harris, among many others.
Soho Rep has a different idea. The Off-Off Broadway is using its annual budget to take a risk and hire eight artists. Instead of spreading around stipends or small grants, they offered a cohort of directors, actors, designers, and playwrights a job: a true living wage ($1,250 a week) and health insurance, guaranteed from now till next June.” The eight artists are: Becca Blackwell, Shayok Misha Chowdhury, Stacey Derosier, David Mendizábal, Ife Olujobi, David Ryan Smith, Carmelita Tropicana, and Jillian Walker
Week in Videos
MJ The Michael Jackson musical
American Utopia (which is scheduled for HBO and back eventually on Broadway)
Light from Next to Normal via Second Stage Theater
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Conversation at the Museum of the City of New York, December 15, 2018