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South Africa’s Richest And Smoothest Jazz

Experiencing any show at Brooklyn Academy of Music is as magical as seeing a show at LTC3, only I don’t have to leave my own borough. The opportunity to see South African jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim is magical on its own. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) allows for their audience to bring back their signature BAM cup and receive a discount on their drinks, as well as drink in the theatre, which means you are already prepared to sit, sip, and listen to some wonderful sounds. The Jazz Epistles is Abdullah Ibrahim’s classics from his Jazz Epistle, Verse 1...

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Finding “Piramo E Tisbe”

Upon entering the theatre for Piramo E Tisbe, I was intrigued by the setup of the stage and the placement of the orchestra. On one side was a bed and blanket, and on the other side, an elaborate set up of an abandoned space taken over by the past of the Persian War, implying it would be inhibited by anyone seeking shelter. The orchestra consisted of five violinists, Danika Paskvan on viola, Anthony Albrecht on cello, David Ross on flute, two oboes, two bassoons, and Arash Noori on theorbo, and was conducted by Elliot Figg, who accompanied on the...

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Ten Pieces Of Advice For The Emerging Artist: The Beginning Of Intiman Theatre

When one wants to begin a career in theatre professionally, what tactic could they use? As an Iranian artist who came to the US, I was struck by the many theatres that were dedicated to world theatre in various genres, cultures, races, and so forth. Thinking of numerous theatre companies that produced mainly translations, I came across Intiman Theatre. Margaret Booker (b. 1942), a graduate of Stanford University and a Fulbright scholar, founded Intiman Theatre in a tiny 65-seat theatre in Kirkland, WA, in 1972 and named it Intiman after Strindberg’s Intima Teatern. (i) In what follows, I advise...

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Music At The Anthology

Music At The Anthology, also known as MATA, is in its 22nd year of commissioning and presenting the music of early career composers and sound artists “regardless of their stylistic views or aesthetic inclinations.”  This note is a beautiful invitation to calling for a diverse background of artists. Each year MATA presents a festival, fittingly, during the blossoming spring in New York City.  This Festival presents works chosen from an international submission pool.  During the intermission, I found myself entranced in a conversation with one of these international composers who had presented earlier in the week; we discussed how...

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“Assembled Identity”: World Premiere

There is a rather iconic scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda (played by Meryl Streep) recounts the lineage of the cerulean sweater that Andi (played by Anne Hathaway) is wearing. Beyond its being a fairly brutal dressing-down, it also outlines how avant-garde fashion influences commercial tastes. Miranda makes it clear that although Andi may feign indifference to, and not understand, avant-garde fashion, its existence is absolute, and her apathy is of no consequence to its absolute impact. Five years from now there will be a sci-fi/ethno-futuristic production that explodes onto the commercial Broadway scene. It will bring...

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Bonnie Marranca: “It’s Up To Every New Generation To Create Its Own Institutions, Critical Discourses, And Working Methods.”

Interview by Cristina Modreanu with the occasion of the first edition of Bonnie Marranca’s essays translated into Romanian. You coined the term “theatre of images” in one famous essay (1977), which is included in the book introducing your essays to Romanian readers. Can you say more about the context in which you observed that the visual dimension becomes prevalent on stage and about the three directors you chose as examples? The theatre of images idea was evolving in my thoughts while I was a graduate student at the City University (CUNY) Theatre doctoral program in New York City. I...

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“The Women Who Mapped The Stars”: The Struggle to be Acknowledged

The Women Who Mapped the Stars is a new work by Joyce Van Dyke, a rising dramatist with several awards to her credit. Her three previously produced plays also focus on women’s lives. When The Woman Who Mapped the Stars opened at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, her fifth piece premiered in New York. The play tells the story of five of the women “computers” who worked at the Harvard Observatory beginning in the late nineteenth century. This was a period in which great strides were being made in astronomy with the aid of better telescopes and the invention of the...

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Unpacking The Role Of Women In Ibsen’s “The Enemy Of The People”

Goodman’s Resident Dramaturg on how her work gives texture and specificity to a production. Consider the riddle of Neena Arndt’s work at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. She conducts research that informs designs but doesn’t design sets or costumes or soundscapes. She often appears on Goodman stages but is not an actor. Arndt is a dramaturg who researches playwrights, characters and their lives, relevant social and political events, and other themes for use by actors, designers, directors, and sometimes press offices. She might even have a hand in refining a play adaptation. She is part of the community that...

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The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s “Cendrillon” Showcases Talent But Misses Its Mark

The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble debuted their reimagined production of Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s hidden gem Cendrillon at Warehouse XI in Union Square Friday night to a full house. In only its second season, the Cambridge Chamber Ensemble is committed to presenting underperformed works that deserve attention. Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s chamber operetta was an excellent choice. Delivering on this promise to celebrate little-known artists, only the composer’s bio was included in the program. A brilliant female composer, Viardot-Garcia premiered Cendrillon at the age of 83 and her work is only now being rediscovered after over a century. The salon opera with a cast...

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Composer-in-Residence Clint Borzoni

My current collaborator, John de los Santos, approached me about Adonis after I had just finished the first orchestral reading of my first full length opera, Antinous and Hadrian, which was originally conceived of in the American Opera Projects Composer and the Voice Series and later commissioned by Operamission.  John told me he had this libretto that he had constructed based on select poetry by American poet, Gavin Dillard.  I asked “what are we composing this for?” to which John replied, “I don’t know.”  But, it was his initial passion, and he came up with the concept to create this new form of opera.  However, this piece, at first, was a stretch for me as a composer.

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Angels (And Demons) Of History In EgoPo’s “Lydie Breeze” Trilogy

Jessica Rizzo sees the 10-hour, marathon performance of EgoPo Theater’s Lydie Breeze trilogy and says it’s worth spending the time with John Guare’s flawed Civil War-era characters, whose tragedies, loves, jealousies, and losses are humanly relatable. The sets get a shout out as bringing the action to life, as does the atmospheric music. and Guare’s vision, rooted in the past, seems oddly relevant today. The three play marathon is a monumental accomplishment, says Rizzo. The last performance is Sunday, May 6, 2018. Philadelphia’s EgoPo Classic Theater has given John Guare’s sprawling Lydie Breeze trilogy an excellent first production as a single,...

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The Problem Of The Unmarried Woman In “Old, New, Borrowed, Blue”

Metrowest Opera had a full audience in the BCA’s smaller space on Saturday evening for their double act of Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night, and The Beautiful Bridegroom, which they titled Old, New, Borrowed, Blue. Though seemingly disparate pieces thematically and certainly musically, the two pieces worked with the thread of the “unmarried woman” in each and certainly both pieces, written in the 20th and 21st centuries respectively, contain borrowed source material. After the voyeuristic feeling and emotional intensity of Argento’s musically avant-garde Miss Havisham, Dan Shore’s more tonal and comedic Bridegroom was like a lovely dessert with which to...

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“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” – Setting The Record Straight

As we’ve settled into the 21st century, pop-culture vestiges of the 20th century have fallen by the wayside. Bell bottoms, platform shoes, and the ever-casual widespread use of cocaine followed disco into the place where all the things we’d like to forget go. It’s interesting, then, that one would choose disco as a genre and subject matter for a new Broadway musical. But, like most things we’d like to forget, there exists an opportunity to correct, clarify, and contextualize what we know in a way that brings new meaning. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical does just that, while delivering...

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At Carnegie Hall, Tianqi Du Chases After Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Naturally, I was eager to see how Du, a progressive, boundary-pushing artist, would interpret Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the epitome of Baroque purism. Inside Carnegie Hall, the evening began promisingly, with an elegantly shot video, reminding us again of Du’s multi-disciplinarian identity. For those in the audience unacquainted with the work, Du’s video passionately argues the significance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, tying the threads both musically and mathematically. A voiceover narration by Du describes the two years he spent at Boston’s New England Conservatory, devoted to unlocking the secrets of Bach, and ends on the cryptic statement that the Goldberg Variations rescued him “from the edge of darkness.”

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Psychological Spaces, #Metoo, And “The Crucible:” A Conversation With Set Designer Andrew R. Cohen

The Crucible (1953) is Arthur Miller’s harrowing play about the 1692 Salem witch trials. Set in the strict moral confines of a righteous, patriarchal, Puritan theocracy, The Crucible examines what happens to individuals who refuse to conform to social norms in an atmosphere of mass hysteria. Set designer Andrew R. Cohen discusses his work on this timely play at the Olney Theatre Center–a production which The Washington Post recently called “a blazing revival.” Michael Schweikardt:  Tell me about designing the set for The Crucible for Olney Theatre Center. Andrew Cohen:  The Crucible is one of my favorite plays. It...

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“Ameryka”- Critical Mass And Block Party 2018

In 2017, Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group launched a new, and frankly exciting, idea known as Block Party wherein 3 out of the over 250 theatre companies in the city are chosen to remount productions from their most recent season with all of the support and resources the CTG has at their disposal.  Each of the three productions is granted a little over a week in The Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City on the west side of LA.  The second of the three this year is Critical Mass Performance Group’s Ameryka, written and directed by Nancy Keystone [Founding Artistic Director/Executive...

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Don’t Shoot The Messenger: Elfriede Jelinek’s “Rechnitz” In New York

On March 24, 1945, there was a party in Rechnitz, an Austrian town on the Hungarian border. The hostess was Countess Margit Bátthyany, who may or may not have been having an affair with the town’s Gestapo chief, Franz Podezin, a guest at the party. In what would be a prelude to the end of WWII, the Soviet Army was about to invade, but the Countess and her guests decided to have one last hurrah. During the party, Podezin received orders to pick up some 180 Jewish inmates of a nearby labor camp from the train station, prisoners deemed...

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Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women”: A Dissent

My reaction to Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women when it first arrived in New York in 1994 was nicely glossed by the illustrious Uta Hagen in describing why she turned down the play’s central role: “I think that the old woman is relentlessly hateful—boring.” Just so. Ever since this play won the Pulitzer Prize that year, its fans have insisted that the hatefulness of its lead character—called simply A—served profound, redeeming ends. Critics across the “brow” spectrum, tired of hammering the talented, once lionized author for his string of disappointments over two decades, found themselves faced with an interesting, somewhat better...

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Jacob Storms’ “Tennessee Rising”: Remembering Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Rising is a theatre piece that requires yet easily commands your full attention. The journey is made up of fascinating recounts of the life and times of young Tom Williams, from his first-person point of view, as he interacts with key figures that impacted, inspired and shaped the personal and professional life of the mid-twentieth century playwright that he metamorphoses into during the course of the play, Mr. Tennessee Williams. The stories begin with Williams as a youngster and continue to unfold all the way through Williams’ first great success with his play The Glass Menagerie. This important new...

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