NEW ISN’T BETTER

Lottery money has led to massive building of theatres in Britain. But “theatre isn’t about bricks and mortar – or, these, days, concrete and glass. It’s about what happens on that stage inside. It’s about imagination, about content and about ideas. The heresy that a new building was more important than a new idea began about a generation ago. The glamorous, if sometimes tacky, Edwardian music halls were pulled down. Lottery money made this obsession with rebuilding even worse.” – London Evening Standard

BODY PARTS IS BODY PARTS

Promoters of a production of “The Vagina Monologues” in West Haven, Connecticut put up a billboard overlooking the New England Thruway. But “it seems that the word ‘vagina’ writ large shocked a number of people who drove past.” The marketer “started receiving rambling, incognito messages of outrage on his answering machine, and the local media picked up the story. He has been accused of deliberately enlarging the inflammatory word on the billboard, though, as he points out, he’s simply using the play’s logo.” – Variety

THE ART OF CHANGE

“Theatre is rapidly changing, and audiences shun routine and crave something special. It may take the form of a day-long event – the shared experience of watching together from morning to night forges a sense of community. But the profusion of short plays also implies that audiences are happy to have a short, sharp theatrical shock, an intense experience as a prelude to dinner. To reverse Brecht’s dictum, first come the morals, then the bread.” – The Guardian

WHAT’S IT TAKE?

The reviews were terrific, but three well-thought-of plays have failed to find audiences on Broadway. “Among the theories floated by people involved in these productions are the absence of stars in the casts, a strong season of straight plays on Broadway, subject matter that invites resistance (apartheid, the African-American experience, workplace tension) and the general difficulty of making straight plays economically viable these days.” New York Times

WHERE IS YOUR MOSES NOW?

Cameron Mackintosh once said a musical takes seven years from inception to a fully staged production. Australian Peter Johnston is now into his fifth year working on “Moses” “He’s got an orchestrated score, concert versions in London and New York and another semi-staged production with orchestra in London behind him. There is also a recording planned in London next year with an international cast.” – The Age (Melbourne)

BAH HUMBUG

There’s no escaping Scrooge and “A Christmas Carol” this time of year. “Some 20 feature films and at least 17 television movies notwithstanding, ‘A Christmas Carol’ has really been a theater phenomenon from the beginning, despite difficulties like transforming a door knocker into Jacob Marley’s face onstage.” New York Times