Livent Investors Win $23.3 Million Settlement

Investors in Livent the former theatrical producer headed by Garth Drabinsky, have won a $23.3 million settlement against the company. The judgment “settles a six-year-old lawsuit filed by 200 investors who bought $125 million in corporate bonds offered in late 1997 by Livent, which had produced musicals including “Ragtime” and “Showboat” on Broadway in the 1990’s. Less than a year after issuing the bonds, however, Livent – a publicly held company – announced that it had discovered substantial accounting irregularities and declared bankruptcy.”

A Play Too Shocking? (Why? The Classics Did It)

Philip Ridley’s new play is so shocking his publisher refued to have anything to do with it. He wonders: “Why is it that it is fine for the classic plays to discuss – even show – these things, but people are outraged when contemporary playwrights do it? If you go to see King Lear, you see a man having his eyes pulled out; in Medea, a woman slaughters her own children. The recent revival of Iphigenia at the National was acclaimed for its relevance. But when you try to write about the world around us, people get upset. If I’d wrapped Mercury Fur up as a recently rediscovered Greek tragedy it would be seen as an interesting moral debate like Iphigenia, but because it is set on an east-London housing estate it is seen as being too dangerous to talk about. What does that say about the world we live in? What does it say about theatre today?”

A Protest Against Copyrighted History

Across the US Tuesday, activists screened the documentary “Eyes on the Prize, in defiance of the copyright law. The program, “which debuted on PBS in 1987, can no longer be broadcast on television and has never been released on DVD due to a tangle of licensing issues. When the film was first made, each piece of newsreel footage, photograph and song used in the 14-part series had to be licensed from its copyright holder. Due to limited funding, the filmmakers could only afford to buy rights to the material for a certain number of years, and now those rights have expired.”

Where’s The Dance Audience?

How do you build a new audience for dance? “Creating an environment where experimentation can flourish requires rethinking dance appreciation from the bottom up. It requires expanded school field trips and in-class curriculum where dance is seen as an integral part of world history, public television broadcasts and dance in other free media, lecture-demonstrations, explanatory pre-concert talks, sophisticated program notes and a return to serious, in-depth arts criticism that recognizes that the arts deliver the news the culture tells about itself — whether that work is presented for one ephemeral night or enjoys a lucrative, year-long run.”

Lazar Berman, 74

Lazar Berman, a big bear of a Russian pianist who was greeted with wild acclaim when he was allowed to travel to the West in 1976, has died at his home in Italy. “A pianist with a bearlike build, a shock of sandy hair and a disarming smile, Mr. Berman had a gentle manner that seemed at odds with his often-muscular approach to the piano. His repertory, though, was broader than his reputation would suggest.”

Rock And Roll Museum Sues Website

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is suing two journalists and a radio company executive from putting up a website called the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The trio “misappropriated Rock Hall’s substantial intellectual property rights as well as the goodwill associated therewith. Unless restrained … by the court, such conduct will, permit defendants to gain an unfair advantage over Rock Hall.’ It said the Cleveland museum has suffered irreparable harm and was seeking damages in excess of $100,000.”

A Bell With Two Sides

“On PBS, movie soundtracks, and any number of crossover discs for Sony Classical, violinist Joshua Bell is the boyish, 37-year-old violinist with a matinee-idol following and glamorous girlfriends such as Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth. In concert, he’s a classical violinist in the Jascha Heifetz mold, delivering objective, insightful tours of the great classical masterpieces with one of the cleanest violin techniques in the business.”

Oscar’s Best? Really?

“Over the past 76 years, the Academy Awards have repeatedly, almost methodically, overlooked great artists and enduring achievements in favor of passing fancies, fleeting trends and one-shot wonders. What can you say about the foresight of a group that excluded the original talkie, “The Jazz Singer,” from the first awards ceremony in 1928? They found it too gimmicky. The new crop of nominations gives us a chance to remember wonderful films and filmmakers that Oscar forgot, and to try to recollect others supposedly destined to withstand the test of time.”