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From staplers to potatoes – it’s monster producer Scott Rudin

To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on that gut instinct of right and wrong, it is a timeless classic.

By way of a recap, Broadway producer Scott Rudin is accused of assaulting employees in a devastating new Hollywood Reporter exposé.

One of the most harrowing accounts involved Rudin, 62, smashing an Apple computer monitor on an assistant’s hand. Yup.

Scott Rudin

Scott Rudin

Meanwhile, to the audible shock of those who work in theatre, Rudin is also accused of throwing a glass bowl at someone from his HR department. It missed and shattered against the wall. Thank goodness.

For context, Rudin’s theatre projects extend into Broadway reopening, with a revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman.

Along with co-producers Sonia Friedman and Barry Diller, Rudin is due to bring To Kill a Mockingbird to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End in March 2022.

Admittedly, Rudin joins the long list of high profile industry figures who believe it is their right to abuse their power.

Some revelations to the story, though, have really bothered me.

Worse was to come: one of those who has spoken out is the brother of a former assistant to Rudin who tragically committed suicide. 

Just awful.

“Every day was exhausting and horrific,” a former assistant, who worked for Rudin from 2018–2019, recalled.

“Not even the way he abused me, but watching the way he abused the people around me who started to become my very close friends. You’re spending 14 hours a day with the same people, enduring the same abuse. It became this collective bond with these people.”

Bullying is a repeated pattern of abuse of power designed to dominate those perceived as inferior, as weaker. Side affects include depression, anxiety, panic attacks – it’s a major risk factor for mental health.

Also, a former assistant claims that Rudin “relished in the cruelty” and “hundreds and hundreds of people have suffered” from his behaviour.

Other details? He fired someone for having diabetes, threw potatoes at someone’s head and reportedly assaulted staff, sending colleagues to the hospital twice.

Needless to say, leading figures are betraying their status by not making a stronger stand against these shocking revelations.

Ultimately, this is not restricted or confined to Scott. This happens everywhere.

I have been through this kind of experience myself; as a child, I was assaulted, and it is one of the things that motivated me to speak out when things are not right. Unfortunately, my own career has never been short of abusers, monsters and egomaniacs.

As for the wider implications of this scandal for Broadway and beyond, it would be easy to get carried away. On the other hand, you certainly wouldn’t rule him out making some sort of return in due course.

In 2014, Page Six ran an article about Rudin: “The Man Known as Hollywood’s Biggest A-hole,”that alleged that Rudin had pushed assistants out of moving cars and fired assistants for bringing him the wrong muffin, mispronouncing names, and, at least in one instance, having to attend a funeral.

Unfortunately, Rudin is still today boosted by enablers who looked the other way or ignored these rumours, allowing accusations to remain an “open secret” for years.

In 2018, he was making history with Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill A Mocking Bird, which shattered an 118 year record by earning more than $1.5 million in one week.

For those wondering when things will die down, I spoke to a made-up theatre scientist who calculated that moment will come at the precise second that anti-Rudin coverage stops grossing more than Rudin productions in 2022.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

Like Kevin Spacey before him, it will be hard to believe the frightful bollocks about those “not knowing” spouted by rich and powerful colleagues. 

The industry silence about this alleged physical abuse and personality faults of Rudin are unforgivable, yet easily explained. They depend on him for their income. 

Broadway opens its doors for first time in over a year

NY PopsUp

Yesterday, NY PopsUp, the statewide initiative designed to celebrate and reinvigorate the arts in New York, presented the very first performance inside a Broadway theater since New York’s venues were shuttered by the pandemic more than a year ago. This special event was part of the “pilot program” created by The Festival as a large-scale model for how to bring live performance back safely after this prolonged COVID-related shutdown.

Taking place at Broadway’s legendary St. James Theatre, a socially-distanced audience made up of ​primarily front line workers affiliated with The Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS watched back-to-back performances, directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, by two of New York’s giants of the stage: three-time Tony Award® winner Nathan Lane and Tony Award winner Savion Glover.

To ensure the health of safety of all attendees and workers, NY PopsUp and the St. James Theatre worked closely with the New York State Department of Health, following all ​state health and safety protocols.

Mr. Lane performed Playbills, a new monologue by playwright Paul Rudnick about a man who has spent the last year cooped up in his studio apartment, laid off from his job and desperately missing his greatest passion: going to the theater. Yearning to be part of an audience again, to experience an event, he shares a true, near-miraculous story, which has given him hope for the city, the world, the TKTS booth and – at long last – a seat on the aisle.

Mr. Glover performed a special tap piece that channeled his personal experience of a life in the theater, allowing the audience to reflect on what Broadway was, what Broadway is, and what Broadway will be again, and reminding us of the sacred space that is the stage.

Both performances were live streamed on the festival’s Instagram feed: @NYPopsUp.

NY PopsUp is an unprecedented and expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances (many of which are free of charge and all open to the public) that intersect with the daily lives of New Yorkers, as announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. ​The series of events, intended to revitalize the spirit and well-being of New York citizens with the energy of live performance while jumpstarting New York’s live entertainment sector, is a collaborative private / public partnership developed by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, in coordination with the New York State Council on the Arts and Empire State Development. The programming for NY PopsUp is curated by the interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur, in partnership with a hand-selected council of artistic advisors who represent the diversity of New York’s dynamic performing arts scene and artistic communities.

NY PopsUp launched on Saturday, February 20 and will run through Labor Day​, coinciding with the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and The Festival at Little Island at Pier 55. NY PopsUp is being coordinated in lock step with state public health officials and will strictly adhere to New York State Department of Health COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. NY PopsUp’s model for delivering safe performance experiences help​s provide a reopening roadmap for New York’s cultural institutions, including Lincoln Center, in the planning of their new outdoor performing arts complex, “Restart Stages.”  “Restart Stages,” boasting a total of 10 outdoor performance and rehearsal spaces, is set to open April 7.

Please note that, given the impromptu nature and surprise element of the pop-up format, not all performances will be announced in advance. Please follow @NYPopsUp on Twitter and Instagram for the latest.

​Collectively, NY PopsUp, the Tribeca Film Festival, and The Festival at Little Island bring​s a total of more than ​1000 performances to New York State between February 20 and Labor Day, signaling an event unmatched in scale and unrivaled in scope. 

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Look Ahead: Theatre Streaming in March

At last! A roadmap – the prime minister has announced a timeline for when theatres and other live events venues may be able to reopen.

All being well, indoor and outdoor theatres will be allowed to reopen with social distancing from May 17.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway, here are some of the best shows streaming online now or later in March.

Whatever you decide to stream this month – please check out Richard Blackwood in Soho Theatre’s breathless reimagining of the tragic final hours of Christopher Alder’s life: Typical is a terrific and powerful monologue that deserves another life when All This is over.

Richard Blackwood in Typical

Morgan Lloyd Malcom’s Olivier Award winning Emilia will be streaming for all of March on a pay what you decide basis (from £1.00). A blazing take on Emilia Bassano, a 17th century poet who struggled to get her voice heard in a patriarchal world. Now you know.

Kiln Theatre is streaming a reading of new play Girl on the Altar by Marina Carr, streams for free on 5 March.

A new folk musical, by Robin Simões da Silva and Annabel Mutale Reed, Brother will be streamed live from Southwark Playhouse – the show follows a young transgender man finding his way in the world. Streaming live 5-6 March.

Recorded at the London Palladium and hosted by Sheridan Smith, Musicals: The Greatest Show featuredMichael Ball, Nicole Scherzinger and more belting West End classics with a couple of songs from recent British hits Six and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Not awful and still available on BBC iPlayer. 

Musicals: The Greatest Show – Layton Williams

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester’s latest digital offering is a multiple-choice cabaret featuring 14 musical performers. Conceived by Ryan Carter, The Secret Society of Leading Ladies is a clever concept; there are a possible 150 combinations in which to see a five-song concert. Available until 7 March.

The Old Vic has revealed two commissioned monologues created to mark International Women’s Day on March 8: Putting A Face On by Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Regina Taylor’s Aisha (the black album). Available on YouTube for free. 

Adam Kashmiry plays himself in excellent play Adam, the story of a transgender man who sought asylum in Scotland. Now, the BBC has teamed up with National Theatre Scotland for a specially crafted recording as part of the BBC Arts Lights Up for New Culture in Quarantine season. Following its BBC Four premiere, Adam will be available on BBC iPlayer.

The Whip, Juliet Gilkes’s resonant play about 19th-century slavery-abolition legislation, has had a new audio recording commissioned by the RSC. On YouTube until 16 March.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, adapted by Henry Filloux-Bennett and director by Tamara Harvey is a starry digital adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic with Gray depicted as an “influencer”. Streams 16-31 March.

Last year’s virtual celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim, Take Me To the World is still available on YouTube – why not watch it again on Steve’s birthday, Tuesday  22  March. I’ll drink to that!

By the way, the original 1980 Broadway production of the Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin –  directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse  –is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

If you have a show streaming during the month of March or suggestions for my blog get in touch – this will be updated weekly. Cheers! E: mrcarlwoodward@gmail.com

Seatgeek and Jujamcyn Theaters bring new ticketing system to Broadway in multi-year partnership

JUJAMCYN THEATERS

Jujamcyn Theaters and SeatGeek today announced a marquee multi-year partnership that will bring the next generation of ticketing technology to Broadway. Attendees at Jujamcyn’s five theaters will enjoy a streamlined ticket-buying experience for some of Broadway’s top shows.

 SeatGeek’s technology will deliver numerous benefits to Jujamcyn theatergoers and show partners alike. SeatGeek’s ticketing platform runs off a modern tech stack that allows for a bespoke theater ticketing solution. Jujamcyn Theaters patrons will enjoy a reimagined experience that will allow them to easily browse shows, compare listings through SeatGeek’s proprietary Deal Score™ technology, and find a ticket within their exact specifications. Once they have purchased, patrons will have customized best-in-class mobile tickets for each particular show, allowing guests to order concessions, purchase an upgraded experience, or read more details about the show directly from their ticket. With its industry-leading data and analytics tooling, SeatGeek makes it easy for Jujamcyn and its shows to understand demand for tickets in real time, allowing for event management across hundreds of performances.

 Jujamcyn Theaters houses some of the most exciting shows on Broadway, including Tony Award-winning musicals Hadestown and The Book of Mormon, as well as current Tony Award nominee for Best Musical, Moulin Rouge! The Musical. In total, Jujamcyn owns and operates five iconic Broadway houses: the St. James Theatre, the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, the August Wilson Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre and the Walter Kerr Theatre.

 Jujamcyn and SeatGeek share a number of strong philosophical bonds, starting with an unwavering emphasis on the customer experience. Jujamcyn has continuously looked for ways to reimagine the Broadway theatergoing experience, including partnering with famed restauranteur and leading hospitality expert Danny Meyer’s consultancy, HQ, on a companywide program to dramatically enhance every aspect of the customer journey.

 In addition, both Jujamcyn and SeatGeek are united in their mission to move the industry forward, which includes looking for innovative ways to bring live events to an ever-wider audience base.

 Jordan Roth, President and Owner of Jujamcyn Theaters, said, “As our industry looks to emerge from this period of prolonged darkness, we are all deeply focused on safely bringing our community back to work and our audiences back to the particular kind of joy that only the live theater can deliver. For us, this means leaving no tool unused and no innovation untested in our never-ending mission to enrich the theatergoing experience from start to finish. It’s very gratifying to find in SeatGeek a partner as committed as we are to taking exceptional care of our patrons and show partners alike.”

 While Broadway has been dark since March 2020, bringing patrons back safely was a priority for Jujamcyn when selecting its ticketing provider. Jujamcyn will tap a number of the features and services provided by SeatGeek Adapt, an innovative suite of tools that SeatGeek quickly developed during the Covid pandemic that has already helped other SeatGeek clients, like the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Cavaliers, safely welcome thousands of fans back to their venues.

 “During our first meeting with SeatGeek, they shared their founding story and it stuck with me,” Hal Goldberg, Jujamcyn COO, added. “They started as technologists looking to make an ordinary event, like buying a ticket, into an extraordinary one. We love and share their unyielding commitment to continuous improvement and creative problem-solving. We are thrilled to welcome them to Broadway.”

 “As we have spent more and more time with the Jujamcyn team we have learned just how much they care about innovation and are delighted to work with them to bring the next generation of technology to Broadway,” said Danielle du Toit, President of SeatGeek Enterprise. “SeatGeek’s mission is to help people experience more live, and there is no better place to do that than through the millions of people that visit Broadway theaters each year. We couldn’t imagine better partners than the Jujamcyn team to bring our shared vision to life.”

 The partnership between Jujamcyn and SeatGeek is SeatGeek’s first on Broadway, but Jujamcyn joins a growing list of SeatGeek clients across many verticals. In the theater space, SeatGeek already has a strong presence in London’s West End, providing the ticketing platform for LW Theatres. Since SeatGeek expanded its presence in primary ticketing about five years ago, it has become the leading ticketer of the EPL and MLS, added five partners across the NFL and NBA, and has ticketed hundreds of concerts, family events and more through its venue partnerships. The partnership also gives SeatGeek its first New York-based client, a milestone for the New York City headquartered company that was started 11 years ago.

“While most of SeatGeek’s current US based clients are in the sports space, we’ve long been a leading ticketer in London’s West End. We’re excited to bring SeatGeek’s patron-first ticketing to attendees as Broadway reopens,” said SeatGeek Co-Founder Russ D’Souza. “I can’t wait to hop on the subway and head a few stops uptown to take in a show alongside our new partners.”

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My 2020 Theatre Heroes & Villains

Theatre Heroes and Villains of 2020

AH, dear old 2020.

In mid-March Covid-19 prompted all British theatres and arts centres to close their doors.

From that moment onwards, the carnage, pandemonium, weirdness and misery barely let up; our world-beating £7 billion cultural sector, so savaged by lockdowns that it remains at risk of permanent decimation.

A socially distanced Watermill Theatre in Newbury, with select seats wrapped as presents for the future.

For the first time in its 70 year history, the Edinburgh Fringe was cancelled. Broadway shows are expected to remain closed through to at least May 2021.

There was, though, many great acts of heroism; not all heroes wear capes.

Let’s begin with the National Theatre. The NT at Home initiative was one of the biggest virtual triumphs of lockdown; it broadcast 16 productions for free on YouTube, clocked up 15 million views and reached 173 countries.

The one-off free streaming of Roy Williams and Clint Dyer’s potent monologue Death of England: Delroy – which had its live run cut short – was sensational.

The NT has today launched a brand new streaming platform National Theatre at Home – featuring a range of NT Live productions and, for the first time, some treasured plays from the NT archive.

For unlimited access to the catalogue on National Theatre at Home, a subscription will be £9.98 per month or £99.98 per year. For access to a single play in a 72 hour window, it will be £5.99 for an NT Archive title and National Theatre Live titles are available from £7.99.

I thought ITV’s three-part drama Quiz, written by James Graham – based on his stage play that began at Chichester Festival Theatre- was a masterstroke.

The dark irony was, though, that the ‘coughing major’ comedy was one of the few TV shows that was good enough to make us all forget the ongoing medical crisis for its duration. Graham donated his full commission to funds for freelancers.

Looking back now, one of my personal favourite moments involved a last-minute decision to throw open my Zoom on Friday evenings to anyone who wanted to take part in a theatre quiz. It was unexpectedly popular and rewarding and, in the chaos of lockdown, very moving.

ITV Quiz

During that first lockdown I came to a crossroads when I realised that the secret truth at the heart of almost all theatre is: Everyone’s Doing Their Best.

It’s hard to say why this revelation impacted me so deeply. Had I previously been under the impression that people were deliberately making terrible theatre, or simply being terrible at their jobs, just to annoy me? I came to realise that most things are simply bad by accident.

Anyway, this year, she closed 18 shows. Paused 10.

Sonia Friedman Productions continued its success at the 2020 Olivier Awards, scooping the coveted Best New Play Award for the fourth consecutive year with the intimate and epic Tom Stoppard play Leopoldstadt.

Incredibly, SFP was also responsible for a superb filmed stage version of Uncle Vanya starring Toby Jones. It was a hit in UK cinemas and will be screened on BBC Four this Christmas. This woman has been my idol all of my professional life, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Toby Jones and Richard Armitage, Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre

All year, producer Friedman used her clout to lobby government. Announcing comedy play The Comeback in the West End, she said: “Medicine saves lives, but culture makes life worth living.”

Looking back now, many of UK theatre’s producers and artistic directors rose to the challenges of the pandemic – combining laser-focus and decision making-authority with a real emotional feel for the creative workforce.

Of course, there are plenty of people in the industry who are simply phoning it in.

But so many took exciting digital work to audiences or streamed archive productions. Under Elizabeth Newman’s leadership, just one of a number of bright ideas, Pitlochry Festival Theatre set up a Telephone Club for vulnerable members of the community, Alan Lane and Slung Low continue to meet local needs distributing food and books to the people in south Leeds.

Artistic director Alan Lane, left, and The Slung Low team at the Holbeck.

The Unicorn theatre presented Anansi the Spider Re-Spun: fun virtual performances, created in lockdown, for children. Cultural organisations like this remain vital to communities, enabling young people’s creativity, whilst fighting for survival.

Throughout those initial long Covid months, there were modest acts of heroism from producer David Pugh and his touring production of Educating Rita at the open-air Minack Theatre in Cornwall. I loved it.

Pugh later made light of the fact that profits for investors were enough for ‘a meal at KFC’. The show has a week-long run at the Mayflower in Southampton in February.

To her credit, Nica Burns reopened the first West End theatres post lockdown – welcoming audiences back to the Apollo – for Adam Kay’s show about the NHS, This Is Going To Hurt. Burns will reopen the first West End musicals Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Six and hopes this return will prove the sector is safe and ready to resume.

Staying with the heroes, film and theatre director Sam Mendes called on Netflix — who profited from the acting, writing and directing talent nurtured on stage during lockdown— to pour some of their COVID-19 cash into British theatre. Netflix obliged, with the Theatre Artists Fund for freelancers. Mendes’ practical suggestions included: increasing the theatre’s tax relief scheme from 20% to 50%, and inviting the government to become “theatrical angels”, by investing in productions.

Moreover, performers deserve huge credit for keeping us all entertained online: Rob Madge and Oscar Conlon-Morrey lift our spirits on Twitter during these difficult times.

Pick of the bunch, for me, is Kieran C Hodgson impersonating characters from The Crown – Season 4. Genius.

10-year-old ‘#CheerUpCharlie’ Kristensen released a charity single with some of his West End favourites to raise money for the Diana Award. Little legend.

The Bush theatre commissioned six black British artists to respond to the killing of George Floyd, the results, The Protest, were astonishing, disturbing, vital and offered urgent perspectives on Floyd’s death.

Wise Children’s Emma Rice and Bristol Old Vic’s Tom Morris on stage at Bristol Old Vic in September

Elsewhere, Black Broadway and West End stars performed an ambitious online charity concert, organised by Nicole Raquel Dennis and Ryan Carter, this event supported the Black Lives Matter movement: Turn Up! Live at Cadogan Hall , raised nearly £13,000 for four charities and picked up a Black British Theatre Award.

One of my biggest treats was visiting Bristol to see the Romantics Anonymous one-night only performance, with a live socially distanced audience.

In September, Emma Rice’s Wise Children and Bristol Old Vic’s Tom Morris were dazzlingly inventive, partnering with venues to present a “digital tour” of the musical – allowing individual regional theatres to sell tickets across specific nights.

The shows will go on – in some tiers. The government’s post-lockdown plans give the green light to productions fortunate enough to find themselves in Tiers 1 and 2. Boris Johnson has announced that theatres in Tier 3 will remain closed.

Oracle Cameron Mackintosh

Villains? (Deep breath)

It was the year when theatre vanished from our lives. And Cameron Mackintosh didn’t.

Disappointingly, the West End producer got rid of 850 staff early on in the crisis, said theatres that received financial aid were ones that “were going to fail”, allegedly mistreats his staff, declared himself an “oracle” for predicting disaster and has been snow-ploughing his way through the darker recesses of the pandemic ever since.

Mind you, compensation came in the form of Andrew Lloyd Webber – who took part in the Oxford Coid-19 vaccine trial – joining TikTok.

Take a moment. I know I just did.

Perhaps most importantly, Arts Council England did a good job of turning around the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and rescued struggling organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Overall, that £1.57bn rescue fund has protected our theatres, concert halls, arts centres and opera houses.

Slytherin culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s intervention was not enough to save every institution and although we were all thankful for the money, financial models are bust.

Indeed, the government continue to do the bare minimum for an estimated three million self-employed workers. At one point, Pantomime dames marched to Parliament Square.

Slytherin Oliver Dowden and Rishi Sunak

Find another job, said the surefooted chancellor Rishi Sunak. By forgetting our workforce and dismissing an entire sector, the chancellor has begun to reveal his true ideological colours. But our sector is key to our national identity, provides hope – and billions for the Treasury.

On top of that idiocy, the suggestion from the government seems to be that arts jobs aren’t viable. They are, Mr Sunak, and when the time comes, the powerhouse theatre industry will play a crucial part in the nation’s recovery.

Above all, I was appalled by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) who failed to inform customers how they could obtain cash refunds instead of hopeless credit vouchers. With countless shows axed or postponed, many found it impossible to get money back – not only that, ATG were not automatically refunding transaction fees, claiming this was in line with the industry’s Code of Practice (newsflash: it definitely wasn’t).

Birmingham Rep, The #LightItInRed campaign involved more than 500 buildings

At least, though, there has been some last-minute redemption for ATG; the operator has now furloughed its 2,500 casual staff and is gifting tickets for pantomimes to NHS workers this Winter, which is a Christmas miracle.

If we’re really looking for the individuals who’ll push theatre forward through the sheer force of their own imagination, in my opinion, they are more than likely to be creative freelancers. We must protect them.

And the self employed may be more widely visible through the Freelancers Make Theatre Work group, #thescenechangeproject and The Freelance Task Force. But they must never be taken for granted again.

The Theatre Artists Fund was set up to support UK theatre workers and freelancers falling into financial difficulty while theatres remain largely closed. Many freelancers have lost everything and we are losing thousands of highly skilled theatre-makers.

Saving buildings is pointless without protecting the people who make art. For now, I have financial security. That is why I plan to donate 50% of my December salary to Theatre Artists Fund.  If you are able to, so should you.

As I say, everyone has been doing their best. Stay present, thanks for reading this year, and Merry Christmas.

 

 

HeadCount Partners with 14 Broadway Shows to Promote Voter Registration

Fourteen major Broadway productions are partnering with HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that promotes civic participation through music, culture, and live performance, to encourage Broadway fans across the United States to register and vote. Although Broadway performances in New York City remain suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19, fans of all ages can join their favorite shows in making their voices heard at the polls this fall.

Participating shows whose campaigns launch today include Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The TemptationsChicagoCome From Away; Company; David Byrne’s American Utopia (which previously hosted a HeadCount voter registration booth in the Hudson Theatre lobby at each performance); Dear Evan HansenGirl From The North Country; HadestownHarry Potter and the Cursed ChildJagged Little PillMean Girls; Moulin Rouge! The Musical; Plaza Suite; and TINA – The Tina Turner Musical. Additional participating shows will be announced soon.

Through HeadCount’s national organization efforts, fans across the country can register, check, or update their voter registration status online and find localized information about polling dates, sites, and candidates. By doing so, they will be entered to win Broadway show tickets (applicable when performances resume) and more.

More information on each show’s initiatives, all of which run through October 1 to encompass National Voter Registration Day on September 22, can be found at the links below:

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations – HeadCount.org/ATP or text VOTER ATP to 40649

Chicago – HeadCount.org/Chicago or text VOTER CHICAGO BWAY to 40649

Come From Away – HeadCount.org/ComeFromAway or text VOTER AWAY to 40649

Company – HeadCount.org/Company or text VOTER COMPANY to 40649

David Byrne’s American UtopiaHeadCount.org/DBAU or text VOTER DBAU to 40649

Dear Evan Hansen – HeadCount.org/DearEvanHansen or text VOTER EVAN to 40649

Girl from the North Country – HeadCount.org/GFTNC or text VOTER GFTNC to 40649

Hadestown – HeadCount.org/Hadestown or text VOTER HADESTOWN to 40649

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – HeadCount.org/HarryPotterandtheCursedChild or text VOTER CURSED CHILD to 40649

Jagged Little Pill – HeadCount.org/JLP or text VOTER JLP to 40649

Mean Girls – HeadCount.org/MeanGirls or text VOTER FETCH to 40649

Moulin Rouge! The Musical – HeadCount.org/MoulinRouge or text VOTER MR! to 40649

Plaza Suite – HeadCount.org/PlazaSuite or text VOTER PLAZA to 40649

TINA – The Tina Turner Musical – HeadCount.org/Tina or text VOTER TINA to 40649

Stay tuned to HeadCount and each show’s social media pages for more ways to get involved.

HeadCount is a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy. By reaching young people and music fans where they already are – at concerts and online – HeadCount makes civic participation easy and fun. The organization stages nonpartisan voter registration drives at more than 1,000 live events each year and collaborates with cultural leaders to promote civic engagement on a national scale. Since 2004, they’ve signed up over 650,000 voters through their work with touring musicians like Ariana Grande, Dead & Company, and Beyoncé and events like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Pride Festivals and RuPaul’s DragCon.

Bernadette Peters Concert to Stream as Benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Bernadette Peters

For the first time online, experience an extraordinary evening with Broadway legend Bernadette Peters in concert on Friday, July 10, 2020.

The free stream of Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert, a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, is set for 8 pm Eastern and can be watched at broadwaycares.org/bernadette and on Broadway Cares’ Facebook and YouTube channels. It will also be streamed on iHeartRadioBroadway.com and Playbill.com.

Peters, a three-time Tony Award recipient and star of TV and film, will be joined by actor and friend Michael Urie to talk about the concert, share inside Broadway stories and celebrate Peters’ illustrious career.

The concert, which was filmed in 2009 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre, features extraordinary performances of songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and more. The evening also includes the legendary Mary Tyler Moore, who co-founded the annual pet adoption event Broadway Barks with Peters, and appearances by furry friends looking to find their forever homes.

“I’m delighted to be able to share this incredible evening again, which has only been seen by those who were inside the Minskoff Theatre,” Peters said. “I hope this evening will bring joy to those who now get to experience it while still making a real difference for people in need across the country, and in our industry through support of Broadway Cares.”

Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, said: “Bernadette has been an invaluable friend and champion of Broadway Cares for more than two decades. She has been at our side as a member of our Board of Trustees. She’s led, with a personal and cheerful insistence, the appeals and front-of-house fundraising at the Broadway shows in which she’s starred. And she’s been a fearless advocate for those who need a helping hand in troubled times. We’re honored she’d allow us to revisit this magnificent concert online.”

While the concert stream is free to all, VIP and sponsorship opportunities also are available that provide exclusive virtual experiences with Peters and recognition during the stream. Information is available at broadwaycares.org/bernadette .

The original Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert was directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, with music direction by Marvin Laird and Cubby O’Brien on drums. Sound design was by Tom Sorce with lighting design by Lenny CowlesRichard Hester served as production stage manager and the production managers were Michael FlowersNathan Hurlin and Patty Saccente .

For the streaming event, Hester serves as director.

Every dollar donated from the evening will help provide healthy meals, lifesaving medication, emergency financial assistance, housing, counseling and more to people across the country, including those in the entertainment industry, whose needs are heightened by the COVID-19 crisis. The donations also support and champion organizations working toward social justice and anti-racism.

Thus far in response to the pandemic, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has given $5 million to The Actors Fund, ensuring thousands who work in theater and the performing arts receive help getting essential medications, housing, food and utilities. Broadway Cares awarded another $2 million to vital organizations across the country facing unprecedented challenges from the pandemic. And on behalf of Broadway and the entire theater community, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Broadway Cares provided $125,000 in now-annual grants to The Bail Project, the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Color of Change .

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.

For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org , at facebook.com/BCEFA , at instagram.com/BCEFA , at twitter.com/BCEFA and at youtube.com/BCEFA .

,

Theatre is facing its biggest peacetime threat

I could cry. I have.

Broadway is dark for a month, a closure that is much longer than the few days that shows shut after Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Analysts say that this could cost anywhere from $250 to $500 million – depending on when officials allow for public gatherings again.

Of course, regional theatres are closed “until further notice,” and the number of advance tickets and income has dropped by 92%. Last month one medium scale venue shifted £4,000. This week the total box office takings were £30.

The theatre world shifted overnight.

BECTU have stated that more than 70% of freelance workers are worried that they will not be able to pay bills. Furthermore, a staggering 47% of freelancers have confirmed that 100% of their work has been cancelled.

Thankfully, today the Government announced that they are setting up a back-of-a-fag-packet coronavirus job retention scheme. Grants will cover 80% of the salary or retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month,

The West End shut down has now been extended to April 26, “whilst we wait for further clarity from government,” says the Society of London Theatre.

As venues across the nation cancelled performances and locked the doors in the wake of coronavirus, organisations have asked audiences to donate and book advance tickets, following the government’s warning this week to avoid theatres and public gatherings.

Ticket holders should wait to be contacted by their point of purchase, rather than attempt to contact customer service teams, who are systematically working to contact all affected customers.

The size of this is staggering.

Elsewhere, Lambert Jackson productions have come up with a way to keep theatre lovers entertained as coronavirus brings things to a halt. They have teamed up with Theatre Café for a live-streamed series of concerts, Leave a Light On beginning on March 23, with 3, 45-minute concerts performed each day. Viewers will be charged £7.50 per performance.

Surely those with little to no income should be able to access a free concert?

Theatre Cafe’s Chief Operating Officer, Ryan Woods assures me that as soon as they have got a few under their belt they will look at implementing this.

What irks me about Leave a Light On, though, is that even if compassion fatigue has never been more of a problem, why are organisers prepared to break social distancing recommendations to earn money? I’m not sure west end stars need the exposure or income; it seems like a quick buck for everyone.

Which I hope doesn’t sound like I’m diminishing the efforts of all involved.

Bryony Kimmings - I’m a Pheonix ... Bitch!

Bryony Kimmings – I’m a Pheonix … Bitch!

There are moments when generosity and humanity from the industry simply overwhelms me. See: Bryony Kimmings, who has called on fellow theatre-makers to donate money to those who are in need and playwright Luke Barnes who has set up the Liverpool Artists Coronavirus Fund.

So, in circumstances as bleak as these, we need laughter, compassion and entertainment. It’s become clear to me that we must make fundamental changes to absolutely everything we do.

Mind you, theatre’s greatest strength is also its biggest medium; the emphasis is as much on evocation as experience. And, of course, a communal experience.

What can I personally do to make this all more bearable?

I have written to Rufus Norris to ask him to consider unlocking the National Theatre Collection so we can all safely watch the watch the very best of British theatre during this difficult time.

I’ve included some links and theatre resources below. (you’re welcome).

Listen, we will find a way through this ongoing crisis.

Stay well.

Theatre Helpline: 0800 915 4617advice@theatrehelpline.org

ArtsMinds: artsminds.co.uk

Theatre Resources For Isolation

Compiled by Ollie Jones (oliver.jones@york.ac.uk) – with thanks to too many people to mention for suggestions and links!

*starred items require institutional log in – usually there is a log in [by institution] option which takes you to the York Shibboleth system (or equivalent if at another institution)

Comment permissions are set to open for all. Please feel free to add suggestions!

Read:

Watch:

Full shows:

  • The Show Must Go Online – The actor Robert Myles has set up a reading group for professional and amateur actors to perform Shakespeare’s complete plays in the order they’re believed to have been written. The first livestreamed reading, on YouTube, will be The Two Gentleman of Verona on Thursday (19 March).
  • Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – After more than 1,000 productions, the Showstoppers improv crew are some of the quickest wits in the biz. So it’s no surprise that when they were faced with a West End closure they live-streamed a performance. Watch their custom-made, never-to-be-repeated impro musical on Facebook.
  • Viral Monologues – Twenty actors perform new monologues written just for them in this initiative. The performances will be shared online every 15 minutes on Tuesday night (17 March) and there’s some top talent involved, including comedian David Cross, actors Rachel Dratch and Andre Royo, and writers David Lindsay-Abaire, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Monique Moses.
  • Since U Been Gone – Teddy Lamb was due to present a Trans Take Over at London’s Bunker theatre this week as part of its now suspended Power Share season. So they have uploaded a version of their musical fringe hit about losing loved ones and finding your own voice.
  • Bubble – Is this the short-term future of theatremaking? Bubble, a play set entirely on Facebook, uses a cast of European actors who never met in person, rehearsed over Skype and filmed on their cameras. Theatre Uncut release the production, written by Beats playwright Kieran Hurley, on 23 March. Theatre Uncut — Events
  • 5 Soldiers – Rosie Kay’s extraordinary 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline was staged in army drill halls around the UK but since its live stream is still available online you can watch it from the comfort of your own sofa. Performing in close quarters to a score that mixes punk and opera, Kay’s phenomenal company bring home the horror of combat and disarm audiences.
  • Girls Like That – London’s Unicorn theatre has a world-class reputation for theatre for young audiences and its production of Evan Placey’s Girls Like That gripped the roomful of teenagers I watched it with in 2014. It’s online in full and offers a raw account of adolescent anxiety, slut-shaming and self-belief. In-your-face theatre that stays in your mind.
  • Le Patin Libre – Think dance on ice and you’d imagine sequins and staggering TV celebrities but the Canadian troupe Le Patin Libre has taken the artform into a new dimension. In their double bill Vertical Influences, the skaters turned the rink into a mesmerising stage slowly decorated by the patterns cut by their blades.
  • Woke – LIVR is a subscription service that enables you to catch up on theatre in 360-degree virtual reality. Pop your smartphone into the headset they send you and experience a range of shows including Apphia Campbell’s Fringe First award-winning show Woke, which interweaves the stories of Black Panther Assata Shakur and the 2014 Ferguson riots.
  • John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons – Self-isolation may mean that many of us will use living rooms to both teach children and watch theatre. An opportunity to combine the two can be found courtesy of the super-charismatic John Leguizamo – an inspirational tutor if ever there was – whose one-man Broadway show Latin History for Morons is on Netflix.
  • My Left Nut – This is cheating as it’s a TV series but BBC3’s superb comedy drama is based on one ofthe most uproarious and affecting fringe theatre shows of recent years. It’s based on Michael Patrick’s own teenage experience of a medical condition that left his testicle “so big you could play it like a bongo”. Wince.
  • Rosas Danst Rosas – Love dance? Need to exercise at home? Then join the queen of Belgian avant-garde performance Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as she talks you through how to perform her 1983 classic Rosas Danst Rosas. All you need is a chair, a bit of legroom and enough space to swing your hair.
  • Dead Centre have released the recording of ‘Lippy’ (2013ish) – link here: https://vimeo.com/253790281 and password is context
  • For Katie Mitchell/opera fans, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich is streaming her recent production of ‘Judith’ until 26 March. Link here: https://operlive.de/judith/

Other video resources:

Theatre-related programmes and features on streaming services:

Listen:

Search for podcasts using your favourite app…

  • Beyond Shakespeare is broadcasting a series of lunchtime readthroughs of non-Shakespeare early modern plays. Check out their twitter page for updates: https://twitter.com/BeyondShakes
  • Pursued by a Bear – by Exeunt Magazine
  • AdLib – York Theatre Royal’s podcast
  • Pod4Ham –  a song by song examination of Hamilton
  • Hamiltcast – a no-stone-left-unturned exploration of the groundbreaking show Hamilton, its multilayered musical treats and its cultural impact. https://www.thehamilcast.com/
  • Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast – Simon Stephens interviews 40 playwrights
  • David Tennant Does a Podcast With…
  • NT Talks – 10 years of talks with actors, directors and more recorded at the National Theatre
  • Curtain Call Theatre Podcast – spotlights current shows through wide-ranging interviews, which give listeners a detailed sense of what it takes for a show to come together. https://curtaincalltheatre.libsyn.com/
  • “Variety’s Stagecraft” – a deep gold mine of searching interviews with actors and other theater professionals about their Broadway and off-Broadway endeavors. https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com/podcast/varietys-stagecraft/
  • Playing On Air – contemporary one-act play performed by actors like Adam Driver, Audra McDonald and Michael C. Hall, followed by a conversation with the creative team. https://playingonair.org/?
  • ‘Off Book: The Black Theatre Podcast’ – features conversations between the hosts and a selection of guests from all walks of theatrical life, including actors, costume designers and writers. https://soundcloud.com/off-book-theatre-podcast
  • BBC podcasts: In Our Time, The Life Scientific, Infinite Monkey Cage, Desert Island Discs, From Our Own Correspondent, Friday Night Comedy, You’re Dead to Me, Forest 404
  • Other non-theatre recommendations: Guilty Feminist, Global Pillage, The Best Pick, 99% Invisible, Ologies, Reply All
  • RTE Radio Drama. Radio plays from Ireland’s national broadcaster https://www.rte.ie/drama/radio/
  • BBC 4 Radio Drama https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xxp0g

Exeunt’s list of Distractions, inspirations, projects and more (http://exeuntmagazine.com/features/covid-19-resources-uk-theatre-freelancers/)

Other resources

For any teachers of drama who have had to hastily convert their teaching to online platforms, this Google Doc has some excellent, drama-specific resources and advice:

Teaching Theatre Online: A Shift in Pedagogy Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i-keJ_frOOEUa50CLAdz86hq5CxQwBQ2T4hbSI2nYdM/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR11cVZdw4DXEZqNCgOwYn_swxIhlHfsWXF9tMu9-7aiKfQljSyecFGkfnI

MRS. DOUBTFIRE Musical Heads to Broadway Following Triumphant Seattle Engagement

Mrs. Doubtfire

The eagerly anticipated new musical comedy Mrs. Doubtfire is on its way to Broadway following a spectacular run at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre which ends tomorrow, Saturday, January 4. Extended by popular demand, the show shattered the record for the bestselling new musical in the history of The 5th Avenue Theatre, selling over $4.7M worth of tickets and playing to more than 75,000 people in just 42 performances.  Mrs. Doubtfire received standing ovations at every performance for the spectacular cast led by Broadway star Rob McClureMrs. Doubtfire will begin previews on Monday, March 9, 2020 and open on Sunday, April 5 at Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre (124 W 43rd St).

Helmed by four time-Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks (Hello, Dolly!), the new musical comedy features a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, the Tony Award nominated team behind Something Rotten! The creative is rounded out by choreographer Lorin Latarro (Waitress); Music Supervisor, Arranger and Orchestrator Ethan Popp (Tina); Scenic Designer David Korins; Costume Designer Catherine Zuber; Lighting Designer, Philip S. Rosenberg; Sound Designer Brian Ronan; Hair & Wig Designer David Brian Brown; and Makeup Designer Tommy Kurzman.

Tickets for the Broadway premiere of Mrs. Doubtfire, the new musical, are on sale at Telecharge.com.  Produced by multi-Tony Award winner Kevin McCollum (Avenue Q, Rent, In The Heights, Something Rotten!), Mrs. Doubtfire is based on Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture.

The principal cast of Mrs. Doubtfire will feature Rob McClure in the title role, Jenn Gambatese as Miranda Hillard, Peter Bartlett as Mr. Jolly, Charity Angél Dawson as Wanda Sellner, Mark Evans as Stuart Dunmeyer, J. Harrison Ghee as Andre, Analise Scarpaci as Lydia Hillard, Jake Ryan Flynn as Christopher Hillard, Avery Sell as Natalie Hillard and Brad Oscar as Frank Hillard.

Mrs. Doubtfire is presented by special arrangement with Buena Vista Theatrical. Though it is being performed at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Mrs. Doubtfire is not a Roundabout Theatre Company production.

Daniel Hillard, a struggling, out-of-work actor, will do anything for his kids. After losing custody in a messy divorce, he disguises himself as Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. As his new persona begins to take on a life of her own, Mrs. Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained for about how to be a father. A hysterical and heartfelt story about holding onto your loved ones against all odds, Mrs. Doubtfire is the next big musical comedy for families—of all kinds.

Broadway’s Moulin Rouge The Musical Opens Tomorrow

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

The highly anticipated new musical Moulin Rouge! The Musical opens tomorrow, Thursday, July 25 on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

The cast, from the sold-out, record-breaking run at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre this past summer, includes Karen Olivo (Tony Award® for West Side StoryIn the Heights) as Satine, Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You CanNext to Normal) as Christian, Danny Burstein (six-time Tony Award®-nominee, Fiddler On the RoofCabaret) as Harold Zidler, Sahr Ngaujah (Tony® and Olivier award-nominee for Fela) as Toulouse-Lautrec, Tam Mutu(Doctor Zhivago, Encores!’s Hey, Look Me Over! and The New Yorkers) as The Duke of Monroth, Ricky Rojas (Burn the Floor) as Santiago and Robyn Hurder (Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Nini.

The ensemble and swings include Amber ArdolinoJacqueline B. ArnoldOlutayo BosedeKyle Brown, Sam J. Cahn, Max ClaytonKarli Dinardo, Aaron C. Finley, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Bahiyah Hibah, Ericka Hunter, Holly James, Evan Kinnane, Reed Luplau, Jeigh Madjus, Morgan MarcellCaleb MarshallBrandt Martinez, Jodi McFaddenKevyn Morrow, Fred Odgaard, Dylan PaulKhori Michelle Petinaud and Benjamin Rivera. Ashley Loren is the Standby for Satine.

Directed by Alex Timbers (Tony Award®-nominated for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Peter and the Starcatcher)Moulin Rouge! The Musical has a book by John Logan (Tony Award® for Red), choreography by Sonya Tayeh (Lucille Lortel Award and Obie Award for Kung Fu, and Emmy winner), and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Justin Levine (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).

The design team for Moulin Rouge! The Musical includes Tony Award® winner Derek McLane (sets), Tony Award®winner Catherine Zuber (costumes), two-time Tony Award® nominee Justin Townsend (lighting), Tony Award® winnerPeter Hylenski (sound), Drama Desk Award winner David Brian Brown (wig and hair design) and Sarah Cimino (Make-up design). Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Stephen Kopel.

As in the film, Moulin Rouge! The Musical celebrates some of the greatest popular music of the last 50 years. The stage musical features many of the iconic songs from the movie and also includes recent hits released since the movie premiered 15 years ago.

Global Creatures (Carmen Pavlovic and Gerry Ryan OAM) serves as Lead Producer and Bill Damaschke is the executive producer. General management is by Foresight Theatrical.

 Co-producers include Aaron LustbaderHunter Arnold, Darren Bagert, Erica Lynn Schwartz/Matt Pincheny/Stephanie Rosenberg, Adam Blanshay Productions/Nicolas & Charles Talar, Iris Smith, Aleri Entertainment, CJ ENM, Sophie Qi/Harmonia Holdings, AF Creative Media/International Theatre Fund, Baz & Co./Len Blavatnik, Endeavor Content, Tom & Pam Faludy, Gilad-Rogowsky/InStone Productions, John Gore OrganizationMehr-BB Entertainment GmbH, Spencer Ross, Nederlander Presentations/IPNEric Falkenstein/Suzanne Grant, Jennifer FischerPeter May/Sandy Robertson, Triptyk Studios, Carl Daikeler/Sandi Moran, Desantis-Baugh ProductionsRed Mountain Theatre Company/42ND.CLUB, Candy Spelling/Tulchin Bartner, Roy Furman and Jujamcyn Theatres.

Released by 20th Century Fox, “Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!” premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. At the 74thAcademy Awards, the film was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, and won two.

The Moulin Rouge of Paris is a dazzling and spectacular universe, the symbol of the Parisian way of celebrating since 1889. Starting life as a popular cabaret and dance hall, the venue became an iconic music hall in the Roaring Twenties, and then a theatre where numerous famous French and international artistes stepped out into the limelight.

Ricky Rojas is appearing with the support of Actors’ Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’Equity Association for its assistance of this production.

Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com and in person at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street. Hirschfeld Theatre box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 8pm. Group discounts are available for groups of 12 or more through Group Sales Box Office at Broadway.com by calling 1-800-BROADWAY x2 or online at www.broadway.com/groupsMoulin Rouge! The Musical offers a $29 (plus $5 service charge) “Lucky Seat” lottery. For more information go to https://moulinrougemusical.com/.