This Week on Broadway for Monday August 10, 2009: Spidey’s Turn
[Listen or download MP3]
Peter Filichia, 3x week at TheaterMania.com and Newark Star Ledger
Matthew Murray, Chief theater critic for Talkin Broadway.com and also
a columnist for BroadwayStars.com
$45 million Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark “temporarily” put on hold.
I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked.
Peter goes to The Music Theatre of Wichita and sees Drowsy Chaperone
WHAT’S NEW in Wayne’s World?
Notes from Wayne Bryan, producing artistic director
In My Life…
Hair revival recoups its investment
Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb sentenced
A Broadway Musical (Music: Charles Strouse; Book: William F. Brown;
Lyrics: Lee Adams)
American Theatre Critics Association weighs in on the Tony Awards fracas.
To: Nina Lannan, Chair, and Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director,
The Broadway League; and Theodore Chapin, Chairman, and Howard
Sherman, Executive Director, American Theatre Wing
Now that the initial uproar has eased, the Executive Committee of the
American Theatre Critics Association urges the Tony Management
Committee to reconsider its recent decision to disenfranchise the
theater critics who vote for the Tony Awards.
Among the artists, craftspeople and producers who comprise most of
that electorate, critics are the least biased voters with the
broadest, best informed view of the theatrical scene. Their
participation increases the legitimacy of the Tonys, which otherwise
would look parochial and self-congratulatory.
Critics are also natural participants. All around the country there
are similar theatrical awards programs in which critics play a leading
role; ATCA itself administers several. Disenfranchising critics from
the Tonys fits no sensible rationale. Analogies to the Oscars and
Emmys miss the point that theater is always alive and local — whereas
movie and TV critics are many and widely dispersed, New York theater
critics are limited and well placed to help celebrate Broadway.
If the unspoken aim is to reduce the number of free tickets producers
must provide, it would be better to take the vote away from the
editors and columnists on the 100-person first night list, leaving the
genuine critics. Or just start anew with the New York Drama Critics
Circle and add other critics as seems best. Of course, the greatest
saving would be to refuse all voters’ requests for extra tickets or
second viewings. But these are housekeeping details, well within the
competence of the Tony Committee.
Whatever the perceived problem may be, tossing out the critics isn’t
the answer. This is a time when the Fabulous Invalid and the
beleaguered critical community should be making common cause for their
art. Haven’t the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League always
supported that ideal?
Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Chairman, ATCA Executive Committee
BACKGROUND: ATCA is the only national organization representing
American theater critics. Founded in 1974 by (among others) Henry
Hewes, Elliot Norton, Richard Coe, Edith Oliver and Dan Sullivan, it
sponsors yearly conferences and symposia and sends members to the
seminars and congresses of the International Association of Theatre
Critics. It makes a recommendation for the regional theater Tony and
votes on the Theater Hall of Fame, and through its Foundation, it
annually awards the $40,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA and M.
Elizabeth Osborn new play awards and $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize.
Christopher Rawson, senior theater critic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
412-216-1944; also on KDKA-TV
Chair, American Theatre Critics Association
Barbra Streisand at the Village Vanguard for one night only?
The Village Vanguard is located at 178 Seventh Ave South
Rocco Landesman Confirmed as Chairman of the NEA
Hugh Jackman to star in P.T. Barnum film musical?
Skylight Music Theater insanity. This is a bit out of the stream, as
it were, but good God is there a lot of drama here:
Several blogs — including those of Tony Clements, a Skylight alumnus
and friend of Mr. Thiesen’s (tuesdaysblog.com), and Mr. Strini (“The
Old Song and Dance,” at jsonline.com) — scrupulously detailed the
events. Mr. Strini left his position at The Journal Sentinal on July