Kwame Kwei-Armah to leave Baltimore Center Stage at the end of the 2017/18 season
Kwame Kwei-Armah to leave Baltimore Center Stage at the end of the 2017/18 season

AD Kwame Kwei-Armah Will Depart From Baltimore Center Stage

Michael Eddy

The Board of Directors of Baltimore Center Stage and Kwame Kwei-Armah jointly announced today that Kwei-Armah will leave his position as artistic director at the end of his contract on June 30, 2018. Kwei-Armah has served as artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage since 2011. 

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Broadway Bares: Strip U raised $1,568,114 in two performances
Broadway Bares: Strip U raised $1,568,114 in two performances

Broadway Bares Raises $1.57 Million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Michael Eddy

A spirited audience of thousands went back to campus with stripped-down collegians at Broadway Bares: Strip U, this year’s edition of the annual highly choreographed, highly produced striptease spectacular. This 27th edition of Broadway Bares, which is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Bares: Strip U raised $1,568,114 in two performances on June 18, 2017, at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

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Actors’ Equity & League of Resident Theaters (LORT) reach a new five-year agreement
Actors’ Equity & League of Resident Theaters (LORT) reach a new five-year agreement

Equity & LORT Reach a New Five-Year Agreement

Michael Eddy

Actors’ Equity Association announced that it has reached a tentative agreement for a historic new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) for actors and stage managers. Key provisions of the agreement include substantial salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 81.7 percent over the life of the contract. Upon ratification, members will also receive raises retroactive to Feb. 13, 2017, when the original LORT agreement expired.

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Actors' Equity Association

Statements on Julius Caesar at The Public Theater Sponsorship Controversy

Michael Eddy

"Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means. To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him." – Oskar Eustis, Director

On Sunday, June 11, Delta Airlines withdrew their full corporate support from The Public Theater and Bank of America pulled their support from The Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. The production has drawn the ire of the political right for its depiction of the emperor with more than a passing resemblance to the current US president. The ensuing conversation in the theater and arts community over the last 72 hours has highlighted the odd-bedfellows relationship of corporate patronage and artistic freedom. 

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Oskar Eustis Must-See Opening Night Speech for Julius Caesar

Michael Eddy

While corporate sponsors are often a lifeblood of many regional and not-for-profit theaters, there is always the double-edge when those sponsors perhaps don't share the conviction of the theater to free artistic expression. A not so minor democratic value. As many theaters will need to start looking toward greater corporate and foundation sponsorships, due to the current political threats of cuts to arts funding, what is happening in New York at The Public with its sponsors should be watched closely, and discussed widely. On Sunday, June 11, Delta Airlines withdrew their full corporate support from The Public Theater and Bank of America pulled their support from The Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar.  Just before the start of the opening night performance at the Delacorte Theater on Monday evening, Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public and the director of Julius Caesar spoke to the audience. His speech is worth hearing and considering. 

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John Kilgore, Abe Jacob, Lindsay Jones, and Jonathan Deans
John Kilgore, Abe Jacob, Lindsay Jones, and Jonathan Deans

The Collaborator Party Celebrates for a Third Sold-Out Year

Michael Eddy

The Collaborator Party, headed by theatrical sound designers Lindsay Jones and John Gromada, announced that their event was a complete sell-out for the third year in a row. The Collaborator Party is the official Tony night party for the theatre sound community and all of their collaborators. The main party was held June 11 at Houston Hall in NYC from 7pm-11pm, with an additional party held simultaneously in Los Angeles.

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The Infamous Steak from Proptologist Jay Duckworth

Michael Eddy

Props Artisan, (and SD contributor) Jay Duckworth is highly regarded for his mastery of all things props. He has even created an easy to eat steak for onstage meals that made a lasting impression on actor John Lithgow. In fact he asked the art department of his latest film Beatriz at Dinner to contact Duckworth in order to duplicate the easily eatable fake steak for him in the movie. Duckworth's recipe: watermelon and food coloring. It allows actors to chomp on a steak throughout a scene while still able to say their lines! 
Checkout Lithgow explaining the stage secret, crediting Duckworth for his ingenuity, on ABC's The Chew. Then scroll done to see the steak recipe.

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Set Designer Mimi Lien Starts The Great Comet Design at the Front Door

Kathy Eddy

While set designer Mimi Lien has won the 2017 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design in a Musical and is up for a Tony Award as well for her set design on The Great Comet, her design didn't stop with the stage or even the audience house. She has also transformed the lobby of the Imperial Theatre, transporting audience members from the  the moment they step inside from the street.

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