Michael Riedel Loses Bet, Gets Doused With Ice

Jacob Coakley

In a fun story about the politicking and press that happens in the big-stakes Broadway world, longtime New York Post gadfly and Broadway gossip columnist Michael Riedel lost a bet to Finding Neverland producer Harvey Weinstein, and had a bucket of ice water poured over his head as part of the ALS ice bucket challenge. After Riedel wrote a column criticizing Finding Neverland (which is playing at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., in a run-up to a Broadway debut) without having actually seen the show, the producer Harvey Weinstein invited him to see the show for himself and offered him a challenge: if less than 80% of the audience did not love the show, Weinstein would do the ALS ice bucket challenge. However if 80% or more of the audience loved it, Riedel would have ice dumped on him. The show was surveyed and the results were verified by accounting firm Ernst and Young. After 96% of the audience voted they loved the show, Weinstein doused Riedel. (Read the whole press release after the jump for a few more great digs at Riedel—including one from himself.)

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Theatre Bay Area Announces Finalists for Inaugural Awards

Jacob Coakley

Theatre Bay Area has announced the finalists for their inaugural awards program. The awards aim to honor the highest caliber of theare across the Bay Area and will take place on Monday, Nov. 10. Some 180 productions from 78 participating theatre companies were evaluated by 270 adjudicators, who recorded close to 3,000 ballots to select the final slate of finalists.

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New York Innovation Theatre Foundation Names 2014 Winners

Jacob Coakley

On Monday, Sept. 22, the New York Innovation Theatre awards celebrated the best of Off-Off-Broadway and independent theatre in New York—its tenth annual show. On the tech side of thing, Kia Rogers won the NYIT for Outstanding Lighting Design for her work on Jane the Plain at Flux Theatre Ensemble, while  Gail Cooper-Hecht won the award for Outstanding Costuem Design for her work on The Importance of Being Earnest from Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc. The award for Outstanding Set Design went to Travis McHale for Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, from Ground Up Productions, while Outstanding Sound Design went to Christian Frederickson for The Awake from kef theatrical productions. Outstanding Innovative Design went to Nicole Hill for her Puppet Design for Mute from the New York Neo-Futurists. Allegro, from the Astoria Performing Arts Center won Outstanding Production of a Musical and Pirra from Theare 167 earned the Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play.

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Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Raises $700k+ at Flea Market

Jacob Coakley

The 2014 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised a record $713,986 on Saturday. Thousands of fans perused more than 65 tables worth of Broadway memorabilia and bid on more than 247 Grand Auction items. The tables this year raised an impressive $369,616; the live auction raised $263,850. The top-selling lot of the live auction was a handwritten musical phrase of “Let It Go,” from the hit Disney animated movie Frozen. The phrase was written and signed by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Idina Menzel, who sang the Oscar-winning song in the movie and voiced the lead character. The phrase sold for $9,000. An opportunity to meet Menzel backstage during the run of her current Broadway hit, If/Then, also was among the top live auction lots, bringing in $8,000.

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Tennessee Repertory Theatre Changes Name to Nashville Repertory Theatre

Jacob Coakley

Tennessee Repertory Theatre will start its 30th anniversary season with a name change. The theatre will now be known as Nashville Repertory Theatre. The name change is meant to celebrate “the theatre’s deep commitment to working with local, professional, actors, artisans, and artists as well as its commitment to fostering the city’s theatre ecology.”

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Dad’s Garage Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Finance New Home

Jacob Coakley

Dad’s Garage launched a “Help Build the House of Dad’s” Kickstarter campaign to finance their new home at 569 Ezzard St. in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta. The full cost of the building is roughly $2 million, and after a successful capital campaign, Dad’s Garage is turning to Kickstarter to raise $100,000 in the next two months to put them over the top so they can close on the property in December.

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American Theatre Wing Raises $750,000, Increases Grants to Theatres

Jacob Coakley

On Monday, Sept. 15, the American Theatre Wing held their annual gala, honoring Dame Angela Lansbury, for her lifetime of contributions to the theatre. The gala raised a record $750,000 for the Wing’s education and outreach programs. Heather Hitchens, president of the Wing, announced that the event’s success enabled the Wing to increase their National Theatre Company Grants by 20%, to $12,000 for each theatre. This year’s recipients were: Amphibian Stage Productions (Fort Worth, Texas), Ars Nova (New York, New York), Forum Theatre (Silver Spring, Maryland), Keen Company (New York, New York), PlayGround (San Francisco, California) , Red Bull Theater (New York, NY), Rogue Machine Theatre (Los Angeles, California), The House Theatre of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), the TEAM (Brooklyn, New York), Theater Wit (Chicago, Illinois), Theatre B (Fargo, North Dakota), and Williamston Theatre (Williamston, Michigan).

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Samuel D. Hunter and Alison Bechdel Among the 2014 MacArthur “Genius” Grant Recipients

Jacob Coakley

The MacArthur Foundation today announced 21 MacArthur Fellows for 2014, and included in the list were playwright Samuel D. Hunter and graphic artist/novelist Alison Bechdel, whose graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) was the basis for the musical Fun Home, which after a lauded Off-Broadway run last fall is headed to Broadway. Hunter is the author of several plays, including The Whale which tells the story of Charlie, an expository writing instructor who has been driven by grief to a state of morbid obesity. Each will receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 with no stipulations or reporting requirements, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

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