American Theatre

American Theatre is a magazine containing news, features and opinions on American and international theatre. Published six times a year by the Theatre Communications Group, this periodical was founded in 1984.Subjects for American Theatre include drama and theatre. Nicole Estvanik Taylor is the Managing Editor and Jim O' Quinn is the Editor-in-Chief.

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 4, April

20 Questions
Actor and playwright LYNN REDGRAVE portrays Lady Bracknell in Theatre Royal Bath/Peter Hall Company's The Importance of Being Earnest, running through May 14 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She talked to American Theatre while driving down Lake Avenue...
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A Game of Love & Chance: Experience Is the Best Armor in the Thickets of New-Musical Development
LAST SUMMER I took a hike in Northern California with Susan H. Schulman, one of the first people I had met after I moved to New York City. As we started down the dirt path, she turned to me and asked, "Do you have your cell phone with you?" I thought,...
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An Alternative Paradigm: The University Route; There's a Lot to Be Said for Launching a New Musical in a College Setting
Maybe Tina Landau is on to something. "If I'm working on a big new musical piece," the 43-year-old director says, "my first attempt is going to be to take it into a school setting and play around for a while." Landau has, in fact, developed many of...
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A Nationwide Boom: The Not-for-Profit Musical Factory; Resident Theatres Believe in the Journey of Musical-Theatre Artists, Not in Hits
Allow me to let you in on a few things that you may or may not know. Many not-for-profit theatres across the country actually give birth to new musicals. Some develop and premiere new musicals. Others rework popular favorites that didn't quite reach...
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Author! Author?
Legal issues regarding the authorship of theatrical works have received considerable attention in recent years, and the scheduled trial in April of a new case regarding a director's allegation of copyright infringement has reopened the discussion....
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Bethesda, MD., New York City and Philadelphia: Hip-Hop Waters Run Deep
EISA DAVIS AND THE WEST AFRICAN trickster god Anansi are clearly in cahoots. How else does one explain this playwright/actor/singer/songwriter's penchant for working in such myriad forms? Davis, whose play Bulrusher runs through April 9 at Urban Stages...
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Conquered Fo
MILAN: The city of Milan chooses its new mayor this month. With three candidates up for election--not including the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Dario Fo, who lost out in the first round of primary elections this past January--the race has been widely...
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Denver: War from 8 Angles
THAT PLAYWRIGHTS WANT TO TALK ABOUT WAR RIGHT NOW IS NOT SURPRISING. Almost everything else about the Curious Theatre Company's The War Anthology, running through April 29, is. The eight-person writing team assembled by dramaturg Bonnie Metzgar includes...
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Editor's Note
If there were ever an issue of American Theatre that should come with a CD attached, this is it. More musicals than you can count are discussed (and often vividly pictured) in these pages, from Off Broadway's festival-bred pop musical hit Altar Boyz,...
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Inside the Slave Trade
NEW YORK CITY: It's rare that a play moves quickly enough to match the ripped-from-the-headlines relevance of TV's "Law & Order"--but Becoming Natasha is just such a case. The play, a project of New York City-based Isadora Productions, brings the...
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John Doyle: Tight "Company"; in Cincinnati, the Ladies Who Lunch Will Be Packing Musical Instruments
John Doyle has been artistic director at several regional theatres in the United Kingdom, where he's staged more than 200 professional productions during a 30-year career. Trained at the University of Georgia in the U.S., Doyle has served for the past...
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New York City and Stanford, Calif.: Poems in the Key of Empire
The crater recalled a lonely planet A pockmarked moon of ridges and man-sized valleys, earthmovers, dump trucks and cranes A priest kneels in the powdered ash The rescue stops for the holy ghost and the angel of death to cross paths ... SEKOU SUNDIATA...
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New York City: Mountain Music
"WHAT 'CLICKED' WAS THE MOUNTAINS," declares Dudley Cocke, about the connection his Kentucky-based Roadside Theater made with the South Bronx followers of Pregones Theatre. "There is a whole mountain culture in Puerto Rico, so our doing a lot of mountain...
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On Becoming Campers: How to Survive the Workshop Syndrome; A Handful of Musical-Theatre Writers at Different Stages in Their Careers Compile Their Do's and Don'ts
Just as every musical is its own thing, every musical-theatre writer or composing team has a story to tell about how they struggled to reach where they are now--and a list of do's and don'ts derived from experience. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] High...
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One Nation, under Suzan-Lori Parks
VENICE, CALIF.: Beginning on Nov. 12, 2004, Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a play a day for a year. While the rest of us mortal creatures struggled to come up with a germ of an idea for that One Great Play, Parks actually woke up every morning, set pen to...
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Ringless Wonder
ACROSS THE COUNTRY: So can you still call it a circus if there are no rings? That's the greatest question on earth facing the 136th edition of Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey, which has done away with not one or two but all three rings. The...
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Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Pulp Metaphysics; for Inspiration, He Spends His Days with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four
KA-POW!!! KER-BANG!!! THWAAACK!!! KA-BOOM!! [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] No one ever accused comic books of having a muted aesthetic (viz., the above, the sound of your typical superhero's fist). So it is not too surprising that the plays of Roberto...
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The Hit Makers: Commercial Producing; How Do Broadway Producers Decide When the Show Should Probably NOT Go On?
Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions, is aware of the corporate image most people have of commercial producers and Broadway theatre owners: Their world is perceived "as a big polished granite table with a bunch of guys in suits...
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The Rise of Festivals: The Networking Life; Festivals Aren't Just for Scouting Hits-They've Become Havens for Feeding the Country with New Works
Can you pinpoint the moment when theatre festivals came to be considered hotbeds for the next hit musical? Here's a good guess: Thursday, September 20, 2001. That's the day Urinetown: The Musical officially opened on Broadway, completing its unlikely...
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"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg": Two River Theater Company
Jonathan Fox, DIRECTOR: It's tempting to peg The Umbrellas of Cherbourg as a musical or an opera, but Jacques Demy called it "a story in song and color," and I think that's the best description. The show begins as a sweet (some might say "saccharine")...
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Wendy Wasserstein: 1950-2006
I love Wendy Wasserstein's plays. She was one of the most eloquent public speakers I've ever heard. And I'd rather read an essay by Wendy than just about anybody else. But it is not the loss of Wendy the worker that makes me so sad. It's talking to...
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What Directors of New Musicals Need to Know: For Directors, Working on a New Musical Means Staying the Course-And Getting It in Writing
It's always good to have the basics. When directors embark on the development of a new show, they should have on hand a bottle of water, a sense of humor and some resiliency. Things happen along the way, some weird, some unexpected; sometimes things...
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