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. 29, No. 1, January

20 Questions
Did you see the Off-Broadway premiere of How I Learned to Drive back in 1997? I've never seen a production of it. I read it years ago, and have been mildly obsessed with it for years. When it was published, I read it to see what the hoopla was about,...
A Bigger Canvas: The Prize - Winning Actor Brings a Chicago Triumph Home to D.C
EDWARD GERO, STANCE WIDE AND EYES ABLAZE, holds center stage for the majority of the 100 minutes of Red, at Goodman Theatre of Chicago. Gero is one of the first U.S. actors (among many this season, as the Tony-winning drama rolls out in theatres coast...
Adelaide, Australia
ADELAIDE FESTIVAL: Prominent on the program of the 2012 Adelaide Festival--which marks the event's switch from biennial to annual--will be the Australian debut of Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce, reprising his role as the tramp Davies in Pinter's The Caretaker,...
A Festival and Its Offspring
NEW YORK CITY: January might be the worst month, weatherwise, to visit New York City, but it may be Gotham's best month for experimental-theatre viewing--an array of theatre festivals bloom in the wintry landscape. The granddaddy of them all is the...
Chasing the Sun: A Playwright Puts Himself in a Child's Shoes by Retracing the Steps of a Conquistador
August 13, 1521 beroically defended by Cuauhtemoc, Tlatelolco fell into the hands ofHerndn Cortes. It was neither triumph nor a defeat. It was the painful birth of the mestizo nation which is Mexico today. --Translation of a plaque in the Square...
Creative License
Catherine Trieschmann's play How the World Began exists in the crosshairs of a battle still raging across large swaths of rural America. But Trieschmann wants audiences to realize that the play isn't a platform to expound upon an obvious intellectual...
Design Is Not a Private Affair: And It Never Has Been, Say Pros Who Relish Their Assistants' Creativity and Appetite for Knowledge
FOR THREE OR SO YEARS IN THE LATE 1970S, costume designer Susan Tsu spent her mornings pounding on the door of famed Cuban-born designer Randy Barcelo to rouse him from his typically deep sleep. She would make coffee for him as he prepared for the...
Discovered in Translation: Might a Play Find Its True Voice in a Second Language? Well, If the Shoe Fits
I'M ON A PLANE TO PANAMA CITY, PANAMA, where I am due for a rehearsal of my play, Quality: The Shoe Play. This will not be the usual rehearsal where the actors and director get nervous because the playwright is coining; I am the one who is nervous....
Fairies vs. Humans
AMHERST, MASS.: Some theatres fret about how to bring young people to the theatre; others skip the fretting and instead endeavor to bring the theatre to young people. That's essentially what John Bechtold, head of the performing arts department at...
Gil Cates: 1934 - 2011
* One of my champions has passed away. This was a man who understood how extraordinarily hard it is to write a play. This was a man who would give me a big hug the first day of rehearsal and say, "I woke up this morning with a grin on my face. You...
Good Heavens!
"I fear your independence of mind is the way to damnation," declares one of the characters in Mark Jackson's God's Plot, which bows at Berkeley, Calif's Shotgun Players through Jan. 15. Based on a scantily documented performance of Ye Bare and Ye Cubb,...
Hometown Shenanigans
THERESA REBECK GREW UP IN CINCINNATI, but her career as a writer of plays and television series has flourished on America's coasts. "It's complicated to be so thoroughly from the Midwest but to settle on the East Coast. I always feel like a child of...
I Get a Sidekick out of You: For One Young Director, Assisting Is a Tricky Balancing Act with a Great View
IT'S 10:30 ON A WET OCTOBER MORNING IN New York City, and the south rehearsal room at Play-wrights Horizons is starting to hum. Trickling into the windowless hall are actors, designers and administrators who shake off the rain, graze at the festive...
Journey to a New World: How a Cast of 181 Very Different Performers Came Together - and Went on an Odyssey
ROOKLYN-BASED DIRECTOR LEAR deBessonet radiates positive energy, but she's had her share of frustrations. "One of my first disappointments making work in New York City was how narrow the audience sometimes felt," she says. She began reaching out to...
Learning by Lending a Hand
IN A MONTAGE OF ROUTINE MORNING GREETINGS AND coat-dumping in The Devil WearsPrada, fashion editor Miranda Priestly played with implacable verve by Meryl Streep, says the following over i her shoulder while sailing past her assistant: "Find me that...
Liviu Ciulei: 1923-2011
* Liviu Ciulei was an architect, a stage designer, an actor and a director. He had the spirit of a Renaissance man, brilliant in every field. As an architect, he redesigned the Buhmdra Theatre in Bucharest, his hometown in Romania, transforming...
On the Job: Theatre Pros Recall the Doors They've Opened by Assisting (Including a Few Better Left Closed)
BIG BREAKS My first internship in college was at a little puppet theatre on the Lower East Side. As the only assistant in this small operation, I was certain I would be folding programs, sweeping the floor and refilling the toilet paper. Then one...
Phaedra Backwards: McCarter Theatre Center
Emily Mann, DIRECTION: In the photo, we are seeing the climax of the play. The ghosts of Phaedra's family torment her by hanging her by a meat hook and skinning her alive. Marina Carr, the playwright, specifies that the play takes place on a terrace...
Production and Destruction: The TEAM's Mission Drift Charts the Everyday Apocalypses of American Progress
North America s pre-eminence has come about because the resources of a rich yet middle-sized continent have been mined to provide a capital base that is the envy of the rest of the world. In a sense, the over-exploitation of the frontier was akin to...
Rebecca Udden's Down-to-Earch 'Utopia: Grounded in Main Street Theater's Trademark Intimacy, the Artistic Directors Brings Tom Stoppard's Epic Trilogy to Houston
"I LOVE STOPPARD," INTONES REBECCA GREENE Udden, with the sort of deep-voiced relish most people reserve for Swiss chocolates. Over the course of her 36-year (and counting) career as founder and artistic director of Houston's Main Street Theater,...
Relationships and Resolutions
IN LATE 2011, A STUDY TITLED FUSING ARTS, Culture and Social Change was released by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. The report cites statistics on the distribution of foundation funding nationally, explaining that 11 percent of...
Second Act, Sans Building
NEW YORK CITY AND LOS ANGELES: Two small, dedicated theatre companies on either coast have begun new chapters as independent producers--minus the alternate comfort and encumbrance of having a theatrical home base. In New York, the Manhattan Theatre...
Stages of Occupation
NEW YORK CITY: The Occupy Wall Street movement, officially born on Sept. 17, 2011, in downtown Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, describes itself as a "leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing...
Supporting Roles: Assisting Is a Rite of Passage for Many Artists. Are They Getting Ahead-Or Just Getting Coffee?
JACK: Well, what's the assistant director do, like? DOREEN: He assists the director. JACK: What does the director do, then? BARBARA: Shut up, Jack. The York Realist, effectively sums up the myths and misunder standings, and even the agita,...
Sweet Talk
ROBBIE McCAULEY DOESN'T remember when she first started craving sugar. "I knew something was amiss, but I didn't admit it to myself," says the Obie Award-winning playwright, performance artist and director. Despite the healthy meals being served at...
The Labyrinth: For the San Francisco Ensemble Mugwumpin, the Search for a Temporary Performance Space Gets Twisty-And Twistier
THE HEAVY METAL DOOR SLAMMED SHUT behind us, blocking out the noise and piss-odor of San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. A Raggedy Ann-style doll caught my eye. She was impaled on a bit of vertical conduit where a wall had once stood. Her body...
The Neutrality Trap: The Great Minds of 20th-Century Theatre Wanted to Free Our Thinking about Theatre Spaces. How Did We End Up in a Black Box?
WHEN MOST OF US THINK OF A THEATRE, WE think of a space with permanent rows of seats facing a stage at one end. That's certainly been true of most theatres built in the last 300 years. But since the early part of the 20th century, theatre artists have...
Three - Part Rescue Plan
PHOENIX, ARIZ.: The current economic downturn has produced its share of unfortunate theatrical casualties, as well as a number of close calls--theatres on the brink or disaster that have rebounded, thanks to emergency fund-raising campaigns, from Shakespeare...