There comes a point in every lifelong theatre lover’s career when you suddenly wake up and wonder: am I simply too old for this? Ben Brantley, former chief critic of the New York Times, hit this particular critical nail on the head when he ended his review of the 2018 Off-Broadway summer run of the cult musical Be More Chill (before it was propelled to Broadway in turn) by advising: “It may be helpful to think of this bounding, exhaustingly enthusiastic puppy of a show as the theatrical equivalent of one of those high-pitched dog whistles that only those under 25 can hear.”
Audiences go to the theatre for pleasure, not work; critics need to remember that their work is someone else’s pleasure.
The week began with Andrew Lloyd Webber being mentioned by Boris Johnson, as he extended the lockdown from the originally hoped-for ‘Freedom Day’ of 21 June to 19 July, at which point theatres may be able to reopen without social distancing in place;
In what is becoming a wearyingly predictable cycle, Boris Johnson’s latest failure to act fast enough to lockdown the country from the arrival of what is now known as the Delta variant of Covid, which originated in India, has resulted in it becoming the dominant strain of the virus in Britain — with the added problem that it is much more easily transmissible than previous strains.
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The post June 10: Should Covid passports be required to go to the theatre? first appeared on Shenton Stage.
The National Theatre has announced its programming until the start of next year with productions on all three South Bank stages as well as three major UK tours, two productions on Broadway, a return to cinemas, and a new feature film to be broadcast on television this autumn.
COVID has created unusual detours that producers and performers have been forced to navigate; and it has sometimes opened new doors in the process
No theatre owner or producer has done more to re-ignite the West End, both then in December and especially now in May, than the forever-tenacious, ever-energetic and resilient Nica Burns.
This weekly column keeps track of the shows that are coming back, or are newly being announced, as theatres start reopening from tonight (17 May) in London and at other theatres in the UK.
I’m unashamedly a friend and champion of the theatre; but I can never been a simple cheerleader for it, regardless of the circumstances or my connections with people in a show I’m seeing. As honest critics find out all too often, we’re loved when we love something we see; but that can quickly pivot to becoming the enemy when we don’t.
There’s hardly a more insistent ear worm of a song in all of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ear-wormy repertoire than ‘Memory’, the breakout hit of his 1981 musical Cats, which last night celebrated the 40th anniversary of its premiere at the then New London Theatre (now itself renamed for Gillian Lynne, the choreographer whose work on the show ignited a revolution in global musical theatre, and accidentally created the West End’s first authentic dance-based musical).
As theatre next week starts to finally edge cautiously out of a full lockdown of over five full months, plus only very intermittent appearances in the nine months before that, the question arises will the audiences be there for it?
It turns out New York is moving even faster, with the state (and its neighbours, New Jersey and Connecticut), according to the New York Times on Monday, “lifting almost all their pandemic restrictions, paving the way for a return to fuller offices and restaurants, a more vibrant nightlife and a richer array of cultural and religious gatherings for the first time in a year”.
Do we have to become responsible for our own Covid safety? So, the man who (allegedly) said he didn’t mind if the bodies were piled high, he didn’t want to impose another lockdown — until he, in fact, did — is now embarking on another experiment in which that may indeed turn out to be outcome. On 21 June, all social distancing is to be scrapped in the UK.
Jenny Eastop, the multiple Offie-nominated director and producer for London-based Mercurius Theatre, will be playing a vital role in the transformation of the prestigious S&S Award into S&S Theatre Productions, dedicated to producing radical new musical theatre with partnerships between the UK and the USA.
Now we’ve seen Cameron Mackintosh here in London twice in the last year throw his original investors overboard on his two biggest hits: Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.
In London, there are murmurings of change on the horizon. Some of this may take a while to reach fruition, but three brand-new production companies have emerged in the last few weeks.
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The post April 27: The rotten stench of contempt for people, from the government to its people and from producers to their orchestras and audiences first appeared on Shenton Stage.
Jukebox musicals have become a staple of Broadway and the West End for a while now; familiarity, you could say, breeds contented audiences. As Mamma Mia! used to tag the show in their advertising: “You already know you’ve going to love it!”
On Monday, leaders of three American entertainment unions — SAG-AFRA, Actors’ Equity Association and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 released a joint statement condemning workplace harassment, bullying and violent behaviour.