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Resolving Hedda

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The character of Hedda Gabler is one of the most famous female roles in dramatic literature. She is headstrong, self-centered, casually dismissive of others, and really quite exasperating.

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Curve of Departure

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Rachel Bonds's latest play, Curve of Departure, was commissioned by Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory and is directed by Mike Donahue, as it was during its reading in the 2016 Pacific Playwrights Festival, an annual event at SCR.  Curve was selected for a world premiere staging on the company's smaller Julianne Argyros Stage.

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Declaration of Indulgence

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Marin Theatre Company has opened its 2017-18 season with the world premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's Thomas and Sally under the direction of Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis. The company has presented a wealth of talent in both the performance and technical aspects of this production, but its expansive episodic structure is weak in dramatic action that is emotionally engaging.

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Heartbreak Help

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For a little over a decade, from the late 80’s to the late 90’s, playwright Justin Tanner used the CAST Theatre in Hollywood as his comedy laboratory. Local audiences could watch Tanner’s development as the theatre produced a seemingly endless stream of long-running plays like Pot Mom, Zombie Attack! and Teen Girl. These productions also introduced memorable actors like Laurie Metcalf and Mark Ruffalo to Los Angeles.

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Carmen

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Carmen is safe choice to open an opera season. It’s popular with audiences, and divas of both the soprano and mezzo persuasion enjoy letting their hair down as Bizet’s eponymous heroine. But a safe choice doesn’t necessarily mean a routine production and hopes were high for the opening of LA Opera’s 2017 – 2018 Season.

 

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Billy Boy

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Nick Salamone is a playwright who likes to ask challenging and often uncomfortable questions about how we live our lives. In plays that range from the absurdist musical Moscow, a riff on Chekhov’s Three Sisters,  to the realistic mysteries of a family observed in The Sonneteer, Salamone is a keen and incisive chronicler of human relationships.

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The View Upstairs

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In 1973, a horrendous arson-set fire claimed the lives of 32 people in the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar. Until recently, the details were unknown by few beyond NOLA and LGBTQ historians. But the tragedy seems to be in the zeitgeist. Several books have detailed the fire and its aftermath, and there are two recent documentaries as well as two stage musical treatments. Interestingly enough, both musicals have been produced in Los Angeles within months of each other and on the same block.

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Fixed

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Boni B. Alvarez’s Fixed thrusts us immediately into a fantastic landscape where Filipino and Latino ladyboys in gossamer gowns strut their stuff on the catwalk and bust moves like Lady Gaga’s backup dancers. The is the world of underground drag balls, where young drag queens compete for trophies to bring glory to their “Houses.”

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The Red Shoes

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Powell and Pressburger’s film, The Red Shoes, was in inexplicably high rotation on a local TV station I grew up. When I first saw the film, I knew nothing about Diaghilev and Nijinsky, nor did I understand the bizarre veracity Massine brought to the narrative. Still, I was bewitched by the film, though I didn’t understand it. Was it the sparkling Technicolor, the gritty backstage scenes, the elegant domination of the impresario, the rapturously surreal Red Shoes ballet, the muted homoeroticism, or the tragic tale of the doomed ballerina unable to decide between love and art? Probably all of it.

 

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Marion Bridge

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Daniel MacIvor is a well-known Canadian actor/director/playwright. But, like most Canadian artists, he is virtually unknown in the United States. Some of his earlier solo pieces have been performed by small American companies. His two-character play, In On It was produced Off-Broadway where it won both GLAAD and Obie Awards. Full disclosure, I directed that play’s Los Angeles premiere.

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Page 10 of 27

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.