The 2004 Drama Desk Awards

New York theater's finest actors, directors, musicians and designers gathered May 16, 2004 for the 49th Annual Drama Desk Awards, which honored productions in the 2003-2004 theater season. The show was held at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School at Lincoln Center.

Practical Aesthetics & Just Say Your Lines

The first major revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, at New Jersey's McCarter Theater (February 15-March 5, 2000), brings together a praised director-exponent of the Mamet style, and one of the most impressive all-male casts to ever appear at the high-profile, Tony award winning theater. For Scott Zigler, working with a top-notch ensemble is the key to the success of a play like Glengarry.

Susan Dworkin Creates the Musical of Candy

It wasn't until The Book of Candy" that anything I had written screamed back at me to be something else and more," says Susan Dworkin, who has adapted her own novel for the musical theater. In light of what is going on in the world, it is now definitely something more.

Dreams Come True

Linda Eder's career is full of contrasts. She's a farm girl from Minnesota who also loves opera. A soprano in her church choir, she ran off with a teenaged boyfriend to sing Top 40 duets in nightclubs. A statuesque Protestant beauty from the mid-west, Eder later fell in love with a shorter Jewish man with roots on the East Coast who was recently separated and the father of a one-year-old. He's gregarious; she's shy. He's a sports fan; she loves animals.

Great Scots

Recently, My husband and I had the pleasure of attending The Edinburgh Festival, an international party where the distinctive sounds of bagpipes jauntily unfurl in the air, reminding us at all times that we are in Scotland. During the last three weeks of August (and until Sept 4, 1999), this historic city is joyously bursting with all forms of theater, music, dance, poetry, comedy and tragedy played out in the beautiful traditional red and gold theaters with names like the Royal Lyceum, King's Theatre, Usher Hall, The Queen's Theatre, and The Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

The Edinburgh Festival

The first thing to remember about the Edinburgh Festival is that it's a misnomer. The annual August arts jamboree in Scotland's capital city should really be called the Edinburgh Festivals, if only because eight festivals take place concurrently. The prestigious one is the International Festival, which, being heavily subsidized by public and private donors, concentrates on the "high" arts -- symphonies, operas, dance, theater, chamber music and solo recitals, presented by reputable companies and performers. It was launched in 1947 as an impetus for peace and unity in Europe after WW II.

Hard Times for EgoPo in the Big Easy

Adrift in more ways than one, the New Orleans-based theater company called EgoPo is planning a permanent relocation to Philadelphia.

Michael Emerson's Bold Move

With the talent, versatility, excitement and strength he brings to his roles on stage and on TV, the part of the perennially excited and infatuated George Tesman, in the acclaimed Broadway production of Hedda Gabler, is perfect for Michael Emerson.

Michael Emerson's Wilde Move

Like everything I've gotten in this town, said star-of-the moment Michael Emerson, "I got this job on my own." He didn't have much choice. Hard as he had tried for 13 years, Emerson, now acclaimed by critics near and far for his portrayal of the title role in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (Minetta Lane Theater), couldn't get an agent. Now, they're calling him!

English Connections

The opening of the Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon prompted my recent trip to Britain, but the journey branched into an exploration of more theatrical connections, from David Garrick to Basil Rathbone and Sherlock Holmes, from Ivor Novello to the latest productions on the London stage. As each experience intertwined with the next, I found some surprising links.

Eve Ensler Moves Up

Eve Ensler's newest play, The Good Body, opens on December 6, 2005 at the Majestic Theater as part of the Dallas Summer Musicals Broadway Contemporary Series. Ensler, who caused a minor sensation with The Vagina Monologues, a non-linear series of stories told to Ensler by women about their relationships with, to, and about their genitals, launched her V-Day movement worldwide to stop violence against women.

Scott Alan Evans Directs With Great

TACT, The Actors Company Theater, is a group of known professionals - including Kevin Conway, John Cunningham, Paul Hecht, Larry Keith, as well as celebrated guest stars -- stripping down the theatrical experience to its essence: the words, the actors, and the audience. The company was formed in 1992 by actors who wanted to perform without the stringent demands of Broadway. The first production was Twelfth Night. It soon became obvious that, though well-received, their plays were having the same problem that too often plagues Broadway -- lack of money.

Morgan Fairchild: Texas Graduate

When "The Graduate" opened in 1967, the film, which won Oscars for director Mike Nicholas and actors Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross, contained "shocking" scenes of 22 year-old Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) having an affair with his boss' wife, the much older Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Kind of ho-hum today when we're bombarded with frequent updates of the lurid details of a former 34 year-old schoolteacher and her affair with her 12 year-old student.

Fantastick!

The world's longest-running musical is back. And The Fantasticks is a show that all but the most hardened soul will love.

The story is schmaltzy -- the ageless one about boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl fall out of love, boy and girl fall back in love. Yet, for over four decades Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's musical, by far their best known, has entralled millions in over 12,000 productions worldwide. Not bad for a show that was considered quite avant garde for its time.

The Miracle On Sullivan Street

August 1959. Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, who had been writing this "unique new entertainment" for a decade, and director Word Baker couldn't believe that just when they needed it most, the gods of comedy and tragedy were sending them an angel.

Tovah Meets Golda

Tovah Feldshuh has made a career playing heroic women. She's portrayed Tallulah Bankhead, Sarah Bernhardt, Stella Adler, Sophie Tucker, Katharine Hepburn, Diana Vreeland (Full Gallop), Miss Jean Brodie, three queens of Henry VIII, (in a TV mini-series) a Czech freedom fighter, (in an Off-Broadway play) nine Jews who age from birth to death, a woman masquerading as a man, and (in a Broadway musical) a Brazilian bombshell fielding two husbands.

The Fantasticks On Film

How many theater fans knew that a film version of the longest-running musical in stage history existed? Not many, which came as no surprise to Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, composers of the granddaddy of all tuners, The Fantasticks, which began its 41st year at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in May. "It's been a well-guarded secret," noted Schmidt.

A Format For Fermat

New York - The world of mathematics and science has found a welcoming host in Broadway. Witness the success of Copenhagen, and Proof. Now, it's composing team Joshua Rosenblum and Joanne Sydney Lessner's turn to get on the arithmetical track. Interestingly, they say "We actually had titled our show, `Proof,' before we even heard of the Manhattan Theater Club's Proof! Their own mathematics intoxicated musical, Fermat's Last Tango, has just opened Off Broadway at the York Theater.

FIT for a King's Bath House

The Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT) returned to the Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake in Dallas for its fifth season, July 10-August 2, 2003. FIT is a showcase for many of Dallas' smaller theaters, who put on a series of one-act plays of one hour or less. This year, 12 area theaters brought a cultural smorgasbord to Dallas' theater buffs, co-produced by David Fisher, manager of the Bath House (so named because it was originally a bath house for swimmers at White Rock Lake's beach in the 1940s and 50s) and Brenda and Michael Galgan, producers of Beardsley Living Theater.

Finn de Siecle

"All I'm asking for is a tune,
Something itchy to tap my toes to...
I'll tell you why I love to make music:
I feel like I belong."

Minds and Ideals

The first time I saw Robyn (Baker) Flatt, founding artistic director of Dallas Children's Theater, she was onstage in the role of Dewey Dell in a production of Journey To Jefferson, an adaptation of the William Faulkner novel, "As I Lay Dying." The play was produced in 1964 at Dallas Theater Center and directed by Flatt's father, Paul Baker, who founded the DTC in 1959. Flatt also co-designed the lighting for that production with DTC company member, Randy Moore, now a long-time company member of Denver Center Theater Company.

Flower Blossoms Anew

David Henry Hwang's updated version of Flower Drum Song inaugurated its national tour on September 2, 2003 at the Music Hall at Fair Park as the closing production of the Dallas Summer Musicals. In a pre-show conversation with Hwang, who attended the first Sunday matinee, he said, "I saw the potential for this show that had been on the shelf for 45 years. I approached Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, and said I wanted to make a musical I hoped would reflect the values of the original creators but be more relevant to a modern audience.

The Light from the Forrest

Philadelphia's other celebrity patriot also has a significant anniversary in 2006 -- in addition to Ben Franklin. On March 9, the City of Philadelphia and area theaters commemorated the 200th birthday of Edwin Forrest, America 's first famous actor (1806-1872).

Wild Life, Long Legacy

Edwin Forrest, the 19th-century Philadelphia actor, was arguably the first American superstar. Critics praised him, politicians wanted him to run with them and working men fought -- even died -- defending him.

No Fools

Along with a small number of theater critics and reporters, I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon in a Manhattan rehearsal studio with the English actor Alan Bates -- yes, the very same revered star of stage and screen, who is presently one of the dazzling actors featured in the film, "Gosford Park." Also in attendance was the lovely Texas-born actress, Juilliard graduate Enid Graham, who appeared in Hartford Stage's Enchanted April and who won a Tony Award nomination for her role in Honour. They are a part of the cast of 13, which includes Frank Langella and Mr

Nights of the Hunter

How many Broadway musicals have the audience going wild as soon as the curtain rises? And it doesn't stop there. At the revival of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman's Little Shop of Horrors, there are standing ovations before the actors even take their bows and screaming fans at the stage door.

Perfectly Frank

Flopping on Broadway doesn't necessarily keep a musician from having a successful and interesting career. A case in point is conductor Sherman Frank. He is not, by any means, a failure. But he cheerfully admits that his big attempts on Broadway were flops.

Maybe his leaving the Great White Way led to more varied adventures. Also, as we will see in a moment, Frank's brief Broadway career included contact with one of the nastiest controversies in theater history.

Freedom's Long Road

South Broad Street in Philadelphia, also known as the Avenue of the Arts, at one in the morning on October 11, 2005. Theater folks, fresh from the annual Barrymore Awards show, are partying in the Great Hall at the University of the Arts. A solitary figure leaves the party and treks up the quiet street. One block, then two, heading north past the Kimmel Center, the Wilma and the Merriam Theaters. A threesome on their way from the gala talk loudly to each other but they ignore the middle-aged man who walks alone.

Sorrows And Rejoicings

Athol Fugard has been called "the conscience of South Africa." But he would rather refer to himself as "a harmless old liberal fossil." Regardless of which is truer, Fugard's art has been so passionately motivated by the history and the turbulence of South Africa under apartheid, one has to wonder what new pockets of unrest and social turmoil will next inspire the internationally renowned, 69-year-old playwright.

A Gem Of A Conductor

He's the dean of Broadway conductors.

Paul Gemignani received a special Tony Award on June 3, 2001, for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. And that isn't his first statuette. The Los Angeles Drama Critics gave him an award in 1994 that has the citation "in recognition of consistently outstanding musical direction and commitment to the theater."

She's Still Here

Once the toast of Broadway and the West End, Dolores Gray is in retirement once again. This time, unlike previous ones, it is a forced retirement. However, her name has suddenly popped back into the theatrical venues with the release on CD by Decca Broadway of the original cast album of her summer-of-1951 smash, Two on the Aisle, also starring the legendary Bert Lahr.

Tuna Returns

Those Tuna guys are back at the Majestic Theater, as Dallas Summer Musicals hosts the touring production of A Tuna Christmas, November 4-9, 2003, starring two of its co-creators, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears. As often as I've seen the Tuna shows, I never miss the opportunity to see them again -- and again.

A Life Remembered As He Would Have Wanted

Arriving at the memorial for writer, lyricist and performer Adolph Green at the Shubert Theater on Tuesday morning, December 3, 2002, you were treated to an usual sight: Hundreds huddling in 19 degree weather, battling winds with a Wind Chill Factor of 4, in a V.I.P. line that snaked down to and around 45th Street. It was probably the first time in theatrical history that stars and Who's Who stood in a line.

Joel Grey In Chicago

Joel Grey is back. Wilkommen! He's starring in Kander and Ebb's Chicago, one of Broadway's biggest hits in decades and one of its most acclaimed revivals, and "Mr. Cellophane" is his song. But Grey's presence -- in the role of Amos, Roxie Hart's wronged husband -- isn't meant to be a dominant force. He's supposed to be there without being there, do this showy number, and not be there again. Amos is at the other end of the spectrum from Grey's most famous role, the amoral emcee in Cabaret, for which he won a Tony Award, plus an Oscar for the movie adaptation.

Six Degrees of Nine and Chicago

The family that plays together -- or, at least, the family where the wife plays across the street from her husband -- stays together.
That was Melanie Griffith's thinking after hubby Antonio Banderas' Broadway debut as ladies' man Guido Contini in Nine at the O'Neill Theater on 49th Street. Instead of enduring a bi-coastal marriage, Griffith made her Broadway debut, too, as man-killer Roxie Hart in Chicago, literally across the street at the Ambassador.

From Floyd To Florence, With Saturn In Between

Adam Guettel stands on the brink of a great career. Maybe two. He's certain to be an important composer for the American musical theater. And possibly he could be a star performer, attracting audiences with his voice and his stage presence. He's slender and handsome, sings gorgeously and plays at least four instruments.

Jim Dale: Kidding Aside

Jim Dale is jumping for joy. Literally.  He rushes from the single digit temperatures and arctic winds of the New 42nd Street into the warmth of West Bank Cafe and shakes himself down. It may be downright frigid outside, but Dale is filled with the warmth of the accolades he and his cast in Trevor Griffiths' Comedians are receiving. The New Group's revival, directed by Scott Elliott, has many critics touting the ensemble as the best so far this season.

Jennifer Hudson & Beyonce Knowles Break Out in Dreamgirls

Twenty-five years after first bringing audiences to their feet, Dreamgirls finally arrives onscreen. David Geffen, who controlled the rights, was very protective and wanted to make sure he put the show in the right adapter's hand. He did. It was a long wait, but well worth it. "Dreamgirls" is a dream!

Flatt Raised High

Robyn Baker Flatt, founding artistic director of Dallas Children's Theater in 1984, was inducted into the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Theater on April 22, 2007 in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

This was an honor also bestowed in 1996 upon her father, Paul Baker, founding artistic Director in 1959 of Dallas Theater Center. Ms. Flatt's award marks only the second time in the 42-year history of the organization that members of two generations of the same family have received this honor.

Grand Banner Season for Granville-Barker

Can you imagine that there was a playwright George Bernard Shaw envied? Better still, that he would admit there was a playwright he envied?
Shaw was so impressed with the talent – and success – of post-Victorian era leading light Harley Granville-Barker that he actually wrote Misalliance as an answer play to Barker's then hit, The Madras House, about family, courtship, marriage, marital separation, commerce, greed, sexual politics and harassment.

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