Category: London

Monster Mash: Art auctions start slow; Christo project in Colorado

November 8, 2011 |  7:30 am


Slow start: Sales were slow and low at Phillips de Pury & Co.’s auction of contemporary art, the first of this week’s big-money art auctions. (New York Times)

It's a wrap: The federal government approved a $50-million art project by the artist Christo over the Arkansas River in southern Colorado. (New York Times)

Fixing a hole: Center Theatre Group director Michael Ritchie is scouring New York for a replacement production for the postponed revival of "Funny Girl." (Los Angeles Times)

Statue toppled: Police and politicians were scratching their heads over why someone tried to topple a memorial bronze of Ronald Reagan in a Newport Beach park. (Los Angeles Times)

New frontier: The Cleveland Orchestra is exploring establishing a regular presence in Europe, especially in Paris. (Plain Dealer)

Bye to the Blues: Patrick Willingham, the former COO of the Blue Man Group's Blue Man Productions, is the new executive director of New York's Public Theater. (

Summer vacation: Some West End theatrical productions, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's, are considering going dark during next summer's Olympic Games in London. (Guardian)

Expanding horizon: The producers of "The Mountaintop," Katori Hall's play about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., may extend the hit play beyond January.  (

Concessions: In the midst of volatile contract negotiations with the struggling New York City Opera, union choristers and orchestra members are offering to work for free. (Wall Street Journal)

Also in the L.A. Times: Mark Swed reviews "Romeo and Juliet" at L.A. Opera and Lang Lang at Disney Hall; Charlotte Stoudt reviews "Blues for an Alabama Sky" at the Pasadena Playhouse.

-- Kelly Scott and Sherry Stern

Image: Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait; it sold for $4,002,500. Credit: Phillips de Pury & Co.

The Spotlight: Casey Stangl directs Antaeus' 'Peace in Our Time'

November 2, 2011 |  9:45 am

Nazis occupying the houses of Parliament. Churchill shot by an SS firing squad. Noel Coward’s alternative history of World War II, chillingly imagined in his 1946 drama “Peace in Our Time,” is now on stage at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood. The production by the Antaeus Company, says the play's director, Casey Stangl, offers us a chance to examine our ideas of patriotism. With a few musical numbers thrown in.

How was this new version of “Peace in Our Time” created?

Three years ago, then-artistic director Jeanie Hackett made a connection with the Coward Foundation to discuss bringing Coward to new audiences. The foundation gave Antaeus member Barry Creyton permission to do the adaptation. The original version is long-winded and has political references we don’t know. Barry cut it while retaining the wit and the characters. Now there’s a laser-beam focus. The other idea was to add songs.

We associate Noel Coward with dry martinis and witty banter. This play shows a different side of him.

I think of Coward as being so removed in his comedies; there’s always a certain barrier. Here, his heart’s on his sleeve. There’s a longing for heroism. How can individuals band together and make something change?

There are rumors Coward served in the British Secret Service.

Continue reading »

Monster Mash: Beyonce accused of dance plagiarism; Beatrice Gersh dies

October 11, 2011 |  7:33 am


Déjà vu: A Belgian choreographer has accused pop star Beyoncé of plagiarizing some of her dance moves in a music video for her single "Countdown." (The Guardian)

Passing: Beatrice Gersh, the art collector and L.A. arts patron, has died at 87. (Los Angeles Times)

Upper crust: A recent study shows that arts funding mainly benefits wealthy, white audiences. (Associated Press, via Washington Post)

Good news: The Metropolitan Opera in New York says its donations for the recent fiscal year were a record-breaking 50% higher than the year before. (New York Times)

Getting ready: A Brooklyn artist is continuing with her plan to give birth in an art gallery. (Los Angeles Times)

Intimate appraisal: A look back at the life of Spalding Gray, via his journals. (New York Times)

Crossing the pond: Actress America Ferrera is joining the London cast of the musical "Chicago." (Entertainment Weekly)

Back for more: Filmmaker Terry Gilliam is planning to mount a second opera following his operatic debut earlier this year with Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust." (The Independent)

Together at last: Two halves of an ancient Greek statue have been reunited and are on display in a Turkish museum. (NPR)

Sidelined: Mariusz Kwiecien, the star of the Metropolitan Opera's upcoming production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni," has hurt his back during a rehearsal. (New York Times)

For sale: A bronze sculpture of a young ballerina by Edgar Degas is set to hit the auction block in November. (Associated Press, via Washington Post)

Portable pop art: A new mobile application allows users to browse the art and information on the career of Andy Warhol. (New York Times)

Also in the L.A. Times: Art critic Christopher Knight reviews "Now Dig This!" at the UCLA Hammer Museum; L.A. architect Anthony Lumsden has died at 83; music critic Mark Swed reviews violinist Tim Fain at the Broad Stage.

-- David Ng

Photo: Beyoncé. Credit: Kena Betancur / Reuters

Nicholas Hytner leads the National Theatre into the future

October 5, 2011 | 11:19 am

Nicholas hytner 
Nicholas Hytner, the director of Britain’s National Theatre, has been on a roll, producing hits (“The History Boys,” “War Horse,” “The Seafarer”) at home and exporting them to the U.S., where they’ve been given the royal treatment.

National Theater Live, one of the boldest initiatives of his tenure, continues to expand the National’s brand without diluting its product. Look what’s being broadcast next: Arnold Wesker’s “The Kitchen.” Not exactly big box-office bait, but something serious theatergoers won’t want to miss.   
Read my profile of Nicoloas Hytner in Wednesday’s Calendar.


Culture Watch: NT Live's broadcast of 'One Man, Two Guvnors'

Critic's Notebook: The stark relevance of NT Live's 'Frankenstein'

Critic's notebook: National Theatre's NT Live season screens big

-- Charles McNulty\charlesmcnulty

Photo: Nicholas Hytner in rehearsal. Credit: Ivan Kyncl

Fall arts picks: Theater

September 16, 2011 |  8:30 am

Ghetto klwon 
Big spectacles are awaiting us this fall — “Bring It On: The Musical” at the Ahmanson Theatre, “Jesus Christ Superstar” at La Jolla Playhouse. But I’m looking forward to some smaller-scale works that seek to make up in offbeat charm what they may lack in expensive special effects.

Among these are two musicals that are carving their own quirky paths — “I’ve Never Been So Happy,” a work by the genre-busting Rude Mechs (“The Method Gun”), and “Hey, Morgan!,” the Black Dahlia’s foray into indie musical comedy.

David Henry Hwang’s comedy “Chinglish,” opening on Broadway in October, stands out amid the new dramatic offerings this season. And closer to home there’s John Leguizamo’s “Ghetto Klown” — a solo effort that will no doubt populate the stage as though it were a massive extravaganza.

Continue reading »

Culture Watch: NT Live's broadcast of 'One Man, Two Guvnors'

September 14, 2011 | 10:00 am

National Theatre Live, “One Man, Two Guvnors”
Theaters worldwide

The laughter that has been ringing out of the National Theatre all summer long can be traced to London’s biggest hit of the moment,  “One Man, Two Guvnors,” Richard Bean’s comic confection based on Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters.”
Goldoni’s classic Italian comedy has been given a British humor makeover, complete with mischievous ditties by Grant Olding. But the real secret of the production is the clown jewel performance of James Corden, who plays a portly, ravenously hungry underling slyly working for two bosses he’s desperate to keep apart. 

When I caught the production in June, grown men were reduced to sobbing puddles of hilarity. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Benny Hill style myself, but this madcap caper, involving mistaken identity, bumbling mobsters and all sorts of shameless shenanigans revolving around food, tickled me to no end.
Southern California theater lovers will have the opportunity to catch a broadcast on Thursday at participating venues, which include the Downtown Independent and Hollywood’s Mann Chinese 6. A schedule, with encore showing information, can be found at


Critic's Notebook: London stage revivals this summer: Breathing new life into old plays

More Culture Watch picks from Times writers

--Charles McNulty\charlesmcnulty

Photo: James Corden in "One Man, Two Guvnors." Credit: Johan Persson


Monster Mash: Russell Crowe joins Hugh Jackman in 'Les Miz' film

September 9, 2011 |  8:15 am

Russell Crowe
Manly musical
: Russell Crowe has signed on to the big-screen adaptation of "Les Miserables," joining Hugh Jackman in the Tom Hooper film. Jackman is to play the hero, Jean Valjean, with Crowe as his nemesis, Inspector Javert. (Entertainment Weekly)

Lights out: A blackout shut down San Diego's cultural life as theaters, music venues and museums went dark. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Surprise: A giant mural by street artists Risk and Retna for Heal the Bay was unveiled in a residential Santa Monica neighborhood. (Curbed L.A.)

Bigger surprise: The city of Santa Monica levied a $5,000-a-day fine against the mural. (L.A. Taco)

Vote now: Playwrights Neil LaBute and Theresa Rebeck are to write a play -– live -– on a plot picked by readers. (Los Angeles Times)

Big move: The Center Theatre Group's production of "Clybourne Park" at the Mark Taper Forum is looking to move to Broadway in the spring. (New York Times)

New work: The Los Angeles Opera has commissioned "Jonah and the Whale," an opera by composer Alexander Prior and playwright Velina Hasu Houston. (LA Opera)

Please give: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is planning a gala, featuring Clint Eastwood and John Baldessari, to raise money for the museum's film program. (Los Angeles Times)

And give: In New York, the Museum of Modern Art's film-program fundraiser is to honor Pedro Almodovar, with Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. (Variety)

And give: The UCLA Hammer Museum's Gala in the Garden is to feature Bruno Mars, Neil Patrick Harris and Matt Groening. (Hammer)

Architectural honor: Design Miami awarded its Designer of the Year honors to David Adjaye, who is designing the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American Culture and History on the National Mall.  (Huffington Post)

Tribute: Broadway stars are marking 9/11 by joining tonight to sing Kander & Ebb's "New York, New York." (Broadway League)

Ownership dispute: The Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science in Florida is caught in the middle of an investigation concerning a painting believed to have been stolen by Nazis. (USA Today)

Whew: Workers canceled strike plans at La Scala, allowing a performance of Beethoven’s "Fidelio" to go on as scheduled. (New York Times)

Crossing the pond?: The National Theatre's "One Man, Two Guvnors,"  directed by Nicholas Hytner, may transfer to Broadway. (New York Post)

Cheaper than a plane ticket: But you can see "One Man, Two Guvnors" in a movie theater near you. (National Theatre)

Singing alter ego: Sorry, but even as an evil dolphin, Neil Patrick Harris is charming. (Us)

And in the Los Angeles Times: Charles McNulty reviews "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" at the Geffen Playhouse, and David C. Nichols reviews "Milk Like Sugar" at the LaJolla Playhouse.

-- Lisa Fung

Photo: Russell Crowe. Credit: Graham Denholm / Getty Images

Monster Mash: Kristin Chenoweth goes country; Taper season lineup

September 8, 2011 |  8:00 am

Kristen Chenoweth has a new country album

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Changing tunes: Broadway favorite Kristin Chenoweth goes country in her upcoming album. (The Boot)

Something old, something new: The new season at the Mark Taper Forum includes Pulitzer Prize-winning “Clybourne Park” and some familiar titles from Broadway (Los Angeles Times)

Let the screaming begin: Nick Jonas, the youngest singing Jonas Brother, will join the Broadway cast of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” (Playbill)

Money woes: Funding issues force delay in Tate Modern expansion. (BBC)

Reason to dance: Trisha Brown wins the $300,000 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award for choreography. (New York Times)

Looking for work: Western opera singers head to China to find work. (NPR)

History lost: Among the casualties of the Tottenham riots: Victorian architecture. (Guardian)

The newly elite: The Kennedy Center Honors names Yo-Yo Ma, Barbara Cook, Meryl Streep, Sonny Rollins and Neil Diamond as this year’s recipients. (Los Angeles Times)

Real or fake?: Pssst, wanna buy a Banksy? (ArtNet via Vulture)

Pause: London’s Comedy Theatre will be renamed in honor of playwright Harold Pinter. (BBC)

Art as architecture: Artist Anish Kapoor is designing a mobile concert hall in Japan in collaboration with Japanese architect Arata Isozaki (BBC)

Treasure trove: The Library of Congress will receive Broadway and personal memorabilia from actor John Raitt. (Los Angeles Times)

Changing venues: Ann Wareham, formerly of Center Theatre Group, has been named new artistic director of the Laguna Playhouse. (Los Angeles Times)

Sneak preview: An early look at Brad Cloepfil’s Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, which opens Nov. 18. (Art Info)

And in the Los Angeles Times: Josef Woodard reviews Itzhak Perlman at the Hollywood Bowl. 

For the record, Sept. 8, 8:18 a.m.: A previous version of this post misspelled Kristin Chenoweth's first name as Kristen.

--Lisa Fung

Photo: Kristin Chenoweth. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times

Monster Mash: London riots impact theaters; Ai Weiwei lashes out

August 10, 2011 |  7:39 am

  London riots

Civil unrest: Some London theaters have canceled shows due to the ongoing riots, but none yet in the West End. (The Stage UK)

Not quiet anymore: Artist Ai Weiwei has lashed out against the Chinese government on Twitter, stating that colleagues who were incarcerated have suffered mental abuse and physical torture. (Telegraph)

Pricey: Cirque du Soleil's "Iris" at the Kodak Theatre is charging some of the highest ticket prices ever for an L.A. theatrical event. (Los Angeles Times)

Disappointing: The Broadway musical "Catch Me If You Can," based on the movie, will close on Sept. 4 having played 170 regular performances. A national tour will begin in 2012. (

Cancellation: Robert Crumb has pulled out of an appearance at the Graphic arts festival in Sydney, Australia, later this month after being described as a "self-confessed sex pervert" in a newspaper. (The Australian)

Labor trouble: The Montreal Symphony, headed by artistic director Kent Nagano, is mired in union negotiations. (CBC)

For sale: Artwork that belonged to actor Tony Curtis is heading for auction. (Associated Press)

Two-hander: Sigourney Weaver and Tom Wopat will perform in a New York remounting of Anne Nelson's play "The Guys" to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Theatermania)

Remembrance: Chicago's Field Museum will mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a new exhibit. (Associated Press, via Chicago Tribune)

Mistrust: The musicians union of the bankrupt Philadelphia Orchestra isn't buying management's latest statements about the orchestra's endowment. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Connect the dots: Damien Hirst will exhibit his dot paintings simultaneously at Gagosian Gallery locations around the world. (L Magazine)

Bucking the trend: The Seattle Opera has announced a balanced budget for the 2010-11 season. (Seattle Times)

Legendary restaurant: Art and other memorabilia from the recently closed Elaine's in New York will go up for auction. (New York Times)

Immortalized: An artist has created conjoined nude sculptures of pop stars Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. (TMZ)

Also in the L.A. Times: An interview with "Saturday Night Live" alum Ana Gasteyer about her new cabaret show in Hollywood.

-- David Ng

Photo: Police in London detain suspected rioters. Credit: Kerim Okten / EPA

Harry Potter: A breezy, theatrical telling of the saga [Video]

August 2, 2011 | 11:19 am

The seven volumes in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series contain a total of approximately 4,000 pages of adventures and sorcery. Though few youngsters seem to have difficulty getting through the lengthy novels, a pair of actors in Britain have put together a stage show titled "Potted Potter" that breezes through all seven books in 70 minutes.

"Potted Potter" -- which is carefully billed as an unauthorized "Harry experience" -- stars Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner, who play all the roles in the children's saga. This month the production will play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland before moving to London's Garrick Theatre and touring England.

You can read an interview with the actors in the Guardian and watch a clip from the show in the video above.


Harry Potter art show pays tribute to the wizarding world

Five colleges whose architecture echoes Harry Potter's Hogwarts

Daniel Radcliffe takes break from Broadway to promote 'Harry Potter' movie

-- David Ng



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