Category: Off-Broadway

Monster Mash: James Franco looks likely for Broadway; warning on looted Egyptian artifacts

February 3, 2011 |  7:51 am

Franco Twice the star power: James Franco is looking likely to star alongside Nicole Kidman in the fall Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth." (BroadwayWorld)

Crisis situation: International museums are on high alert for looted artifacts from Egypt. (Reuters, via Art Daily)

Mona Luigi? A group of Italian researchers claims that the model for Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" might have actually been a man. (Agence France-Presse)

Money's flowing: Despite its recent censorship controversy, the Smithsonian Institution saw a banner year in terms of fundraising for fiscal 2010. (Washington Post)

International dispute: A legal case involving Jewish documents held by Russia has turned into a diplomatic feud over loans of artworks to American museums. (New York Times)

Can't catch a break: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra -- already suffering from a protracted musicians strike -- has a new problem on its hands after creditors called in a $54-million loan that the symphony cannot pay. (Detroit News)

Abrupt departure: Andrew D. Hamingson has resigned as executive director of the Public Theater in New York after only 2-1/2 years. (New York Times)

Pop artifacts: Items that belonged to the late actress Farrah Fawcett are headed to the Smithsonian. (Los Angeles Times)

World premiere: Sanaa Lathan will play the title character in the new play "By the Way, Meet Vera Stark" by Lynn Nottage at Second Stage in New York, starting April 6. (Playbill)

Windfall: The Virginia Opera has received a $500,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Also in the L.A. Times: Music critic Mark Swed on the late composer Milton Babbitt; Orange County's Soka University is planning a fall debut of its new concert hall.

-- David Ng

Photo: James Franco arrives at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday in L.A. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Furious Theatre Company in Pasadena teaming up with New York's Naked Angels

January 24, 2011 | 12:45 pm

Damaso The Furious Theatre Company in Pasadena is partnering with the off-Broadway company Naked Angels for a series of monthly readings of new work for stage and screen. The bicoastal effort -- titled "Mondays LA: Naked and Furious" -- is scheduled take place on the last Monday of each month at St. Nick's Pub, 8450 W. 3rd St., near West Hollywood.

Naked Angels is one of the leading off-Broadway theater companies in New York. Its recent productions include "Next Fall," which transferred to Broadway in 2010, and "This Wide Night," which starred Edie Falco and Alison Pill.

"Mondays LA" is modeled after Naked Angels' New York-based reading series called 3-Step Formula, 1st Mondays. The West Coast version will kick off on Jan. 31 at at 8 p.m., with a second installment scheduled for Feb. 28 at the same time and location.

The readings will be free of charge for audiences and will consist of a play, screenplay or TV pilot that has never before been performed live. 

The first installment will be a reading of "The Seduction Community," a new play by Greg Keller and directed by Andy Donald, the incoming artistic director of Naked Angels. The second installment will be a reading of "Shatter Street," a screenplay by Matt Pelfrey and directed by Dámaso Rodriguez, co-artistic director of the Furious. 

The Furious is a resident company at the Pasadena Playhouse's second stage, the 75-seat Carrie Hamilton Theatre.


Theater review: "Men of Tortuga" by Furious Theatre Company

Review: "Hunter Gatherers" at Furious Theatre Company

Review: Furious Theatre Company's "The Night Before Christmas"

-- David Ng

Photo: Dámaso Rodriguez, co-artistic director of the Furious Theatre Company. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times


Carey Mulligan to star in off-Broadway adaptation of Ingmar Bergman movie

January 13, 2011 | 12:53 pm

Mulligan Maybe it was the generally underwhelming reception of her last two movies — "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "Never Let Me Go" — that has actress/hot-young-thing Carey Mulligan pining for more theater work.

The 25-year-old Brit is set to return to the New York stage in an off-Broadway production of "Through a Glass Darkly," based on the 1961 Ingmar Bergman movie of the same name. The drama will be produced by the Atlantic Theater Company but will run at the New York Theatre Workshop in the East Village because the Atlantic's mainstage is undergoing renovations.

"Through a Glass Darkly" is scheduled to open June 6 at NYTW and will run through July 3. (Preview performances will start May 13.) David Leveaux will direct the production.

Bergman's movie, which starred Harriet Andersson and Max von Sydow, tells the story of a young woman's return home after a stay in a mental hospital. The movie won the Oscar for foreign language film in 1962.

Playwright Jenny Worton has adapted the movie for the stage. Her stage version debuted at the Almeida Theatre in London on June 16, with actress Ruth Wilson. The play originally was to be penned by Andrew Upton, the co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, but he apparently left the project before its world premiere.

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Monster Mash: 'Spider-Man' musical scores at Broadway box office; 'American Idiot,' the movie?

January 11, 2011 |  7:27 am


Raking it in: "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" was the Broadway box-office champion last week, dethroning "Wicked" from a top slot it had largely owned since 2004. (Wall Street Journal)

Rocking on: A film version of the Broadway musical "American Idiot" is in the works. (New York Times)

Theater of war: The Tricycle Theatre is teaming up with the Pentagon to perform its production "The Great Game: Afghanistan" at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall. (Broadway World)

Art in motion: Artists Chuck Close and Kehinde Wiley unveil work that will be displayed on top of New York taxi cabs. (New York Daily News)

Axed: A Massachusetts museum dedicated to Lizzie Borden is being shut down due to financial pressure. (Boston Herald)

Creative team: Playwright Enda Walsh and director John Tiffany are joining the Broadway production of "Once," which is expected to open in the fall. (Playbill)

Flop: The recent off-Broadway revival of "Dracula" has closed after just seven regular performances. (Theatermania)

Espionage: "Page Eight," a new spy movie with an original screenplay by playwright David Hare, will star Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes and Judy Davis. (BBC News)

Commemoration: The Manitoba Museum has put out a call for stories and artifacts related to the sinking of the Titanic. (Winnipeg Free Press)

And in the L.A. Times: A detailed look at the Cancun Underwater Museum; a new radio documentary, "The Sleeping Fool," ventures into the minds of museum security guards.

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Credit: Jacob Cohl / Associated Press

Monster Mash: Protesters decry Smithsonian's removal of controversial video; new twist in Ansel Adams case

December 20, 2010 |  8:24 am


Taking to the streets: Several hundred people gathered Sunday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to protest the recent decision by the Smithsonian Institution to remove David Wojnarowicz's video "A Fire in My Belly." (Wall Street Journal)

Winner: In Britain, musician Matt Cardle has won the Christmas No. 1 spot for "When We Collide," beating Cage Against The Machine's "4'33"." (The Guardian)

New twist: The man who claims to possess a trove of Ansel Adams negatives has counter-sued the group that disputes the authenticity of his claim. (New York Times)

Purchasing power: The Louvre Museum in Paris said it can now buy a 16th century German painting by Lucas Cranach the elder after thousands of people went online to donate money. (Agence France-Presse)

Ruling: A British panel has declared that a painting by Peter Paul Rubens will stay in England despite an attempt by the family of its original owner -- who sold it while fleeing the Nazis -- to recover the work. (The Guardian)

Screen to stage: New York's Playwrights Horizons has commissioned a musical version of the 2002 movie "Far From Heaven" from "Grey Gardens" songwriters Scott Frankel and Michael Korie and playwright Richard Greenberg. (Playbill)

Masterpieces: Police in Spain say they have recovered artworks -- including pieces by Picasso, Colombian artist Fernando Botero and Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida -- that were stolen from a Madrid warehouse. (Associated Press, via Washington Post)

In space, no one can hear you scream: The wife of artist H.R. Giger has said that he is "on board" to work with Ridley Scott on the new prequel "Alien" movie. (The Guardian)

New Year's concert: The World Orchestra for Peace, under the baton of conductor Valery Gergiev, will perform at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on Jan 4. (Gulf News)

And in the L.A. Times: A look back at the year in the arts from Times art critic Christopher Knight, music critic Mark Swed, theater critic Charles McNulty and architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne.

-- David Ng

Photo: Protesters converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on Sunday to support the work of the late artist David Wojnarowicz, whose video "A Fire in My Belly" was removed by the Smithsonian. Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Monster Mash: Director named for Eli Broad's Michigan museum; Michael Jackson photos sell

December 15, 2010 |  8:40 am

Broads Appointment: Michigan State University has named Michael Rush as the director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, scheduled to open in 2012. Rush formerly headed the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. (Lansing State Journal)

Pop star: A collection of photo portraits of Michael Jackson, taken in Paris in 1999 in part to illustrate the singer's 2001 album, "Invincible, have sold at auction. (Agence France-Presse)

Speaking out: Street artist Blu says he believes that the decision by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to remove his antiwar mural amounts to censorship. Artist Shepard Fairey also weighs in. (Los Angeles Times)

Applying pressure: The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is the latest art institution to say that it will screen "A Fire in My Belly" by David Wojnarowicz, the video artwork that was recently censored by the Smithsonian. (Minneapolis Star- Tribune)

Ensemble effort: The cast has been announced for the New York premiere of Tony Kushner's "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism," which is set to open May 5 at the Public Theater. (Playbill)

Intimate view: Vincent Van Gogh's "The Ox-Cart" has been placed under X-rays to better understand the artist and his technique. (The Oregonian)

Dismissed: Actress Thora Birch has been fired from an off-Broadway revival of "Dracula" just before the start of preview performances. (New York Times)

Stepping down: Howard Sherman, the executive director of the American Theater Wing, will be leaving his post at the end of June after an eight-year tenure. (Wall Street Journal)

Thinking outside the box: A young Beijing architect has built an egg-shaped sidewalk house to escape the city's soaring rents. (USA Today)

Snazzy: The Vienna Philharmonic introduces new concert attire for its female musicians. (Associated Press via ABC News)

Also in the L.A. Times: Art critic Christopher Knight assesses MOCA's controversial decision to remove an antiwar mural; "Black Swan," the ballet-themed movie starring Natalie Portman, is nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, including best dramatic picture.

-- David Ng

Photo: Eli and Edythe Broad. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for MOCA

Monster Mash: Smithsonian removes controversial Jesus video; Thomas Kinkade faces personal problems

December 1, 2010 |  8:08 am

Fire_in_my_belly Controversial: The National Portrait Gallery in Washington has removed a video work depicting a crucified Jesus covered in ants that certain politicians had criticized. The video was part of the Smithsonian's "Hide/Seek" exhibition. (The Washington Post)

Populist appeal: Thomas Kinkade, the "painter of light," is going through difficult financial and personal times. (NPR)

Spidey senses: Producers of Broadway's "Spider-Man" have reported $1 million in ticket sales so far. (NY1)

Tough sells: "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" and "The Scottsboro Boys" will be closing earlier than expected on Broadway, on Jan. 2 and Dec. 12, respectively. (Showbiz411 and New York Times)

Creationist-land? The organization behind the Creation Museum in Kentucky is expected to announce plans for a new creationist-themed amusement park. (MSNBC)

New digs: The Miami Art Museum has broken ground on its new $200-million home in Biscayne Bay. (Miami Herald)

Popular demand: The Signature Theatre Company's revival of "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner has received another extension and will get a new cast through March 27. (Playbill)

Labor standoff: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has canceled two additional weeks of concerts after last week's failed negotiations to end the eight-week musicians' strike. (Detroit Free Press)

Stepping down: Joan Rosenbaum, the head of New York's Jewish Museum since 1981, will step down as director at the end of June. (New York Times)

Birthday celebration: Hal Holbrook performed his long-running solo stage show as Mark Twain on the occassion of the author's 175th birthday in Elmira, N.Y. (Associated Press)

Oops! A man in Canada mistook a $5,000 sculpture for firewood, thinking it was an old pile of trees. (Edmonton Journal)

And in the L.A. Times: Theater critic Charles McNulty on Tennessee Williams' "Vieux Carré," which is being reinterpreted by the Wooster Group; art critic Christopher Knight reviews "Kim Schoenstadt: Matrix 160" at the Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum; Grant Gershon has extended his contract as music director of the L.A. Master Chorale through 2014-15.

-- David Ng

Photo: from the video "A Fire in My Belly" that was recently removed by the Smithsonian. Credit: Penny Starr /

Monster Mash: Fisk University allowed to sell stake in art collection; 'Spider-man' delayed once again

November 5, 2010 |  8:04 am

Spiderman3 Ruling: A judge has ruled that Fisk University can sell an ownership stake in its Stieglitz Art Collection on condition that part of the sale be set aside in a trust. (The Tennessean)

Troubled production: Broadway's "Spider-Man" musical is delayed once again. The new opening date is Jan. 11, 2011. (Los Angeles Times)

Detained: Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says he has been put under house arrest after trying to hold a party to protest the demolition of his new art studio. (Telegraph)

Back to Gotham: The musical "Rent" is returning to New York in an off-Broadway production starting in June. (New York Post)

Honored: Artist Hans-Peter Feldmann has won the $100,000 Hugo Boss Prize, administered by the Guggenheim Foundation. (Bloomberg)

Old is new again: Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and composer Diedre Murray are working on an adapted version of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" that will emphasize the opera's musical theater elements. (New York Times)

On the record: A lawyer for Marion True, an ex-Getty Museum curator, talks about the recently dismissed case against his client. (The Art Newspaper)

Improving picture: Sotheby’s reported that its third-quarter loss narrowed from the same period last year. (Bloomberg)

Big money: The Knight Foundation is donating $3 million toward the completion of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Mississippi. (Sun Herald)

Graffiti arrest: A student suspected of tagging subway cars up and down the East Coast has been arrested. (New York Daily News)

Appointment: Douglas King, head of the St. Louis Science Center, has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the Museum of Flight in Seattle. (Seattle Times)

Also in the L.A. Times: Theater critic Charles McNulty reviews the new musical "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" on Broadway; Jorge Mester will conduct a Pasadena Master Chorale concert in January.

-- David Ng

Photo credit: Marvel Entertainment

Is 'For Colored Girls' a double-edged sword for Tyler Perry?

November 3, 2010 | 11:22 am


The release on Friday of "For Colored Girls," the movie version of Ntozake Shange's landmark play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf," is generating a lot of excitement, particularly among fans of the play.

But despite the pedigree of the play and a high-caliber cast that includes Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad, there is also a sizable continigent who are anxious about the film's writer and director, Tyler Perry, the most consistently successful -- and controversial -- black independent filmmaker in Hollywood.

Many wonder whether Perry, who specializes in comedic melodrama and simplistic plots, has the sensibility or the skills needed to handle such challenging material.

To find out more, read this feature.

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: From left, Anika Noni Rose, Tessa Thompson, Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton in "For Colored Girls." Credit: Patrick Harbron/Lionsgate

'Angels in America' at Signature Theatre Company: What did the critics think?

October 29, 2010 | 12:02 pm

Angels One of the most anticipated New York theater events of the season isn't happening on Broadway, but at a small theater off the beaten tourist track. The Signature Theatre Company recently opened Tony Kushner's "Angels in America," a revival production of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning magnum opus.

The epic drama, which runs nearly seven hours over the course of two evenings, follows the intersecting stories of several New York residents in the 1980s, as the magnitude of the AIDS crisis became clear. The play was produced at San Francisco's Eureka Theatre and Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum; it opened on Broadway in 1993.

Directed by Michael Greif, the revival of "Angels in America" stars Zachary Quinto ("Star Trek"), Christian Borle, Frank Wood, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck, Billy Porter and more. The Signature's cozy Peter Norton Space has just 160 seats, versus the more than 900 seats at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where the play ran on Broadway.

Audiences have been eating up tickets for the revival, and the Signature has extended the run through Feb. 20. But a play with so much cultural significance brings with it a lot of critical baggage -- an unavoidable burden reflected in the reviews of the Signature's revival.

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