The Playgoer: Katzeye Report

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Katzeye Report

by Abigail Katz

There's been lots going on in the theatre world this last week- some big news, some activities that might not make it onto many people's radar.  Of the latter- MCC Youth Company's Fresh Play Festival, taking place at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons.  The Youth Company is a fantastic opportunity for young playwrights and actors to develop their skills and present their work.  Established artists such as Lucy Thurber, Jackson Gay, Stephen DiMenna, Courtney Baron, Maria Goyanes and Donya Washington work with these talented up and comers who are the next generation of American theatre.  I attended last night's performance and I must say I was very impressed with the writing and acting.  This youth theatre is a brave one indeed that encourages its artists to take risks.  You have three more opportunities to catch the festival, Thursday-Saturday at 7pm.  Call 212-727-7722 for reservations.  It's only $10!

Atlantic's Loss is The Public's Gain
Yes, the Playgoer broke the big news- Andy Hamingson will be leaving Atlantic Theater Company to replace Mara Manus as Executive Director of The Public Theater.   I have been wondering who would be filling this position since Manus announced her departure. Hamingson saw the Atlantic through a period of enormous expansion that included a new second stage on 16th Street, the Broadway transfer of Spring Awakening, and the preparation for the badly needed renovation of the Linda Gross Theater on 20th Street.  I have no doubt he will be a great partner to Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis.   It's certainly a loss for the Atlantic, but he's leaving the Chelsea based company in better condition than when he entered it.

Much was made of the announcement that the upcoming Broadway revival of Brigadoon had cancelled its out of town dates and that its appearance on the Great White Way for the '08-'09 season would be "postponed" due to "lack of an appropriate Broadway theatre."  Now I like Brigadoon as much as the next person, but was anyone really waiting with great anticipation for this production?  Even with Rob Ashford choreographing and directing? (I happen to be a big fan of his work.) And as for "lack of an appropriate theatre," I heard through the grapevine that the real reason for the "postponement" was because the show would face enormous competition from major commercial productions like Shrek, and furthermore, there were no stars attached to the Lerner and Loewe classic.  But let's be honest, in the current climate of rock musicals aimed at the younger crowd and the slew of screen-to-stage adaptations, would a commercial production of Brigadoon stand a chance? Wouldn't it fare better at theatre like Lincoln Center? Just think how gorgeous the wedding scene would look on the stage of the Vivian Beaumont. OK, I know the venue won't be available for like ever, but I'm just saying...

That's it for now. Until Monday.


Anonymous said...

uh, PLAYGOER -- wonderful as he is -- did not break the news about Andrew Hamingson going to the Public. Playgoer LINKED to and COMMENTED on news that was broken by Julie Bosman in the NY Times. This is the difference between bloggers and journalists -- both very worthy and valuable beings, but not the same thing. Let's not pretend that usefully pointing to a news report is the same as digging up the info yourself.

Anonymous said...

Good point -- but the Times didn't BREAK a story in any important way; they followed up on a press release sent to them by the Public, most likely. Still, to tell blog readers about a story reported in the news media is not the same as reporting the story, that's true.
More important: How about the lead sentence identifying Hamingson as the guy who got Spring Awakening to Broadway? Does this bode GC Wolfe-ish plans for the Public -- or just NY Times Bway myopia?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I was one of those nuts who was looking forward to Brigadoon. It's one of those impossibly strange and therefore wonderful little gems that never gets old. In fact every time I see a production I have the same thought: "How on earth did anyone ever get this strange little project off the ground?"

But I'm thrilled that they did and I guess I'll just have to wait.

Hopefully not another 100 years!