Tuesday, May 1, 2018

For Music-Theatre Collaborators, It's the Questions You Hardly Ever Think to Ask That Can Make the Biggest Difference by Rolando Teco

In a music-theatre context, there are a number of questions that must be answered before any song can be completed. Often when lyricists and composers collaborate on songs for a new show, th…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:39AM
Saturday, March 3, 2018

Time is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy by Rolando Teco

I was reminded recently of a director I once had the displeasure of working with who saw his job more or less as moving actors around like set pieces on his set. As one of those...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:00AM
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rolando's Manifesto: Questions to Ask Before You Show by Rolando Teco

In the weeks since I first wrote this 3-page manifesto in response to a question from one member of my online scriptwriters workshop, I've continued to have requests for copies. So I figured…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 12:26PM
Friday, January 5, 2018

Serendipity and Meryl Streep at the Quad Cinema by Rolando Teco

On Tuesday afternoon, my plan was to take my Mom to see Claude Berri's THE TWO OF US at the Quad Cinema. About an hour before we headed out I learned that -- oops! -- in...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 08:55AM
Friday, November 17, 2017

STREET THEATRE: Oh Mr. Albee, Aren't we all just hanging by a thread? by Rolando Teco

Something strange happened yesterday at the Quad Cinema on 13th Street. I'd taken Mom to an early-evening screening of the filmed version of Edward Albee's A DELICATE BALANCE. If you haven't…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 12:26PM
Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Day I Became a Composer by Rolando Teco

When I was eight or nine I'd been taking piano lessons for a couple of years. One day I arrived at my weekly lesson unprepared and my teacher noted the fact that it seemed as though...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:18AM
Monday, July 31, 2017

Lessons from Actors: Alvin Epstein by Rolando Teco

Alvin Epstein, actor and director, has been one of my mentors. Over the 40+ years I've known him he's taught me many lessons. I'd like to briefly describe three of them here. 1. The Sign of.…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:31AM
Saturday, July 8, 2017

Transcending a Natural Need for Certainty by Rolando Teco

My first summer there Charles Ludlum (of Ridiculous Theatre fame) was there as a guest director; he was directing Die Fledermaus, a lighthearted operetta by Johann Strauss... I remember so v…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 10:12AM
Friday, June 23, 2017

Everyone's a Critic by Rolando Teco

At the multiplex in Roanoke. Waiting for the feature presentation to begin, an action-packed trailer pops up for a movie called KIDNAP. We see Halle Berry as a mother-warrior fighting what l…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 07:51AM
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

STREET THEATRE: "Next" in Exile. by Rolando Teco

At Citarella, where the staff has been carefully schooled to call us to their registers with "May I help the following guest?" I recently heard this shouted at me: "Following!" I love it! At…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 12:56PM
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Guest Post: Guy Kettelhack "Notions about the Notion of a 'Studio" by Rolando Teco

For the past couple days, as I seem more than usually to have awakened to accepting I actually have one, I've been musing on the power and marvelous mix of comfort and strangeness of the act…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:04AM
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Playwright Has Left The Planet (And Who Do I Want By My Side?) by Rolando Teco

So a cool pal of mine who will not want to be named here (because she is genetically predisposed to modesty and discretion) managed to snag me a "plus one" invite to today's memorial for the…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 07:02AM
Monday, September 26, 2016

The Death of Edward Albee and Possibly Some Part of Me by Rolando Teco

And just like that I was grateful to him again. I find it difficult to think of another human being so fundamentally unwilling to sugar coat the truth. By his actions and through his presenc…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 11:13AM
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hadestown vs. The Total Bent (or) The Importance of a Good Book by Rolando Teco

In the past week I happened to see two musicals built in similar ways -- HADESTOWN at NYTW and THE TOTAL BENT at The Public. One really grabbed me, whipped me around, shook me up and...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 08:02PM
Friday, December 4, 2015

So Many Unrepeatable (and unforgettable) Moments by Rolando Teco

My pal John Yearley has a show up. You should go see it. You only have three more days to do so. The Unrepeatable Moment is the latest offering from The Barrow Group, known for their...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 06:56PM
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hamilton and the "Bach Weep" by Rolando Teco

There's a certain kind of emotion that washes over me when I encounter works of monumental genius. It's like my whole being is flooded with awe and wonder and gratitude so much so that I sta…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 06:50AM
Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Write a Play in 24 Days by John Yearley

I was late to work. My son’s school had invited parents to observe the first half hour of class, and there was no way I was missing that. I hoped to catch a train that would...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 01:47PM
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Storytelling vs. Story Writing by Rolando Teco

Don't get me wrong. I love a good storytelling. And I love the Moth, whose Artistic Director Catherine Burns, is an old pal of mine. But as much as I may love good story, I love great writin…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 01:33PM
Sunday, July 20, 2014

In Denver: A window into a new community of playwrights emerging by Rolando Teco

I'm in Denver for The Dramatists Guild. Yesterday I offered a Self-Production Primer, a 4-hour starter kit workshop on some fundamentals for playwrights interested in producing their own wor…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 12:04PM
Monday, July 7, 2014

Oh where oh where did our firewall go? Marketing firms and name brands are getting into the "Art" game. Should we care? by Rolando Teco

This item recently caught my eye. Heineken, Stella Artois, and Sony are among those to have commissioned one-off immersive live theatrical experiences in recent months. Now, however, London …

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 11:05AM
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jonathan Mandell on "Diversity" (on Howlround) by Rolando Teco

Is the diversity movement in the theater focused on having more characters depicted on stage from underrepresented demographic groups (race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.), and…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 10:54AM
Friday, March 28, 2014

Love and Information by Caryl Churhill by Rolando Teco

What is your definition of great theatre? Well, I sort of thought I had a handle on mine until I saw Caryl Churchill's latest play, which the gentleman sitting beside me would argue is not. …

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 12:14PM
Friday, February 14, 2014

Over-specialization Alert: Dr. Jane Chu to head NEA (PhD in... ??) by Rolando Teco

Scanning this Whitehouse press release on Obama's nomination of a new Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Jane Chu has an impressive resume. And she's a pianist. Love the i…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:34AM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So Much Talk of Commerce. So Little Time. by Rolando Teco

Lydia Stryk has a fascinating piece up on HowlRound about a movement to guarantee artists a living wage. And Stryk's wonderful piece (not all of which I agree with) is just the tip of the ic…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 08:57AM
Thursday, January 23, 2014

I have seen the future of opera in LONDON ROAD by Rolando Teco

It seems to me that in LONDON ROAD, Cork and Blythe have stumbled onto a new way for opera to recapture the immediacy it had several centuries ago when it was the venality and cruelty of the…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 08:01PM
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Playwrights at the Helm (DG Academy) by Rolando Teco

I had an absolute blast moderating this panel for the Dramatists Guild on Tuesday. Really smart and generous panelists include: August Schulenburg (Flux Theatre Ensemble), James Comtois (Nos…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 06:10PM
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Favorite Opening by John Yearley

There was no red carpet. There were no lights. Well, there were no lights outside. It would have been odd for there to have been lights outside since it was the middle of the day. It...

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 02:54PM
Thursday, September 12, 2013

Things That Never Happen Happen All the Time by John Yearley

Note: The play I wrote for young audiences, Fake Flowers Don't Die, is going to be performed in schools, theatres, and community centers in the Cincinnati area throughout the month of Octobe…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:45AM
Friday, August 23, 2013

Theresa Rebeck says: Just do it! by Rolando Teco

Today in her keynote conversation with Gary Garrison, Theresa Rebeck offered her own version of a tune I've been singing ever since I began at the Guild and I felt validated. In a big way. E…

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 11:48PM
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Andy & Sam: Crowdsource This! by David Licata

While researching actor and professional wrestler Andre the Giant, I came across this: "As a child, he {Andre the Giant} displayed symptoms of his gigantism very early, reaching a height of …

SOURCE: Extra Criticum at 09:41PM