Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Despite Pandemic, High School Shows Still Being Shut Down, For New Reasons by Howard Sherman

Given the disastrous reduction in live theatre that has marked the pandemic since March of 2020, one might assume that incidences of high school shows canceled over content concerns would ha…

SOURCE: at 12:48PM
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

C-a-n-c-e-l-i-n-g ‘Spelling Bee’ at a Maryland Middle School by Howard Sherman

The communication announcing the cancelation of a production of the musical The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Hyattsville Middle School in Maryland could not have been more terse.…

SOURCE: at 10:54AM
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

At Neil Simon Festival, A Contest Entry Fee That’s No Laughing Matter by Howard Sherman

If one looks around the website of The Neil Simon Festival, a yearly theatre event held in Cedar City, Utah, there’s a list of donors to the company. On that list are seven entries at the …

SOURCE: at 05:31PM
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tina Landau: “A Home in the Theatre” by Tina Landau

  I was asked to deliver the Keynote Address for BroadwayCon, a three day expo for fans of Broadway theater.  The theme of the Opening Ceremony was “Home,” and included performance…

SOURCE: at 04:43PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Teaching Students & Audiences About Swastikas, The SS and “The Sound of Music” by Howard Sherman

If you see a stage production of The Sound of Music, here are some words you won’t hear: Nazi. Hitler. Here are some words you will hear in the stage version: Gauleiter. Anschluss. Third …

SOURCE: at 03:03PM
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Worry About The Censorship and Homophobia First, Then The Prayers by Howard Sherman

As word about a scuffle over a theatre production at Mitchell High School in Mitchell County NC has started to make its way beyond the local North Carolina media, accounts seem to be placing…

SOURCE: at 07:49PM
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

At One California High School, Gender Neutral & Color Conscious Casting in “1776” by Amy Tichenor Moorhead

Editor’s preface: Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company wrote an extensive Facebook post after seeing a production of 1776, directed by his sister, the author of this essa…

SOURCE: at 10:53AM
Saturday, March 31, 2018

Quotation Marks Don’t Soften a Slur in Chicago by Howard Sherman

  Now there is a redaction, an editor’s note, and an author’s apology. But for roughly 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday this week, in a theatre review in the Chicago Reader, …

SOURCE: at 08:53AM
Saturday, February 17, 2018

On The Front Lines, In School And In Theatre by Rachel Harry

I am tired. I am tired of reading posts about “my rights” to a hobby that includes automatic rifles. You like guns, fine. But accept the fact that guns are dangerous and require …

SOURCE: at 04:00PM
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jose Jimenez is Alive and Well and Performing in Utah by Hesherman

Even when intended benignly, brownface is an offense. Your saying the character is not a stereotype doesn't make it true.

SOURCE: at 07:57AM
Friday, October 20, 2017

Facebook Needs To Explain Its Problem With A Sondheim Ad by Howard Sherman

As investigations into political tampering with the 2016 US election on Facebook have made headlines and perhaps spurred corporate introspection, one would hope that the company is in the pr…

SOURCE: at 02:22PM
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Telling James Franco’s lawyer, “Your client does not have any valid claim” by Howard Sherman

This summer, when an attorney for actor James Franco sent New York’s People’s Improv Theatre a cease and desist letter regarding the venue’s planned presentation of the pla…

SOURCE: at 10:58AM
Thursday, September 14, 2017

At North Shore Music Theatre, An Absence of Race, Ethnicity and Understanding Prevails by Howard Sherman

It’s a bit hard to follow the thinking of Bill Hanney, the owner and producer at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts. Initially, it was hard because Hanney was silent, not …

SOURCE: at 02:51PM
Friday, August 18, 2017

Contrary to What You’ve Heard, You Can Cast Albee Plays Diversely by Howard Sherman

It is unlikely that many people in the theatre are unaware of the controversy that arose in mid-May, when a small Portland, Oregon theatre company proposed a production of Edward Albee’s W…

SOURCE: at 02:35PM
Monday, August 7, 2017

James Franco Won’t Like This and There’s Nothing He Can Do About It by Howard Sherman

Those who have followed the career of James Franco, and at times it has almost been hard to avoid, are aware that the actor had a period where he was a perpetual student, described in 2008 i…

SOURCE: at 12:44PM
Friday, August 4, 2017

“Judas Iscariot” Doesn’t Deserve This Treatment by Howard Sherman

If you happen to be going to see the current production Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Shelton Theater in San Francisco the next ten days, you’ll find an i…

SOURCE: at 05:28PM
Monday, July 10, 2017

“Assassins” in the Age of Trump by Howard Sherman

This week, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s 1990 musical Assassins will have its first major New York performances since the 2004 Roundabout Theatre Company production, in a concert ver…

SOURCE: at 08:49AM
Monday, June 12, 2017

So Are They All, All Honorable Corporations by Howard Sherman

Does anyone remember last summer’s The Taming of the Shrew in Central Park? It opened with an entirely non-Shakespearean beauty pageant and talent show, led by a buffoonish figure costumed…

SOURCE: at 12:14PM
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Was Boston Children’s Theatre Censored for Pushing Boundaries? by Howard Sherman

One doesn’t expect to hear the words “nudity” and “children’s theatre” discussed in the same sentence. But there’s been a lot of that juxtaposition going around up in Boston as…

SOURCE: at 04:01PM
Monday, April 24, 2017

Staff Bites Board, at a Seattle Service Organization by Howard Sherman

According to an old aphorism, “dog bites man” is not big news, however “man bites dog” is something to report. Consequently, in the arts world, “board of directors fires staff” m…

SOURCE: at 02:08PM
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When A Censored Play Was Already In Violation of Copyright by Howard Sherman

The shutting down of a high school play at East Newton High School in Granby, Missouri last week may have set a new low in bad timing for such incidents. The show was not canceled after cast…

SOURCE: at 10:24AM
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In Minnesota, Change Play’s Title Or Lose A Production? by Howard Sherman

If you happen to have been giving any thought to producing Langston Hughes’s 1935 play Mulatto at the Ames Center in Burnsville MN, save yourself some time and either move on to another p…

SOURCE: at 03:09PM
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

At Princeton, A New Layer for “Hairspray” by Howard Sherman

Despite its origin in a 1988 film from John Waters, the underground master of camp, shock and transgression, the story of Tracy Turnblad, as told in multiple iterations, has become wholly ma…

SOURCE: at 05:19PM
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Disrobing “The Foreigner” at a Minnesota High School by Howard Sherman

Context is everything. If you ask the average parent whether, in the abstract, they want to hear a student, any student, saying the n-word from the stage of their local high school auditoriu…

SOURCE: at 03:30PM
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Two High School Shows That Couldn’t Be Saved by Howard Sherman

When incidences of high school theatre censorship arise, the point at which they occur, and when that breaks out beyond school walls, can be central to efforts to reverse the decision. At ot…

SOURCE: at 01:09PM
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winston Churchill’s Famous Arts Quote Is, Alas, Bogus by Howard Sherman

Even if you’ve never read the quote, you’ve no doubt seen the meme, in all of its arts-affirming, damn the torpedoes glory. Just one small detail: it isn’t true. I am referring to …

SOURCE: at 10:28AM
Friday, February 17, 2017

At University of Washington, Anonymous Hate Messages Extend To Campus Theatre by Howard Sherman

This is a revised and updated version of a prior post from earlier today, which has been withdrawn, because it suggested, based upon news accounts, that the UW theatre department had been si…

SOURCE: at 07:16PM
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kate Fodor’s “Rubber Knife,” from Primary Stages’ “Morning in America” by Kate Fodor

Beginning one week after the November presidential election, New York’s Primary Stages commissioned a collection of over 70 pieces written by a diverse array of playwrights from their …

SOURCE: at 03:09PM
Friday, January 27, 2017

With Curricular Context Added, “Ragtime” to Play On in Cherry Hill by Howard Sherman

On January 20, the Cherry Hill Public School system in New Jersey announced their intent to censor racially charged language for their upcoming drama group’s production of the musical …

SOURCE: at 04:02PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cherry-Picking the Words of “Ragtime” in Cherry Hill by Howard Sherman

There is no question that there are racially charged words in the musical Ragtime, just as there were in the novel upon which it is based. In telling the story of black characters, of Jewis…

SOURCE: at 12:35PM
Friday, November 25, 2016

Seeking Equity In Theatre, Fighting Wrong With Wrong Won’t Go Right by Howard Sherman

Anyone claiming that there is equity or equality – by gender, by race and ethnicity, by disability – in the American theatre would have to be willfully ignoring the evidence. The Dramati…

SOURCE: at 01:46PM

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