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Feminist activists, journalists, and authors, Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, announced the release of a limited-edition charity T-shirt, Gloria and Dorothy’s Equal Rights Now Tee, to raise funds to support the growing momentum behind passage of the long-sought-for Equal Rights Amendment (Era).
Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes wear #EqualRightsNow t-shirts
Era supporters across the U.S. are joining Steinem and Pitman Hughes, posting their own fist-pumping photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #equalrightsnow.
The Era is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would expressly prohibit discrimination against girls and women on the basis of gender. Today, the Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women. As the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”
In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment »
It’s a big, bright, beautiful world, thanks to today’s casting roundup! A California production of “Shrek the Musical” is currently casting all principal roles, including Shrek and Fiona. There are also roles available in the national nonunion tour of “Kinky Boots,” a horror film set in the Everglades, and a clothing commercial! “Shrek The Musical”Join an upcoming production of “Shrek the Musical” in Fontana, CA. Male and female talent aged 18–70 are needed to fill all lead roles, as well as supporting and ensemble. Actors should be excellent singers with great comedic timing. There is an open casting call on Aug. 22 in Fontana. Rehearsals will begin Sept. 11 and the show runs Oct. 20–Nov. 12 at the Center Stage Theater Fontana. Pay is a $500 minimum stipend, with additional fees added for certain roles. Apply here! “Kinky Boots” Nat’L Nonunion TOURThe national non-equity tour of Cyndi Lauper/Harvey Fierstein’s »
Nick Carter got emotional on Thursday’s “Boy Band”, after one contestant opened up about his troubled family life. Before performing a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” singer Jaden Gray got candid about his tumultuous relationship with his father, who he said has been in and out of jail his whole life, but still loves him and […] »
- Chelsea Williams
If the histories of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre warrant four hours of prime HBO real estate in “The Defiant Ones,” then certainly Michael Alago, the flamboyant New York punk habitue who signed Metallica to Elektra and White Zombie to Geffen during his stints as an A&R executive, deserves his 77 minutes of recognition.
In the spirit of similar documentaries on behind-the-scenes heroes such as Rodney Bingenheimer (“The Mayor of Sunset Strip”) and Danny Fields (“Danny Says”), “Who the F**k Is That Guy?” recounts the remarkable journey of Alago, a Puerto Rican kid who grew up on Brooklyn’s New Utrecht Avenue with his bedroom facing an elevated subway track. That undoubtedly influenced his passion for post-punk hardcore rock. “I love the noise,” he says at one point in the movie. “I love the sweat. I love when I go to concerts and it’s 99% guys.”
The documentary was directed by punk-rock veteran Drew Stone, who »
- Roy Trakin
Before performing a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," singer Jaden Gray got candid about his tumultuous relationship with his father, who he said has been in and out of jail his whole life, but still loves him and roots for his success.
The touching story struck a chord with Carter, and after the performance, he shared some kind words of support even as he began to get choked up.
"I understand exactly what you're going through when it comes to having a hard upbringing in a family," Carter said. "No matter what happens, or what they say or do, you still love them."
"If there was one thing you could say your father on a night like this »
SpongeBob SquarePants is coming to the stage. Recently, Playbill announced a new musical based on the Nickelodeon TV show will debut on Broadway this fall.From writer Kyle Jarrow and director Tina Landau, the musical follows SpongeBob and his friends as they try to save Bikini Bottom from total destruction. The show features songs from various artists, including Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, John Legend, The Flaming Lips, and Cyndi Lauper.Read More… »
“The Book of Mormon”: londonboxoffice.co.uk
London’s West End just earned a dubious honor: it’s just as inhospitable to women as Broadway. A new study from The Stage examined the West End musical productions that ran for at least three weeks from 2007 to 2016, and found that female writers are severely underrepresented — in fact, male scribes outnumber women nine to one. Women received a writing credit on only 16 percent of the West End’s last decade of musicals.
“There are so many women playwrights out there — their voices are heard and they’re writing contemporary, pertinent, compelling drama,” said “Mamma Mia!” book writer Catherine Johnson. “So for that not also to be happening in musical theater, something is really going wrong.”
Indeed. It’s hard to reconcile the news that two-thirds of the Royal Court Theatre’s new season are written or directed by women with the dismal numbers of women writing musicals. Unfortunately it’s true: Seventy-five percent of West End musicals included zero women on their writing teams, which are usually comprised of a book writer, a composer, and a lyricist. Women wrote or co-wrote just 12 percent of the books.
If you take jukebox musicals — musicals, like Carole King’s “Beautiful,” that do not use new original songs — into consideration, women wrote 18 percent of the productions’ music or lyrics. Disregarding jukebox musicals, only nine percent of the musicals boasted a female composer.
Of the 118 musicals the West End has put on during the past decade, only four of the shows’ scores were composed by one individual woman: Cyndi Lauper’s “Kinky Boots,” Jeanine Tesori’s “Shrek the Musical,” Margaret Martin “Gone With the Wind,” and Kath Gotts’ “Bad Girls the Musical.”
And just three of the 118 musicals were written by an all-female team: “Bad Girls,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “Viva Forever!” the book of which was penned by Jennifer Saunders (“Ab Fab”) with music and lyrics by the Spice Girls. In contrast, 88 shows were from an all-male writing team.
“The problem is that the established stable of go-to talent for any of these big-scale opportunities is still basically an almost exclusively white, male, closed shop,” Gotts told The Stage in response to the research.
Jon Bromwich, exec producer at Youth Music Theatre UK, believes that the gender disparity can be traced back to school. “Lack of role models and instruction at a young age are undoubtedly contributory. Ingrained behavior patterns may mean that young female instrumentalists stay with their instrument while males move into composition.”
Whatever the cause, there is definitely a gender problem in modern theater. It seems that every week or so a new story breaks about the obstacles women face in the field. Wellesley Centers for Women found that a glass ceiling exists for women climbing the ladder at nonprofit theaters. Actors’ Equity published research about the stronghold white men have on acting and stage management jobs. And the only new women-written plays on Broadway this season — Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” and Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” — are not long for this world.
So much for Book, Music and Lyrics founder/director David James’ response to The Stage’s research. “I would say the answer, for both men and women, is to raise their game and write stronger work,” James commented. “If women write the better work, they will be produced. I don’t believe they will be sidelined because of gender.”
If only we lived in that world, Mr. James. But we definitely don’t.
Below are highlights from The Stage’s study. Head over to its website for more information.
Of the 118 musicals that ran on London’s West End from 2007 to 2016:
3 were from an all-female writing team, compared to 88 from an-all male writing team12 percent featured books written by a womanFour scores were composed by a woman75 percent featured no women on their writing teamsNearly nine out of 10 musicals had a book written entirely by menIncluding jukebox musicals, 18 percent of the shows’ music or lyrics were women-written
None of the shows in 2014 featured books, music, or lyrics from women
None of the shows in 2010 featured music from a female composer
None of the books in 2011, 2013, or 2016 were written by women
Study: West End Musicals Are Overwhelmingly Written by Men was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
People caught up with the pop-punk star, 30, who plays Charlie Price in the Tony-winning musical in New York through Aug. 6.
You just made your Broadway debut in Kinky Boots. Were you a theater nerd in high school?
All my friends were in theater; I was just the stoner that built the sets, backstage smoking a joint, like, “I made your castle wall!”
Do you remember your first musical?
I grew up watching my mom’s VHS tapes of musicals. I wanted to be Julie Andrews in Sound of Music. »
- Jeff Nelson
The Girls Trip co-stars made an appearance at the 2017 Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Friday, where they opened up about the advice they'd give their teenage selves.
"Love yourself because people will love you for who you are in the future," said Latifah, who was joined on a panel by Mary J. Blige, Monica, Niecy Nash, Planned Parenthood's Kristi Henderson, director Dee Rees and moderator Tamron Hall. "It’s a tough question to answer, because I don’t know anything other than this journey."
"I’d probably tell my 15-year-old self, ‘Yo, you’re gonna be in a movie with Jada Pinkett,'" she finally revealed.
As for Pinkett Smith, she said she'd »
Jada Pinkett Smith is flawless at 45!
"It's happiness," she gushed. "As I get older, I get more and more happy. I just get more understanding about myself and about life, and I get more and more comfortable in my skin. Man, if I felt this way, the way I feel now, in my 20s? Man, I woulda been dangerous!"
Read: Jada Pinkett Smith and Daughter Willow Document Beach Clean-Up in Greece
Pinkett Smith recently made headlines for reportedly saying that her children had all moved out of the home she shares with husband Will Smith. Setting the record straight on Sunday, the actress told Et that was only partially true.
"Listen, only Jaden and Trey," she said. "Yes, Willow hasn't left yet. Now, she will »
In a People exclusive sneak peek at their acceptance speech at Friday’s upcoming broadcast of the 2017 Logo Trailblazer Honors, which was taped in New York City on Thursday, the creative partners joked that they convinced actress Debra Messing to join the cast of the now-famous sitcom with booze and nicotine.
Mutchnick opened the speech, telling Messing, “To think it was almost 20 years ago that Dave and I showed up at your apartment with two packs of Marlboro »
- Benjamin VanHoose
The Logo Trailblazer Honors 2017 awards ceremony airs tonight on Logo and VH1 — with Cyndi Lauper and the creators of Will & Grace, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, among the honorees. The ceremony, now in its third year, pays tribute to people who have played leading roles in supporting equality and making the world a better place for Lgbtq people. The event will be held at NYC’s Cathedral of Saint John the Devine, which was one of the city’s first religious institutions to stand up for the causes of the Lgbtq community. Mutchnick and Kohan first brought Will & Grace...read more »
- Julian Cheatle
Girls Road Trip! The Late Late Show’s popular Carpool Karaoke segment has its own Apple Music spin-off show, and to help kick things up a notch, Jada Pinkett Smith hit the road with Queen Latifah behind the wheel to sing some of their favorite hits and promote their upcoming comedy, Girls Trip, in the process.
“Transparent” is unlike anything else on TV, so it’s fitting that Our Lady J came on as the series’ first trans writer in an unconventional way. Previously known as a singer-songwriter and classical pianist who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper, she applied for the gig when creator and show runner Jill Soloway made a concerted effort to hire trans writers for the show’s second season. “I submitted a short story,” Our Lady J told TheWrap. “After that she selected six people to join a workshop on how to write for television because she »
- Nigel M. Smith
When Our Lady J joined the writing team at Transparent, it was something of a career departure. Previously known as a singer-songwriter who's worked with Lady Gaga, Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper, she applied for the job by writing a short story about her experience of growing up trans in Pennsylvania. As Transparent prepares to air its fourth season, Our Lady J (who is now also a producer) talks about the show jumping ship to Israel, how Trump's win almost flipped the… »
Jennifer Esposito will depart the CBS procedural “NCIS” after one season as a series regular. Esposito played Agent Alexandra “Alex” Quinn, a quick-witted and talented agent who left to be an instructor at the Law Enforcement Training Center until Gibbs lured her back to the field. Esposito previously appeared in the CBS shows “Blue Bloods” and “Judging Amy.” Her other TV credits include “Mistresses,” “Samantha Who?,” “Rescue Me,” “Spin City.” Deadline first reported this news.
HBO announced its new special “The Words That Built America” will premiere on July 4 at 7 p.m. The documentary will be directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi and with appearances by all living U.S. presidents and vice presidents, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet secretaries, celebrities and media titans. The special, narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, features »
- Rebecca Rubin
With dozens of castings announced and new projects coming down the pipeline each week across television, film, and theater, it can be near-impossible to keep up. Luckily, Backstage is here to help. Every Friday, we’re rounding up the week's industry news you shouldn’t miss so you can be sure you're firmly in the know! Two pop icons are bringing new works to Broadway.Grammy-winning music icons Cyndi Lauper and Cher both made ripples this week with Broadway announcements. Lauper, composer for “Kinky Boots,” winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2013 (that is still running on the Great White Way), will pen the score for a Broadway-aimed musical adaptation of the 1988 feature “Working Girl.” Cher, meanwhile, took to Twitter to announce that the musical based on her life, which will feature her prolific catalogue of songs, will premiere on Broadway at an unspecified date in 2018. “Just got »
Put one foot onward and forward! “Kinky Boots” is looking for a few good men to lace up the red heels for its national tour. Also in today's casting roundup, there are roles available in an immersive play, a web series, and a film about unrequited love. “Kinky Boots”“Kinky Boots,” the Tony-winning musical by Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein, is looking for dancers for its non-equity national tour. A male actor ages 30–55 with “a killer voice with power blues and gospel chops” is needed to fill the lead role of Lola. There are also swing and ensemble roles available for two male actors aged 20–39. Tumbling, acrobatics, and tricks are a plus. All talent must be able to move well and dance in very high heels. There is an open casting call on June 27 in NYC. Rehearsals begin August 22, with a tour runs Sept. 18 through May 13, 2018. Pay is $450 per week minimum, »
Cyndi Lauper and playwright Kim Rosenstock are teaming up to adapt Mike Nichols’ 1988 film Working Girl into a Broadway musical. Cyndi Lauper Adapting Working Girl Into Broadway Musical Lauper, who has seen success with her show Kinky Boots, which she co-wrote the musical and lyrics for with Rosenstock, will once again partner up for Broadway. The show will be […]
- Hillary Luehring-Jones
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