‘Downton Abbey’ Exhibit Makes Its Way Stateside + More NYC Events 11/17–11/23

New York is the city that never sleeps, and with so many events and activities each week across all five boroughs, it can be hard to know what’s actually worthwhile. Here are the events New York City actors should have on their radars this week. “Downton” exhibit arrives stateside.Do you still mourn the loss of “Downton Abbey”? If so, you will certainly not want to miss “Downtown Abbey: The Exhibition,” beginning Nov. 18 at 218 West 57th St. A direct transfer from across the pond, this will be the exhibit’s North American debut, and will include everything fans loved about the PBS drama, specifically, the couture and culture. (Tickets: $30) Carnegie Hall pays tribute to female composers.Two of Broadway’s current mainstays, Betsy Wolfe of “Waitress” and Adam Kantor of “The Band’s Visit,” will take a night off from their respective shows to sing to a different house.
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Musicals That Want More

  • CultureCatch
Fun Home 5th Avenue Theare, Seattle Through July 30th

When it comes to Broadway-caliber theatre productions, cities like Seattle get what New York is willing to give them. Very often this means local audiences only get a taste of the most mainstream, spectacular efforts the Great White Way has to offer, remaining unexposed to the more challenging and innovative works that do sometimes still happen there. As a result, theatre (particularly musical theatre) is relegated to its niche enclave of dedicated fans along with a wider audience of casual theatre goers who come knowing what to expect. While presenting an enjoyable way to pass a few evening hours this can also bear a disappointing stamp of mediocrity. Fun Home, currently playing at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, is a happy exception to this trend.

Like Next to Normal before it, Fun Home works to break the preconceived notions of what musical theatre is and can be.
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Study: West End Musicals Are Overwhelmingly Written by Men

“The Book of Mormon”:

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 MartinGone 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.
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Sharon D Clarke: ‘I’d like to see more multiracial casts on stage and TV’

The actor and singer on her new role in the civil rights musical Caroline, Or Change – and playing the baddie in panto

Sharon D Clarke, 50, grew up in Tottenham, north London, the daughter of working-class Jamaican parents, and first trained as a social worker. She had a top 10 hit with Nomad’s (I Wanna Give you) Devotion in 1991, and from 2005-8 played Lola Griffin on Holby City. Highlights of her stage career include Ghost, The Amen Corner, for which she won an Olivier award, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. She was described as “ever-magnificent” and “incomparable” in reviews of her last musical, The Life, at Southwark, and next month leads the Chichester festival theatre production of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s 2003 civil rights musical Caroline, Or Change. Clarke is married to an executive producer of Hackney Empire, Susie McKenna.

Your character, Caroline, is a black single mother and
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

“Fun Home” Lyricist Lisa Kron Receives Kleban Prize for Musical Theater

Lisa Kron performing at Joe’s Pub:

Lisa Kron, who wrote the book and lyrics for the musical “Fun Home,” recently received the 2017 Kleban Prize, which includes $100,000, for writing in musical theater, the New York Times writes. She was awarded the Kleban for “most promising musical theater librettist.”

Kron might be best-known for “Fun Home,” for which she won two Tonys, but her theater career extends far beyond the adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic memoir. According to the Times, Kron has acted in “Good Person of Szechwan,” was part of the acting troupe Five Lesbian Brothers — whose members developed and appeared in “The Secretaries” and “Oedipus at Palm Springs” — and wrote and starred in the autobiographical one-woman shows “2.5 Minute Ride” and “Well.”

Fun Home” traces Bechdel’s relationship with her closeted father, Bruce, and her own sexual awakening. Bruce committed suicide shortly after Bechdel came out as a lesbian. The musical adaptation was a Broadway hit and won five Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. Kron and Jeanine Tesori, the latter of whom wrote the music for “Fun Home,” became the first all-female writing team to win a Tony for Best Original Score.

Some of the musical’s show-stopping numbers include “It All Comes Back,” “Come to the Fun Home,” “Changing My Major,” “Maps,” and “Ring of Keys.”

The judges for this year’s Kleban Prize were “Frozen” songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, actress Mary Testa, and producer Ira Weitzman. The Kleban Foundation was originally established in 1988 as part of Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and lyricist Edward Kleban’s will.

Fun Home” Lyricist Lisa Kron Receives Kleban Prize for Musical Theater was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Let's Face It: The Worst Part of the Gilmore Girls Revival Is the Godawful Musical

  • BuzzSugar
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life may not be the high point of the beloved series, but it is filled to the brim with nostalgic moments, cameos, and updates on our favorite characters. There's plenty to love about the series, but there's one thing to hate. No, I'm not talking about the controversial Last Four Words (of which I happen to approve), I'm talking about the musical. My god, the musical! In the "Summer" episode, Taylor Doose outdoes himself by creating Stars Hollow: The Musical, with the help of a creepy silent partner/director. This is when Sutton Foster's highly anticipated role comes into play. She and former Smash star Christian Borle are the leads in the two-person musical. Lorelai is part of the committee to critique a sneak peek, and she's the only one who hates it . . . except for literally all of us watching. There's so much wrong here.
See full article at BuzzSugar »

10 Things You Need to Know About Netflix's 'Gilmore Girls' Revival

Start stockpiling Pop-Tarts and get that bottomless pot of coffee brewing: We're just days away from the premiere of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Netflix's revival of the beloved early-2000's dramedy. (The streaming service is dropping all four episodes on November 25th.) The original series introduced us to the fast-talking, java-addicted Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham), her 16-year-old brainiac daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel), and a colorful cast of characters in the fictional Connecticut hamlet of Stars Hollow.

All things considered, the CW show could have been a forgettable mess,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

‘Gilmore Girls’: Secrets of the Musical in the Netflix Revival (Watch)

‘Gilmore Girls’: Secrets of the Musical in the Netflix Revival (Watch)
Broadway is coming to Stars Hollow.

The return of “Gilmore Girls” not only heralds the much-anticipated reunion of all the fan favorite characters — along with Rory’s lineup of boyfriends, there’s Kirk, Sookie, and cranky Michel — but also brings a few new faces to the picturesque Connecticut enclave.

Town selectman Taylor Doose (Michael Winters) decides to stage a musical to celebrate the town’s history, and who better to star in the hilariously awkward recreation than Broadway legends and Tony winners Sutton Foster and Christian Borle. And naturally, Carole King makes a return, too, as Sophie — with a scene-stealing turn that would be criminal to spoil.

The musical appears in the “summer” episode, the third of the four 90-minute episodes of the Netflix revival, which debuts Nov. 25. Variety was on set for the rehearsals back in March, as “Gilmore Girls” co-creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was helpfully dispensing sunscreen, and Foster and Borle were practicing their lines and
See full article at Variety - TV News »

How to Share Your ‘Fun Home’ Experience and Win Show Tickets

Broadway’s “Fun Home” is collaborating with national nonprofit oral history project StoryCorps ahead of the production’s one-year anniversary. The partnership emboldens fans to use StoryCorps’ free mobile app to record their own family stories and personal experiences seeing “Fun Home” live. StoryCorps aims to preserve conversations and stories in sound. All tagged stories will be streamable on-demand at and preserved in the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The collaboration will continue across the country once “Fun Home” begins its national tour in Cleveland this October. “Fun Home” cast and creative team including Jeanine Tesori, Lisa Kron, Sam Gold, Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, and Sydney Lucas recorded stories of their own available to listen to here. User stories submitted in April will be entered to win a contest with one randomly selected grand prize winner set
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4 Acting Opportunities to Check out This Weekend

A cruise ship gig, a feature film, a Tony-winning Broadway musical, and a developmental lab for the Broadway-bound “Frozen.” What can’t you find in Backstage’s casting listings? Cruise Line Production Shows And REVUESSinger-dancers, specifically ones with a rock, pop, or soul edge, are encouraged to submit themselves to M One Studios’ cruise ship musical productions. Year-round positions are available now for $800–$1200 gigs with room and board included, plus bonuses. Don’t miss this opportunity to hit the high seas! “Fun Home”Do you feel your heart saying hi? Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s Tony-winning musical is going strong at the Circle in the Square Theatre; possible future replacements are needed for all 9 roles. Auditions with casting directors Jim Carnahan and Jillian Cimini will take place April 6. “Frozen” Developmental LABTelsey + Company and Disney Theatrical Productions are already putting out feelers for the Broadway-bound stage adaptation of the hit musical film “Frozen.
See full article at Backstage »

‘Fun Home’ Streams for Spotify Sessions

Spotify is streaming intimate in-studio performances and conversations of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Fun Home” beginning today. “Fun Home” is the first Broadway show to participate in Spotify Sessions. This particular session was originally recorded in front of a live studio audience on Jan. 19 in New York City. The “Fun Home” session contains new arrangements of songs from the musical. The session also includes inside information regarding how and why songs were written and created for the show. Tony winner Jeanine Tesori composed the score performed by “Fun Home” cast members Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, Gabriella Pizzolo, Roberta Colindrez, and Joel Perez. “Fun Home” is the recipient of four Tony Awards including best musical, best book of a musical, best original score, and best leading actor in a musical (Cerveris). Listen to the new session on Spotify now. Inspired by this post? Check out our theater audition listings!
See full article at Backstage »

Athena Film Festival to Honor Mira Nair, 'Suffragette' Ensemble and More

  • Indiewire
Athena Film Festival to Honor Mira Nair, 'Suffragette' Ensemble and More
Read More: Attention, Female Screenwriters: Athena Film Festival to Partner with Black List for Writing Lab The Athena Film Festival has announced that filmmaker and activist Mira Nair is set to receive the Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 festival. Additional honorees include producer Geralyn Dreyfous ("The Square," "The Invisible War"), director Karyn Kusama ("Jennifer's Body," "Aeon Flux") and composer Jeanine Tesori ("Fun Home," "Twelfth Night"). This year, the Athena Film Festival will award the cast and crew of "Suffragette" with the inaugural Athena Ensemble Award. Now in its sixth year, the Athena Film Festival is a celebration of women and leadership in cinema, both in front of and behind the camera. "The push for gender parity in Hollywood has gained momentum this year. We are proud to recognize women who through their work and their voices are changing the industry,"...
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‘The Walk’ Director Robert Zemeckis Honored at Variety Nyff Party

‘The Walk’ Director Robert Zemeckis Honored at Variety Nyff Party
In a career that’s spanned more than three decades and a dozen blockbusters, Robert Zemeckis has been lauded for using technological wizardry to tell deeply human stories in such films as “Cast Away,” “Back to the Future” and “Forrest Gump.”

The Oscar-winning director was honored by Variety on Monday night for his latest cinematic tight-rope act, “The Walk,” which uses 3D to bring viewers 110 stories above Manhattan as Philippe Petit uses a high wire to move back and forth between the Twin Towers.

“It was a unique moment in the city’s history, and I always felt this could be a love letter to the city and a love letter to the towers,” said Zemeckis.

He noted that when Petit pulled off his stunt in 1974 many New Yorkers viewed the Twin Towers as an eyesore, likening them to “filing cabinets.” That changed after seeing the high-wire walker defy gravity.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

6 Can’t-Miss Concerts and Workshops at Nymf 2015

We’ve covered some of the production highlights from the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival, which is celebrating 12 years of bringing new musicals to the stage. Here are some concerts and workshops that working actors and musical theater lovers alike shouldn’t miss! “Tom Kitt and Friends,” July 13 at PTC Performance SpaceThis one-night only concert from composer-lyricist Tom Kitt, whose award-winning shows include “Next to Normal” and “If/Then,” will feature various singers from projects old and new—and a special guest or two! $27.50 for individual tickets. “Women of Note,” July 20 at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box TheatreCelebrate the women of musical theater! This annual Nymf event honors “the ladies who are making theatre sing,” including performances of songs by the likes of Lynn Ahrens, Barbara Anselmi, Kait Kerrigan, and this year’s Tony-winning honorary chair Jeanine Tesori. $27.50 for individual tickets. “Under Construction: Nymf’s Next Broadway Sensations,” July
See full article at Backstage »

Broadway Proves a ‘Fun Home’ at the 69th Annual Tony Awards

The best of Broadway took Radio City Music Hall by storm on June 7 to celebrate the 69th annual Tony Awards. Co-hosted by Tony winners Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, the ceremony gave top honors to Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s “Fun Home,” which became the first winner for best musical in Tony history written by an all-female team. Alison Bechdel, whose graphic memoir provided the source material for “Fun Home,” said after the ceremony that although she wishes her late mother and father could see it, “in some weird level of reality, my parents are ecstatic about this play.” Other big winners included “The King and I,” which won for best musical revival, costume design, featured actress Ruthie Ann Miles, and leading actress Kelli O’Hara, who finally received her first Tony after six nominations. “Be who you are, period,” she said after tap dancing off the stage. “It
See full article at Backstage »

Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford celebrates groundbreaking women on Broadway (Video)

Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford celebrates groundbreaking women on  Broadway (Video)
"I think to make a life for yourself in the theater takes great perseverance," said actress Annaleigh Ashford after winning Best Featured Actress in a Play at the Tony Awards for the revival of "You Can't Take It With You." -Break- Tony Awards winners: Show by show In a big year for women in theater, which also included the first female writing team to win a Tony for Best Score (Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron for "Fun Home"), Ashford says, "I believe the theater is also a place for change, it's also a grounds where conventions can be broken, and it's so funny that so many women are breaking those conventions this year. Two years ago, Cyndi Lauper won the Tony for Best Score, and she was the first woman to win Best Score, and I remember that being such a milestone. It's great to continue to see women continuing the trend.
See full article at Gold Derby »

Tony Awards 2015: Winners List

  • Moviefone
The 69th Annual Tony Awards honored Broadway's best and brightest on Sunday, June 7 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. A slew of star-studded nominees, including Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan, were in attendance as Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming shared the event's hosting duties. Find out the big winners below!

Best Musical

Fun Home​ - Winner

An American in Paris

Something Rotten!

The Visit

Best Play

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Winner


Hand to God

Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two P

Best Revival of a Musical

The King and I - Winner

On the Town

On the Twentieth Century

Best Revival of a Play

​Skylight​ - Winner

The Elephant Man

This Is Our Youth

You Can't Take It With You

Best Direction of a Musical

Sam Gold, Fun Home - Winner

Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!

John Rando, On the Town

Bartlett Sher,
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2015 Tony Award Predictions, Will it be 'Fun Home' or 'An American in Paris'c

Here is something a bit different for Rope of Silicon. Sure, we have award predictions for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, but that makes sense, considering this is site is 95% about movies. But there are plenty of other stories out there being told in theaters that get plenty of respect. Except these are stories performed live right in front of your face. So, I took it upon myself to comb through the absurd amount of categories of the Tony Awards, which is this Sunday June 7, to give you my predictions on what will win. I am doing this not just because it is fun to predict things and hope I get them all right, though that is certainly part of it, but I also want to shed light on these projects that a lot of people don't know about. Film and television people often have on blinders when
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Pocahontas' Judy Kuhn Remixes "Colors of the Wind'' to Celebrate Disney Film's 20th Anniversary: Watch!

Pocahontas' Judy Kuhn Remixes
This video clip is definitely giving us flashback memories of watching Disney VHS tapes when we were children! In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Disney classic Pocahontas, Judy Kuhn, who was Pocahontas' singing voice in the '90s flick, is remixing the movie's theme song "Colors of the Wind." The awesome video starts out with the message, "To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney's Pocahontas, Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori and star Judy Kuhn (the original singing voice of Pocahontas) have some fun with 'Colors of the Wind.'" Tesori plays the piano while Kuhn sits next to her and belts out the classic jam. But this version isn't exactly like the...
See full article at E! Online »

Stage Door: "Fun Home" & "An American in Paris"

The Tony Award Nominations are exactly one week from today, so we really ought to talk about the musicals that might be vying for top honors. Both of today's topics have movie connections, albeit one more tenuous than the other. Both are also likely nominees in the Best Musical category, which is the Best Picture of the Tony Awards. Yes, there are 3 other top prizes (Play, Revival of a Play, Revival of a Musical) but Musical is the most coveted prize and the one with arguably the biggest impact on legacies and box office. Ten musicals are eligible in this category for the 2014/2015 season and I'd be surprised if these two won't comprise half of the four-wide nominee list. 

The cast of Fun Home, now playing on Broadway

Fun Home

Historians will have to suss out when The Bechdel Test became a ubiquitous topic online, but it's definitely become just that.
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