theatre


Paul Scofield, Oscar-winning actor, has died – Times Online

Sorry to have another obit but this is an actor I’ve always admired from when I first saw A Man For All Seasons to Martin Chuzzlewit and The Crucible.

Scofield’s presence was described as “monumental but reassuring” and his voice compared variously to a Rolls-Royce being started up and a sound rumbling up from an antique crypt.In his private life he avoided both the limelight and the party circuit, preferring instead to walk, ride and cycle around the area where he lived in Balcombe, West Sussex.He also savoured the wind and rain in his holiday home on a Scottish island. As the headlines once put it, he was “a very private actor”.

My kind of actor, my kind of person.

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Avenue Q – The National Theatre

I finally saw Avenue Q! The touring company is here in DC for a few weeks and a friend managed to get tickets for us. If it comes to your town, please see it. But don’t bring the kids – despite the Sesame Street looks, this is a musical for adults. Click on this link to see some video clips.

Today is also World AIDS day and the cast were collecting donations for Broadway Care/Equity Fights Aids and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. Also, please visit Light to Unite 2007 to light a candle — Bristol-Meyers Squibb will donate $1 to Aids charities for each lit candle (it’s free).

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As Stagehands Strike, Broadway Shows Don’t Go On – New York Times

Is there something in the air? First the Writer’s Guild strike and now this one. This is probably a popular (and potent) time to strike since the holidays are beginning and we are nearing the end of the calendar year.

The dispute has largely been over the rules in the contract that govern how many stagehands must be called for work, how long they work, and what kind of tasks they can perform. League members say the current rules invariably result in groups of stagehands on the clock with nothing to do.

This year the league, an organization typically weakened by its natural divisions between producers and the theater owners to whom they pay rent, has been determined to gain more flexibility in those rules.

Union officials have said they are open to changes as long as the new rules come with benefits of equal value in return. The league has proposed a package of raises, but James J. Claffey Jr., the Local One president, has said there is no way to determine the amount of stagehand work that will be lost under the looser rules that the producers are proposing. About a quarter of the 2,200 active members of Local One, who build scenery, maintain props and install and operate lighting and sound equipment, work on Broadway.

Stagehands fall into four wage categories. The highest-paid, like head carpenters and electricians, currently earn a minimum of $1,600 a week on a running show; stagehands in the lowest-paid category make a minimum of around $1,225. With overtime, additional work assignments and certain premium payments, wages can end up being quite a bit higher.

$1,225 per week is over $63,000 yearly and that’s not bad – at least not in DC. Perhaps in NYC that’s poverty level considering rents and all.

OK – so I don’t know all the details but I feel bad for all the people who are visiting NYC and may not get another chance to see a show.

Oh yeah – Happy Veterans Day.

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NPR : McKellen Takes On Another Dark Mountain: ‘Lear’

I would kill to see this production. I love Shakespeare and I’ve seen many productions (including McKellen as Richard III here in Washington DC). I suspect this will be one of the best performances of the season. It’s already sold-out in Brooklyn and it’s only going to Minneapolis and Los Angeles in the US.

The link is for the article and the radio broadcast which includes exerpts of the performance.

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