A roundup of some of this week’s theatrical news and notes from Theresa Rebeck, Signature Theatre, Taking Care of Our Own, La-Ti-Do, Center Stage, and Studio Theatre.
Theresa Rebeck: “Only about 24 percent of all plays produced across the country this season were written by a woman, living or dead. The numbers are unacceptable.”
We’ve been publishing interviews with women playwrights from the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Prolific playwright Theresa Rebeck (Smash, Seminar, Mauritius) isn’t among them, but her interview at Denver CenterStage on gender disparity, “Theresa Rebeck is not getting angry: She’s getting even” is worth a read as we change those odds for the next few months, at least. And you’ll learn about the Lilly Awards (named for Lillian Hellman), which she founded with Julia Jordan, and Marsha Norman.
Taking Care of Our Own Fundraiser Breaks Records: Fourth Annual Summer Hummer A Sexy Success
Washington, DC: August 17 – Last night, the fourth annual Summer Hummer added $30,000 to theatreWashington’s Taking Care of Our Own emergency fund for artists in need, exceeding last year’s total by $12,000.
A bawdy, burlesque fundraiser directed by Signature Theatre’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and choreographed by Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, Summer Hummer IV: Foreplay! put more than 100 dancers, actors, singers and musicians on the Signature stage for two marathon performances that ranged from stage favorites Bobby Smith and Evan Casey arguing over sexual positions in “You’re The Top,” to Donna Migliaccio relying on the ancient Kama Sutra as she sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”
Ticket income was enhanced by a scantily clad Bucket Brigade that solicited on-the-spot donations, and by some classic strip numbers that inspired a stream of one dollars bills to find their way into myriad forms of questionable clothing.
theatreWashington Acting Executive Director Brad Watkins commented, “It’s a perfect storm. You have absolutely the best performers and musicians from across the Washington area donating their time to rehearse and perform these jaw-dropping, hysterical, sexy numbers. And you have our deeply committed, theatre-savvy, generous audiences showing their support – all for this profoundly important initiative that we call Taking Care of Our Own. This year alone we’ve already distributed $22,366 to people in the theatre community who suddenly found themselves strapped, often because of medical emergencies. A night like this – there’s nothing like it.”
Donations to Taking Care of Our Own can be made at anytime. Why not make it a start-of-the-season to give something back to our theatre professionals? Here’s the link.
Tuesday night, September 1, La-Ti-Do, Washington DC’s weekly musical theatre and spoken word cabaret makes its debut at 54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club (254 West 54th Street).
Co-founders and hosts Don Michael Mendoza and Regie Cabico will present Elise Arndt, Madeline Cuddihy Mason Granger, Caroline Mahoney, Justine Icy Moral, comedian Vijai Nathan, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, Rob Rokicki, Jon Sands, Grant Saunders, Ava Silva and Tara Trinity.
The show starts at 9:30pm. Doors open at 8:45pm. There is a $25-$60 cover charge and $25 food and beverage minimum.
Details and tickets.
Winner of DC Metro Theatre Arts Special Award 2012-2014 and BroadwayWorld.com 2013’s Best Cabaret), Lat-Ti-Do began in 2012 at the Black Fox Lounge, and now performs in New York city and Washington, DC. You can catch their DC cabarets on Monday nights at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant and Bar.
Center Stage adds two operas from South Africa’s Isango Ensemble: Carmen and A Midsummer Nights Dream.
Both operas are original adaptations that reinvent these Western classics by setting them in South African townships with indigenous music and dance.
Carmen (Oct. 16-17) An opera based in a modern South Africa, Carmen combines composer Georges Bizet’s score with traditional South African music. This is the story of a magnetic gypsy woman who seduces, loves and ultimately destroys her lover and herself. Carmen explores issues of fame and wealth, the position of a strong and independently minded woman in a very masculine society, and the incomprehensible attraction between abuser and victim. A bawdy, passionate, vibrant tale with enormous warmth and heat, this hugely popular opera includes some of the greatest tunes ever written.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oct. 15) This operatic version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is faithful to the spirit of Shakespeare’s original story. Composer Benjamin Britten’s music captures an ethereal beauty to tell this story of fairies, Athenian lovers, and amateur actors.
Details and tickets: www.centerstage.org.
Studio Theatre finalized its season, adding Hedda Gabler.
Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler in a new version by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe (Terminus, Crestfall) will be the fifth show of Studio Theatre’s 2015-2016 Main Series. “We’ll do an occasional classic play at Studio, when it feels particularly contemporary and timeless,” says Artistic Director David Muse. “Hedda Gabler is a touchstone of modern drama—it’s endlessly fascinating, particularly in this adaptation, which blows all the dust off and makes the play strikingly modern. Director Matt Torney is chomping at the bit to direct it. It’s an ideal fit for his talents—I can’t wait to see what he does with it.” Torney, Studio’s newly appointed Associate Artistic Director, has previously directed Jumpers for Goalposts, The Walworth Farce, and The New Electric Ballroom at Studio.