Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

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María Fernanda Papa was 4 years old when she and her family arrived in Miami. She'd begun dancing back home in Venezuela, and when she and her parents settled in the U.S., she asked if she could continue practicing ballet. Eventually, they found a spot for her in an "amazing school," says María, now 16.

Photo by Simon Annand

Of the 16 new productions opening on Broadway through the year’s end, 10 are plays rather than musicals. Theater critic Howard Shapiro runs down what's opening on Broadway this Fall on In a Broadway Minute Friday (9/13) at 8 am and Saturday (9/14) at 10 am.

A public meeting organized this past week by the Westminster Foundation, which opposes Rider University's plan to move Westminster Choir College's programs to its Lawrence Campus and sell Westminster's campus in Princeton, drew members of the public concerned about the choir college's future. This Saturday on A Tempo (9/14 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz reports on some of the concerns that were raised by speakers, students and members of the community.

With a season-opening concert slated for Saturday, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians and its management are still locking horns over details of a new contract agreement. A bargaining session ended Monday night with no resolution, only a set of last minute proposals from management which players will vote on Tuesday night.


In western Colombia, the Petronio Alvarez festival is the big event of the summer — five days of music and food and fashion. More than 100,000 people travel from all over the world to the city of Cali, where they celebrate the culture of the country's Afro-Colombian Pacific region. It's a huge party.

Hildegard von Bingen has been recognized as a pioneer not only for her contributions to Western music, but also for her writings on science and medicine, and her advocacy for some reforms within the Christian church -- accomplishments that were no small feat for a woman at the time. Some of those themes are played out in a new musical now in development called "Hildegard - An Unfinished Revolution" that will be staged as a reading Tuesday Sept. 10 at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts.

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It's Monday night and performer Mark Shunock is where he comes alive — on stage.

"Hello, Mondays Dark!" he calls out to the audience of about 400 people. They cheer. "We have an amazing line up of talent that have given their time to be here tonight."

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In August 2018, NPR reported on two farmers from a small village in India who went viral for

It was two days before opening night, and director Kholoud Sawaf darted around the set, making sure every detail was in order. Jasmine and tuberose to perfume the air. The sound of birdsong. Lighting to evoke daybreak in her hometown, Damascus.

Every year, The Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy shines a light on the choices Americans make when contributing to charitable causes and organizations. A collaboration of The Giving Institute and Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy, the report analyzes and breaks down trends in charitable giving, both in terms the sources of donations and the sectors that receive the contributions.

Update: The CITES convention officially adopted the musical instruments exemption on Wednesday.

An international endangered species convention meeting in Geneva is close to exempting musical instruments from trade restrictions on rosewood.

The restrictions under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — commonly referred to as CITES — went into effect in 2017, after strong demand for high-end rosewood furniture in China led to conservation worries and violence in areas that produce the wood.

Julia Wolfe might be called America's "labor documentarian," but she's not making movies. She's composing music.

Everyone knows what a trumpet looks like: shiny brass. But the Instrument of Hope is mostly black.

Except for the lead pipe — the straight part that extends from the mouthpiece.

It's made of bullets.

"Bullets that were shot and fired out of a gun, cut up and pieced together," says Josh Landress, who made it.

Photo by Matthew Murphy


Controversy has seemed to follow pianist Ivo Pogorelich at every move, even from the beginning. In 1980, when the 22-year-old whiz kid from Yugoslavia failed to reach the final round of the International Chopin Competition, the revered pianist Martha Argerich, who declared him a "genius," stormed off the jury in protest. Naturally, the dustup helped launch his career. With a brooding pout, movie star looks and a high-powered record deal, Pogorelich was an instant celebrity.

Photo by Jessica Griffin

With orchestral seasons ready to being next month, A Tempo this Saturday (8/24 at 7 pm) looks ahead to season plans for The Philadelphia Orchestra and Princeton Symphony Orchestra. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Matías Tarnopolsky, who is beginning his second season as President and Chief Executive Officer, about the orchestra's strengths and continued commitment to community engagement.

Photo: Richard Hubert Smith


Broadway is coming off a record-breaking season, in terms of attendance and box office receipts. But this weekend and next weekend, five musicals, representing an investment of $95 million, will close.

Broadway attendance was up 14% between 2018 and 2019, generating $1.83 billion in ticket sales. But not everyone has been invited to the party, says Jeremy Gerard, who has covered Broadway as a reporter and critic for over three decades.

"It's been a great year for Broadway, and that's true if you're one of the producers of a blockbuster show on Broadway," he says.

Photo by Joan Marcus


Randolph Linsly Simpson African American Collection, James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

In 1807, a slave ship arrived in Charleston carrying Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim from Western Africa, who at the age of 37 was well-educated and literate in Arabic. Sold into slavery, he went on to write an autobiography, and his story will be brought to life on the opera stage next season at the Spoleto Festival.

From the Tudors to the Windsors, Britain boasts a lot of dynasties. But there's another British household that's becoming something of a musical royal family. The Kanneh-Mason family, with seven sibling musicians aged preteen to early 20s, is a classical clan filled with promising careers.

Think of a musical you may love from the past seven decades or so: West Side Story, Cabaret, Company, Follies, Damn Yankees, Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera, Evita. Hal Prince produced and/or directed all of them and many more.

"Not just the prince of musicals," Andrew Lloyd Webber said, but, "the crowned head."

A Black Lady Radio Interview

Aug 1, 2019

Comedian Robin Thede is a riot — and has been for years.

She’s had stints as a writer on scripted series and “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”, and has hosted her own late-night program, “The Rundown with Robin Thede”.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY THEME")

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

"The Addams Family" musical made its debut on Broadway in 2010. The story of a weird, ghoulish family that loves all things death, in song and dance.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The musical theater director and producer Hal Prince, winner of an unprecedented 21 Tony Awards, has died in Iceland after a brief illness. He was 91.

Prince worked on such major shows as Cabaret, Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera. But he was always looking forward to the next show, regardless of how the last one turned out.

In 1965, composer John Kander was working on a show that Prince produced called Flora, The Red Menace — and it was not going well.

At this year's edition of Just For Laughs, the world's biggest comedy festival held annually in Montreal, the headliners included Wanda Sykes, Kevin Hart and Hasan Minhaj.

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