Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Here's a musical riddle that has kept people guessing for over a century.

English composer Edward Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, ('Enigma') op. 36 is one of England's most beloved musical works. It's commonly known as the Enigma Variations.

In the latest battle involving the works of Harper Lee, the author's estate is suing producer Scott Rudin over the script of an upcoming Broadway play of To Kill A Mockingbird.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Alabama, Lee's estate complains that the new production by Rudin and writer Aaron Sorkin deviates too much from the novel.

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett scores the new Broadway musical Escape to Margaritaville, about the shenanigans at  a Caribbean bar that's an escape for vacationers. Howard Shapiro reviews the new musical this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am (3/16 and 3/17). 

Actor, author and theater director Simon Callow discovered a whole new side to composer Richard Wagner when he was asked to create a stage show to celebrate the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth in 2013, and now Callow has turned his discoveries into a book, Being Wagner, which was just released in the U.S.  This Saturday (3/17), A Tempo host Rachel Katz chats with Callow about his thoughts on this musical giant, including how his darker side, including his seemingly obsessive focus on anti-Semitism, has colored the way his music has been, and should be, received.

A Tempo this Saturday (3/10 at 7 pm) features an interview with Marshall Onofrio, Dean of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts, about Rider’s plans to sell Westminster Choir College to Beijing-based Kaiwen Education Technology Co. Host Rachel Katz will also speak with Constance Fee, a member of the Westminster Alumni Council, about hopes and concerns about the plans. 

Where Does Hollywood Go From Here?

Mar 6, 2018

Actress Frances McDormand took to the stage at the 90th Academy Awards and delivered a stirring speech that ended in one surprising zinger: “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen — inclusion rider.”

An inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contract that requires the production they’re working on to hire a certain percentage of diverse cast and crew, if the production wants that actor to stay on board.

As part of its Festival devoted to the cultural and social legacy of the 1960s, Carnegie Hall will celebrate the art of the protest song in an upcoming concert that will feature both protest songs of that era and contemporary songs that explore some of today's campaigns for social justice. 

Barbra Streisand talked about women in Hollywood and national politics in an interview this week for Variety. But the remark that seems to have drawn the most attention is the star's revelation that two of her dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, have been cloned from her late dog, Samantha, a conspicuously adorable fluffy white 14-year-old dog who died last year.


In celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein's birth, the Curtis Institute of Music, Opera Philadelphia and the National Museum of American Jewish History have teamed up to examine how Bernstein explored questions of identity through his late opera A Quiet Place.

A Beijing-based company that runs bi-lingual K-12 schools in China and has been expanding into sports and arts training is seeking to buy Westminster Choir College from Rider University for $40 million.

The announcement by Rider this week of the non-binding agreement with Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co. was the first time the university has revealed the name of the interested party or a price tag. No further time line was detailed, and additional details of the agreement were not made public.


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

George Li is a young pianist on the rise. At age 10, he gave his first public concert and at 15, he won a silver medal at the revered Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Li recently released his debut album on a major label and has been fielding offers, performing with some of the world's great orchestras.

John Corigliano is one of America's most acclaimed composers. He's won a Pulitzer, an Oscar and five Grammys, and he's still hard at work, having turned 80 on Feb. 16.

As part of its commitment to supporting new American music, Opera Philadelphia next week will premiere Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that delves into the realities and facets of life as a black man in America. Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by poet Terrance Hayes, the work will have its world premiere Feb. 20 in a performance by bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who has been tapped as an artistic advisor to Opera Philadelphia.

There's a big, glittering musical in a classic key on Broadway again, where the townspeople of Yonkers sing and dance, the New York Central train toots steam and the audience starts standing in ovation from the moment the big-name star takes the stage.

She says she was born doing it. He says a schoolboy crush got him interested. Years later, their mutual love for their shared art form has brought them critical acclaim, awards, magazine covers — and each other.

Jerry Bergman is sitting in the audience at a Broadway matinée performance of The Band's Visit. Despite the fact that a huge sign above the stage tells the audience — in English, Hebrew and Arabic — to turn off cellphones, Bergman is keeping his on so he can read closed captions while watching the show.

He is one of an estimated 48 million Americans who have some degree of hearing loss. And he is availing himself of new technology that allows deaf and hearing-impaired people to enjoy shows with something most people have in their pocket — a smartphone.

For Daniel Breaker, who plays the sardonic, soulful Aaron Burr in Broadway's Hamilton, the kitchen is the room where it happens.

Jan Regan

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Carnegie Hall recently announced their 2018-2019 season plans, and this week on A Tempo (Sat. 2/10 at 7 pm) host Rachel Katz provides a look at what's in store. 

If any feminist walks the walk, it's author, actress and activist Eve Ensler, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues. In 2009, Ensler went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help victims of rape and torture create a sanctuary called City of Joy.

That's when her own life got upended.

By the time Angels In America got to Broadway in 1993, after workshops, a pair of west-coast stagings, and an ecstatically received London production, it played like the smash audiences had heard it was.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

The renovated Helen Hayes Theater reopens in a few weeks, and also enlarges the scope of non-profit producers on Broadway. Howard Shapiro explains more about it this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am. 

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