Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this year unveiled some of the main components of its renovated musical instrument galleries, and this Saturday A Tempo (7/21 at 7 pm) takes us on a tour through some of the highlights.

One of Broadway's hottest tickets is coming to small screens: "Springsteen on Broadway" will be launched as a Netflix special this December.

The one-man show, which was written by Bruce Springsteen, earned him a Tony Award in June. Directed and produced by Thom Zimny, it has been a sensation in New York, where it's been seen by intimate audiences of less than 1,000 people per show at the Walter Kerr Theatre.


Muppets Head To London

Jul 13, 2018

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene with a guest.

MATT VOGEL: (As Kermit) Hey-ho. Kermit the Frog here.

GREENE: Hey, Kermit. OK, so the Muppets' first full-length European show this weekend in London. Are you excited? Wait. Where are you going?

NJSO

A Tempo this week (7/14 at 7 pm) visits with the four young composers participating in this year's New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, held this past week on the campus of Princeton University.

Composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, one of Britain's most influential contemporary classical figures, died Sunday, July 8, at the age of 66. His passing was announced by his publisher, Faber Music, but no cause of death was given.

When she was in her 20s, dancer Gesel Mason started emailing black choreographers she admired, asking them to create a solo for her. To her surprise, many of them said yes.

"I did not know I was making my life's work when I started it," she says. "I was just really interested in dancing with some choreographers."

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the performing arts organizations located in the city's deluged arts district faced some difficult challenges as they sought to keep their planned seasons intact. This Saturday on A Tempo (7/7 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz checks in with the Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera about how the hurricane impacted their plans, and how these organizations rebounded and worked around the challenges thrown at them throughout the season.

Editor's note: This story includes language that some may find offensive.

It was 1968. But playwright Mart Crowley felt he had to write what he knew.

"Nobody wanted the play," Crowley says. "Not even agents wanted to look at this play. They just thought it was pornographic and it was outrageous."

What he wrote in The Boys in the Band was a thinly veiled slice of autobiographical fiction. A group of gay friends gather for a raucous birthday party; by the end of the evening, secrets are spilled, tears are shed.

Nothing says "gentrification" quite like the opening of a Whole Foods.

That's the message, at least, of a new musical about the idea that a location of the largely organic, high-priced grocery chain could one day open in Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia neighborhood.

Anacostia lies east of the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C., in a part of the city that's historically been more impoverished and more heavily African-American than other areas.


NASA

Now in its seventh season, Off the Hook Arts' SummerFest in Fort Collins, CO, brings together music, visual arts and multimedia together with researchers and scientists to delve into a variety of timely topics, and this year's festival heads into the cosmos for "Mission Earth." A Tempo this Saturday (6/30 at 7 pm) looks at the highlights as host Rachel Katz speaks with composer Bruce Adolphe, who serves as Artistic Director and will premiere his work, I saw how fragile and infinitely precious the world is, based on the words of astronaut and meteorologist Dr. Piers Sellers.

After five years of vital funding, it looked like the end for the Doris Duke Artist Awards, one of the most prestigious — and sizable — grants in the United States available to artists working in jazz, contemporary dance and theater. A satellite initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, it reached that firm, five-year expiration date set in its inaugural year on June 30, 2017.

Patton Oswalt On Being Funny In Tough Times

Jun 25, 2018

Comedy is tough, but Patton Oswalt makes it look easy.

The Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian has released eight comedy albums and six stand-up specials. He’s also appeared in more than 50 movies.

By 2016, Oswalt had planned to take a break from stand-up when his wife — true-crime author Michelle McNamara — died unexpectedly.

Suddenly, comedy got much, much harder.

Oswalt eventually returned to the stage, finding a way to talk about grief that was moving and funny. He released his latest comedy special, “Annihilation,” last year.

Copyright 2018 CPR News. To see more, visit CPR News.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Max Richter's music seems ready-made for movies – and that's not in any way a put down. The music is powerful on its own, but certain pieces take on new depth when paired with well-designed visuals.


Here is a music video in which the things you don't see or hear are almost as important as the things you do.

Rider University this past week announced that it had signed a purchase and sale agreement to sell Westminster Choir College to a group of three entities affiliated with Beijing-based Kaiwen Education. This Saturday (6/23 at 7 pm) A Tempo looks at what the new agreement adds to ongoing discussions over the possible sale of the school and its future. Westminster this week was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. 

The Women's March and #MeToo movement have helped raise the volume for women's voices across the country. But one place where women still struggle to be heard is in America's symphony halls. Take a look at which composers the top U.S. orchestras are performing in the upcoming season, and you will find some surprising disparities.

PJ Morton, the keyboardist for Maroon Five, has a lot to say. At a moment when music and pop culture have become hyper-politicized, Morton has released a solo album. He says he wants it to do what other artists’ songs did during the civil rights era, and help push a movement forward.

You can hear an unplugged version of Morton’s new album here:

How does Morton work as both an artist and entrepreneur?

Playwright Arthur Miller was a giant of American theater and a champion of social justice. On stage, his iconic plays Death of a Salesman and All My Sons portrayed the American family with tight bonds and searing discord. Much of the tension he wrote about was between fathers and sons.

As it turns out, Arthur Miller was wracked by family turmoil of his own: He had a son with Down syndrome, and he and his wife kept the boy's existence a secret. That story is now a play, called Fall, that's having its world premiere at Boston's Huntington Theatre.

Fred Stucker

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra announced Sunday that Music Director Xian Zhang has extended her contract by four years, which will enable her to lead the Newark, NJ-based orchestra through its 100th anniversary and beyond. This Saturday on A Tempo (6/16 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with Zhang about her decision to commit through the 2023-2024 season, as well as with NJSO President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst. The program will also feature a conversation with José Luis Dominguez, who was named Artistic Director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras.

Auditions Begin For 'Hamilton' In Puerto Rico

Jun 13, 2018

Composer and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda begins his search Wednesday for the Puerto Rican cast of his Hamilton production that will take the stage on the storm-battered island in January 2019.

His father, Luis Miranda, Jr., flew to Puerto Rico to help with logistics and tweeted the call for actors: "Seeking men and women, ages 20s-30s, for the non-white characters as written and conceived for the currently running and upcoming Broadway, Chicago and touring productions HAMILTON."

The Tony Awards felt a little different this year than they have recently. It was a year without a Hamilton or a Dear Evan Hansen; there was no one original, out-of-nowhere show that came into the Tony Awards as a pop phenomenon. In fact, all four of the four nominated musicals were adaptations of existing properties: SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney's Frozen and the non-musical films Mean Girls and The Band's Visit.

Updated 3:35 p.m. ET

The largest actors' union in the U.S. has reached a tentative agreement with four television networks to try to eliminate the so-called casting couch, and prevent sexual harassment and assault. SAG-AFTRA struck a new deal with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, which limits private meetings in off-site locations, including hotel rooms and private residences.

Remember A Chorus Line? The immensely popular 1975 musical looked at the stories of some of the people who often work completely anonymously on Broadway.

Tonight, the 2018 Tony Awards — Broadway's highest honors — will be handed out in a ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. Lead and featured actors in plays and musicals will win prizes.

A Chorus Line was nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 1976, and won nine. But the performers in real-life choruses aren't even eligible to win.

When gunfire broke out at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in February, teacher Melody Herzfeld rushed into action. As shooting went off, she closed the door to her drama classroom, shouted instructions to students on what to do and waited for the rampage to end.

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