Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

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Dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ARTHUR MITCHELL: I was the first black classical dancer with a major company in the United States of America.

The New York Philharmonic announced Sunday that it has taken action against two prominent musicians over unspecified "misconduct": the orchestra's principal oboist, Liang Wang, and its associate principal trumpeter, Matthew Muckey.

The orchestra said the decision came after a five-month internal investigation, led by a former federal judge. Both musicians dispute the Philharmonic's findings, and while the musicians' union reviews the orchestra's decision, the two have been placed on unpaid leave.

A Minneapolis Theater 'Prop God' Retires

Sep 15, 2018

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Ding dong merrily on high...

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Remembering Broadway Star Marin Mazzie

Sep 14, 2018

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One of Broadway's best-loved leading ladies has died. Actress Marin Mazzie died yesterday from ovarian cancer at the age of 57. Mazzie was known for her roles in the musicals "Passion" and "Ragtime." Jeff Lunden offers this appreciation.

Opera Philadelphia's annual Fall Festival, O18, opens September 20, continuing Opera Philadelphia's mission of presenting new works that explore diverse voices and themes, along with more traditional productions, and this week's A Tempo (Saturday 9/15 at 7 pm) provides a preview of one of the festival's centerpieces, "Sky on Swings" by Lembit Beecher.

When the sci-fi teen musical Be More Chill opened in New Jersey a few years ago, it got a ho-hum critical response. But then something surprising happened.

The cast recording and some YouTube videos went viral. Then came fan art, fan fiction and fan covers of the songs on social media.

When the show opened off-Broadway last month, it sold out entirely. In February, Be More Chill will move to Broadway.

At the Metropolitan Theatrical Awards in Mexico City, actresses in sequined floor length gowns and actors in tuxedos ranging from the debonair to the eccentric, walk the red carpet striking poses for photographers on a recent Tuesday evening at the historic Teatro de la Ciudad.

It is an unusual place for tensions over immigration and cultural identity.

Photo by Joan Marcus


Maryland Lyric Opera this month kicks off its 2018-2019 season, which will include its first fully-staged production since its founding in 2014. The season includes a concert performance of La Fanciulla del West in September and a staged production of Lucia di Lammermoor in January, as well as expanded opportunities to young singers through its Young Artist Institute. A Tempo this Saturday (9/8 at 7 pm) features a conversation with Music Director Louis Salemno about these programs and Maryland Lyric Opera's mission. 

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Photo by Matthew Murphy


Paul Taylor, one of the most prolific and influential choreographers in the world of modern dance, died Wednesday, Aug. 29. The cause was renal failure, the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation confirmed. He was 88.

The movements Taylor created on stage were inspired by everyday people doing everyday things, including doing nothing at all. It was an approach that at first turned people away — but he eventually turned them around.


Renée Fleming is becoming America's go-to singer. The celebrated soprano, who has performed at a broad range of high-profile events off the opera stage, is scheduled to sing at Senator John McCain's memorial service this Saturday at Washington's National Cathedral.

Fleming is slated to sing the Irish standard "Danny Boy" — at McCain's request — alongside tributes to the late Senator by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and a homily by Bay Area Catholic leader Father Edward A. Reese.

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Neil Simon, the enormously productive comic playwright who often adapted his work into screenplays, died on early Sunday morning. He was 91. The cause of death was complications from pneumonia, according to Bill Evans, his longtime friend and publicist.

Among the most prolific playwrights in American theater from the 1960s through the 1990s, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for Lost in Yonkers, which he said was his deepest play. But Neil Simon was better known for being funny.

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Louisiana-born fashion designer Billy Reid had his spring runway show yesterday in Florence - Florence, Ala. It's part of a weekend where high fashion meets Southern hospitality at Reid's annual Shindig in northwest Alabama. NPR's Debbie Elliott was there.

Jamie Bernstein can't call her childhood a typical one. On any given weekend, she might find Lauren Bacall, Isaac Stern, Richard Avedon, Mike Nichols, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Hellman or Sidney Lumet hanging out at her house. Jamie's father was Leonard Bernstein.

There has never been an American dynamo remotely like Leonard Bernstein. The composer, conductor, pianist, creator of musicals, educator, political maven and raconteur seemed to spin on his axis faster than any normal human being.

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Photo by David DeNee

A Tempo this Saturday (8/25) follows up on The Orchestra Now (TON), a Masters program launched at Bard College three years ago to train orchestral musicians, encourage them to explore new and overlooked repertoire, and enable them to blaze their own trails in the music world by creating new and innovative ensembles and education programs.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Minnesota Orchestra will play one of its most important gigs of the year this month — at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, South Africa. In doing so, it will become the first major U.S. orchestra to visit that city. The performance is part of a year of celebrations recognizing the centennial of Nelson Mandela's birth. It makes sense for the orchestra to play in the community central to the freedom struggle which brought down apartheid.

Chris Lee

A Tempo this Saturday (8/18 at 7 pm) concludes its conversation with Barbara Haws, archivist and historian for the New York Philharmonic, who is retiring this month after 34 years in the position. Haws next plans to pursue her Doctorate at Oxford, focusing on Ureli Corelli Hill, who founded the Philharmonic in 1842.

Host Rachel Katz will speak with Haws about some of the Philharmonic's iconic leaders, including Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein, as well as her plans to study Hill's diary and what can tell us about music and musicians in 19-century America.

Joan Marcus


Barbara Haws is retiring this month after 34 years as Archivist of the New York Philharmonic, and this Saturday (8/11) on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz will speak with Haws about what attracted her to this role, some of the historical highlights she has come across, and her accomplishments, including the digitization of much of the collection's materials to make them accessible online. Tune in Saturday at 7 pm. (Part two of this conversation will air next week.)

Charlotte Rae, who died Sunday at 92, was a seasoned performer by the time she landed the role of matronly housekeeper Mrs. Garrett on the NBC sitcom Diff'rent Strokes in 1978. She'd done musical theater, including Li'l Abner in 1956 and Pickwick in 1965. She'd released an album of satirical songs in 1955, and played Sylvia, the wife of Al Lewis' character, on Car 54, Where Are You? from 1961-63.

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