Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

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.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:


Jessi Franko Designs LLC

In an effort to expand its reach to new, particularly younger audiences, The Princeton Festival has announced a new "Young Friends of the Princeton Festival" program. This week on A Tempo (6/9 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with CJ Ru, the Princeton Festival's director of operations, about this program, which includes discounted tickets on select performances  of the Festival's opera production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and a drink at intermission to those between the ages of 21 and 40.

Lincoln Center is reviving "My Fair Lady" on a grand scale, and this week Theater Critic Howard Shapiro reviews the musical. Listen Friday (6/1) at 8 am and Saturday (6/2) at 10 am. 

McDowell Colony

Dan Moses Schreier has spent more than three decades crafting the soundscapes of plays and musicals, including the current revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh," for which he received his fifth Tony Nomination.  This Saturday (6/2 at 7 pm) A Tempo host Rachel Katz interviews Schreier about how he goes about creating the aural atmosphere of a stage production and how advances in technology have created new challenges and opportunities over the years. 

 

No doubt, this was something famed illusionist David Copperfield hoped would go away. However, unlike one of his magic acts, he couldn't just make it disappear with the wave of a hand.

On Tuesday, a jury in Las Vegas found Copperfield negligent but not financially responsible for an injury suffered by British tourist Gavin Cox, who says he slipped and fell while acting as a "volunteer from the audience" during an illusion in Las Vegas in 2013.

One of the oldest and most distinguished Spanish language theaters in the U.S. is housed in a converted Manhattan brownstone. "It started actually as a private house," explains Robert Federico, executive producer of Repertorio Español.

The space is tiny — rickety wooden stairs lead backstage and small props are stored in the hallway. The sets are designed to be stashed flush against walls behind black curtains.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The #MeToo movement has been a cultural reckoning across industries, from Hollywood to restaurants — but one of the oldest that's been affected is classical music. In March, James Levine, a longtime conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, was fired for allegations of sexual misconduct. And now, centuries-old works from Carmen to Don Giovanni are being challenged for misogynistic plots and themes.

Rosalie O’Connor

Discussions on how to break through the glass ceiling in the arts are growing, and this week on A Tempo (5/26 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz explores a new initiative by American Ballet Theatre to support the work of female choreographers, called Women's Movement. Featured guests are ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and choreographer Jessica Lang, one of the choreographers whose work will be included in next year's season. 

Barbara Cook On Piano Jazz

May 25, 2018

This week's Piano Jazz remembers Barbara Cook (Oct. 25, 1927 – Aug. 8, 2017), the Tony and Grammy Award-winning lyric soprano who was a favorite of audiences around the world. She was a star on Broadway as an ingénue and became a staple of the New York cabaret scene in the later years of her prolific career.

Don't call Thea Musgrave a "woman composer."

"When I'm composing, I'm a human being," she insists. "It's not a question of sexuality."

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