Quotable Reviews

    • “I’ve knocked everything in this show except the chorus girls’ knees, and there God anticipated me.”

      – George Jean Nathan on a musical in the 1920s.

    • “It is longeth and it stinketh.”

      – Caroline Alice Lejeune on Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, (1939).

    • “A bad play saved by a bad performance.”

      – George S. Kaufman regarding Gertrude Lawrence in Skylark, (1939).

Know Your Agreements!

A scene from "Avenue Q" @ Noel Coward theatre. (recast 12-07) ©Tristram Kenton 12/07 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

A scene from “Avenue Q” @ Noel Coward theatre.
(recast 12-07)
©Tristram Kenton

When I left college, I was pretty confused. I had started out as a performance major in classical voice and I ended up with a B.A. in English. The musical theatre question “What do you do with a B.A. in English?” really applied to me. After trying out a bunch of different jobs, I found security in what most people my age are doing when they graduate: working multiple arts jobs as an independent contractor and utilizing many skills at once. I found that I was able to make money, continue performing, and feel fulfilled working with organizations that embrace youth enthusiasm and talent in the arts. However, when I found that I was unhappy with a work placement years later, I was a little stuck.

Cock Eyed Optimist

I was in a vulnerable place when I graduated, as we all are! I also didn’t have any family members who were working as independent contractors in the arts. Looking back, I wish I had looked into the law and sought advice from my college professors. I jumped right into an arts gig without really researching the non-compete agreement I was signing.

Whenever you are signing as an independent contractor, you realize that you are signing on without employee benefits. Independent contractors aren’t entitled to workman’s comp in the event of an injury, no paid vacations, no taxes taken out of your paycheck, no health care, and if you are let go you receive no funds. It’s a risky thing to go into an agreement like that and arts people have big egos! My advice to you is to care for yourself and do all the research before you say yes.

calculator-385506_1280State By State

Rules about independent contractor agreements are different depending on what state you live/work in. Besides knowing about your rights as a contractor, you should know how the department of labor has worked with other constituents like you. Research cases on broken agreements and see if those agreements are even taken seriously in your state. Sometimes independent contractors are exempt. It’s difficult to approach a new job from a legal standpoint before you even begin, but take it from a girl who’s been burned: you may thank your past self later.

What advice would you give to your past self on these issues? Let us know at @AllTicketsInc on Twitter!

Satire through the Centuries

Sarah_Siddons_as_Euphrasia_in_The_Grecian_Daughter_1782

Sarah Siddons as Euphrasia in The Grecian Daughter, 1782

Sarah Siddons was born in Wales in 1755. She became one of the most prominent actresses of the 18th century, famous in particular for playing Lady Macbeth. She remains notable and memorable even today. The Sarah Siddons Society in Chicago presents theatre scholarships in her name annually.

Siddons made her first appearance in Dublin in 1784. An Irish newspaper, apparently, felt that the hype surrounding her over in London was out of control.
What follows is their writeup, as documented a century later in English As She Is Wrote, which was itself published well over a hundred years ago, in 1883.

“On Sunday, Mrs. Siddons, about whom all the world has been talking, exposed her beautiful, adamantine, soft, and lovely person, for the first time at Smock Alley Theatre in the bewitching, melting, and all tearful character of Isabella.

From the repeated panegyrics of the impartial London newspapers, we were taught to expect the sight of a heavenly angel, but how were we supernaturally surprised into almost awful joy at beholding a mortal goddess!

The house was crowded with hundreds more than it could hold, with thousands of admiring spectators who went away without a sight.

This extraordinary phenomenon of tragic excellence! this star of Melpomene! this comet of the stage! this sun of the firmament of Muses! this moon of blank verse! this queen and princess of tears! this Donellan of the poisoned dagger! this empress of pistol and dagger! this chaos of Shakespeare! this world of weeping clouds! this Juno commanding aspects! this Terpsichore of the curtains and scenic! this Proserpine of fire and excitement! this Katterfelto of wonders! exceeded expectation, went beyond belief and soared above all the natural powers of description! She was nature itself! She was the most exquisite work of art!

She was the very daisy, primrose, tuberose, sweet brier, furze blossom, gilliflower wall flower, cauliflower, auricula, and rosemary! In short, she was the bouquet of Parnassus! When expectations were so high, it was thought she would be injured by her appearance, but it was the audience who were injured: several fainted before the curtain drew up!

When she came to the scene of parting with her wedding ring, ah! what a sight was there! the very fiddlers in the orchestra, albeit unused to melting mood, blubbered like hungry children crying for their bread and butter! and when the bell rang for music between the acts the tears ran from the bassoon players’ eyes in such plentiful showers that they choked the finger stops, and making a spout of the instrument poured in such torrents on the first fiddler’s book that not seeing the overture was in two sharps, the leader of the band played it in one flat.

But the sobs and sighs of the groaning audience and the noise of corks drawn from smelling bottles prevented the mistakes between sharps and flats being heard. One hundred and nine ladies fainted! forty-six went into fits! and ninety-five had strong hysterics.

The world will scarcely credit the truth when they are told that fourteen children, five old men, one hundred tailors, and six common councilmen were actually drowned in the inundation of tears that flowed from the galleries, the slips, and the boxes, to increase the briny pond in the pit. The water was three feet deep. An Act of Parliament will certainly be passed against her playing any more!”

Source:
English As She Is Wrote: Showing Curious Ways in Which the English Language May Be Made to Convey Ideas or Obscure Them. A Companion to “English As She Is Spoke.”. New York: D. Appleton & co., 1883
View source here.

At the Theatre: To the Lady Behind Me

A.P. Herbert 1890-1971

A.P. Herbert 1890-1971

A.P. Herbert 1890-1971

Dear Madam, you have seen this play;
I never saw it till today.
You know the details of the plot,
But, let me tell you, I do not.
The author seeks to keep from me
The murderer’s identity,
And you are not a friend of his
If you keep shouting who it is.
The actors in their funny way
Have several funny things to say,
But they do not amuse me more
If you have said them just before;
The merit of the drama lies,
I understand, in some surprise;
But the surprise must now be small
Since you have just foretold it all.
The lady you have brought with you
Is, I infer, a half-wit too,
But I can understand the piece
Without assistance from your niece.
In short, foul woman, it would suit
Me just as well if you were mute;
In fact, to make my meaning plain,
I trust you will not speak again.
And – may I add one human touch? –
Don’t breathe upon my neck so much.

Old New York

This composition of 28 clips of New York City ranges from 1896 to 1905.  They are “the oldest surviving footage of recognizable parts of New York.”

The footage includes Times Square, The Hippodrome, Old Madison Square Garden, Union Square, and much more; even the time-lapsed demolition of the Star Theatre at Broadway and 13th street.

It includes a constant map on the left which shows you where you are in the city.

We recommend viewing this full-screen.

Thank you, Yestervid.

Source: Yestervid. December, 2014. Oldest Footage of New York City Ever.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQR-HKzESsM

Broadway in Brief

lightbulb_held_in_hand

  • The Lyceum is the oldest, continuously operating Broadway theatre in New York City.
  • Along with the Lyceum Theatre (both built in 1903), the New Amsterdam is the oldest surviving Broadway venue.
  • The Lyric Theatre, (previously known as the Foxwoods Theatre, the Hilton Theatre,  and the Ford Center for the Performing Arts) is the youngest.  It opened on January 18, 1998.
  • The Gershwin Theatre has the largest seating capacity of any Broadway theatre, with 1,933 seats.
  • The Helen Hayes Theatre, originally known as the Little Theatre, is the smallest theatre on Broadway, with 597 seats.
  • The Vivian Beaumont Theatre is the only Broadway Venue not in the Theatre District. It is located in the Lincoln Center complex on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a good twelve blocks north of the rest.
  • The Broadway venue that has housed the most Tony-Award winners for Best Play and Best Musical is the Richard Rogers Theatre, with Ten awards.

 

On Broadway

Festus Claudius "Claude" McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948)

Festus Claudius “Claude” McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948)

About me young careless feet
Linger along the garish street;
Above, a hundred shouting signs
Shed down their bright fantastic glow
Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

Desire naked, linked with Passion,
Goes trutting by in brazen fashion;
From playhouse, cabaret and inn
The rainbow lights of Broadway blaze
All gay without, all glad within;
As in a dream I stand and gaze
At Broadway, shining Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

Quotable

    • Orson_WellesI want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won’t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That’s what gives the theater meaning:  when it becomes a social act.

      – Orson Welles

    • 460px-Walter_Winchell_1960Broadway is a main artery of New York life – the hardened artery.

      – Walter Winchell

Quotable

  • robert_wilson-croppedTo me, what is important in the theater is that we don’t want to make a conclusion. We don’t want to make a statement, don’t want to say what something is. We want to ask, ‘What is it?’

    – Robert Wilson

  • Tallulah_Bankhead_1941If you really want to help the American theater, don’t be an actress, dahling. Be an audience.

    – Tallulah Bankhead

Poetry

Early Times Square

New York Haiku

“Excited tourists
stop and stare, awed by Times Square –
forget they have feet.”

Madeleine Begun Kane

 

And Yet Another

“I am willing to give you a show,
But are these all the rôles that you know?”
The manager cried.
And the actor replied,
“Sirrah! No, sir; I know ‘Cyrano’!”

Carolyn Wells