What We’re Reading

Welcome to What We’re Reading, in which we’ll share with you some of our favorite articles about theater and performance from all around the internet this week. 

We talked a lot on the blog this week about commercial theater being dominated by revivals or corporations – in short, everything but original work. Related to that, I loved this piece on Crazytown by Sam Perwin: “You Wish To Go To The Festival?” The quality of shows within any festival can be a mixed bag, but in a way, that’s exactly what makes them important. The short piece explores why festivals are an important stage in the development and production process. Whether you’re thinking of submitting your work to a festival or just attending one, it’s a great read.

Disability Is Not Just a Metaphor” by playwright Christopher Shinn (writer of one of my favorite plays, Dying City) for The Atlantic is a very compelling and important read about the representation of disability in theater, film and television. Notably, there’s a line in The Cripple of Inishmaan that calls attention to disabled actors losing out to non-disabled actors for disabled roles – a line that the recent Broadway production played with a wink to its own decision to do the same. It’s time to stop acknowledging that such casting decisions are implicit in the entertainment industry and start giving disabled performers equal representation.

I also recommend a pair of articles about the early closing of Holler If Ya Hear Me. First, an interview with its star, Saul Williams, in Rolling Stone describes the ways the show was doomed from the start. And in HowlRound’s “Where Broadway At?: Meditations On the Closing of the Tupac Musical,” Idris Goodwin provides some context, explaining why rap music doesn’t fit into the jukebox musical mold and arguing why audiences should be open to shows with a structure other than the one they’ve grown accustomed to.

Finally, “When Reality Comes With a Score” by Erik Piepenburg in The New York Times talks about the recent emergence of musicals about people who live inside musicals – think Stranger Than Fiction but with more production numbers. One such musical is called The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes and is written by NMT’s own Kooman & Dimond. It’s an interesting exploration of where this genre emerged from. I was also so excited to read about the different outreach programs theaters are using based on these shows – it’s meta on meta!

Have an article you think we should check out? Leave it in the comments below!

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