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When Students Won’t Do the Reading

Reading this story from IHE recalled my undergraduate class with Austin Quigley (then the chair of the U.Va. English department), who had us write about the newly-published Stoppard play Hapgood. This was in about 1989 or 90, so it was not possible to Google for a plot summary. Even looking up contemporary reviews would have meant a trip to the library microfilm reader. On the day we were to discuss the play — the…

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ALL ABOUT ‘ARCHIE’ – Jason Robert Brown

A few years ago, my daughter got to perform in a Stage Right summer camp production of 13: The Musical. The show’s dark humor and tween angst, and stunning performances by the young cast, made it one of my favorites. Here is a thoughtful essay written by the show’s creator, about one of the lead characters, Archie, who is bullied and ostracized for having a terminal disease (but who is…

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What Jane [Austen] Saw: 1796 Shakespeare Gallery

You are invited to time travel to two art exhibitions witnessed by Jane Austen: the Sir Joshua Reynolds retrospective in 1813 or the Shakespeare Gallery as it looked in 1796. These two Georgian blockbusters took place, years apart, in the same London exhibition space at 52 Pall Mall (it no longer exists). When Austen visited in 1813, the building housed the British Institution, an organization promoting native artists. On her…

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Final week of Pict Classic Theatre’s Oliver Twist (NEXTpittsburgh)

Today is Carolyn’s day off from Oliver Twist… the show’s final week starts tomorrow, and ends with two shows on Saturday Dec 19. Now, the iconic story of Oliver Twist makes its U.S. premiere in a production with local ties and significance for one Pittsburgh-based theater company. If you have yet to catch PICT Classic Theatre‘s Oliver Twist—which opened on December 3rd—you have six more chances to experience this timeless tale of redemption, charity and…

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The Complete Deaths: all of the Bard’s 74 scripted deaths in one new play.

Over the past four centuries, the brutality of Shakespeare’s plays has become the subject of endless academic study, but his contemporary critics didn’t approve of the on-stage gore. Michael Dobson,  director of the Shakespeare Institute, said that Elizabethan drama was known for being gruesome: “The English drama was notorious for on-stage deaths; they were thought crass. For neo-classical critics, deaths should be off-stage.” Should Crouch and his cast deploy the deaths…

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PICT Classic Theatre presents a gritty version of Charles Dickens’ classic

Post-Gazette.com – Homer, Shakespeare, Cervantes – whatever their genres, the great authors were always great storytellers. Victorian novelist Charles Dickens (1812-70) belongs in that elite company, and although he wrote little for theater, he had a very high dramatic sense and there have always been those to adapt his wonderful stories for the stage. ‘Oliver Twist’ Where: PICT Classic Theatre at Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland. When: Through Dec. 19; 8…

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PICT’s ‘Oliver Twist’ Offers a Different Kind of Holiday Punch

The first review I’ve seen. My daughter plays one of the kids in Fagin’s gang. The adaptation trims a few sub-plots and whittles out some characters, honing it to two and half hours that run well. Some of the novel’s best dialogue is kept, including the famous line “the law is a ass.” Good new stuff has been added, both in Stanford’s script and by the child actors who, says…