Welcome to Theatre Play by Play!

Wempty-theatre-300x225hen it comes to great theatre, those who can’t do, watch.  I watch.  As often and as much as I can, I go to the theatre and I watch and I have for decades.  I once spent 30 days in London and saw 28 plays.  (I had a student discount and a student’s energy then).  I love it all (well, I love a lot of it) — I know most of the words to most of the big Broadway musicals, I love Shakespeare and O’Neill and much of Tennessee Williams.  I’ll always love classic traditional theatre, of course, and I get blown away with everyone else when I see it done shockingly well by David Cromer or totally reimagined by Mary Zimmerman.  And the tail end of the 20th Century gave so many great plays to modern theatre that the list is too rich to fairly pick favorites (Arcadia, Proof, ART).  But my true love is New Works. I want to explore and write about the process of nurturing a piece of theatre from some point after conception by the writer to some point of development on the stage.

The definition of New Work and those “points” will by necessity be fluid, because the process seems to vary substantially (and, to make sure I can write about whatever I want and still fit this mission).  I want to go to New Works Festivals and readings and see what’s happening and watch pieces move from staged readings to production.  If there’s music involved, I want to see how integral it is to the story; I want to know the different whens and hows of the bookwriters and lyricists and composers and choreographers and directors working together and working with the performers, and affecting each other and the work.  I want to see the evolution process, not just the result. I want to follow some emerging playwrights and directors and see their work change and grow.  In this space I hope to share whatever I can find out about the people, places and processes involved in creating exciting new works for the theatre.

Here are some of the future posts you can expect to see here:

  • Impressions from the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit
  • “The North Pool”:  Best New Play of the 21st Century (so far)
  • Final Weekend of the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays
  • TheatreWorks* and Its New Works Initiative
  • Watching “Somewhere” Bloom — a non-theatre professional’s account of the process of mounting TheatreWorks’ recent production of Matthew Lopez’s play “Somewhere”
  • Why Do Most of the Theatre Artists I Know Seem to Have the Same Agent?  Or, Who is this Seth I Keep Hearing About?

. . . and many more.

* TheatreWorks will be a recurring presence in this blog.  I have been an active member of the Board of Trustees of TheatreWorks of Silicon Valley since 2008 and expect to continue my association for a very long time.  My trips to new works festivals and play readings are always partly at least as a scout for material for a possible TheatreWorks season.  Conversely, I love my association with TheatreWorks in part for the greater access and connection to the theatre world at large as well as for the great art we do in California.  So, please forgive any bias that may be apparent;  I’ll try at least to disclose it.




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  1. Mike Starring
    Feb 8, 2013

    Bravo on the blog! Check out ‘The Perfect American’ by Philip Glass at Teatro Real. It is an opera, but theater at it’s best.

  2. Jane Hamlin
    Feb 8, 2013

    This is great and I will follow it with relish!

  3. Bruce Chandler
    Feb 9, 2013

    How exciting! I’m looking forward to reading your posts on the New Works Initiative and the coming TheatreWorks productions.

  4. Gabbie Glick
    Feb 16, 2013

    Love it! Look forward to continuing to hear about new works from your wonderful perspective! Thanks so much for creating such a fabulous venue!

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