In the News: Australian Production of The Phantom of the Opera Postponed, Steppenwolf Names New Co-Artistic Directors, More
Plus, watch the archival video of “Letters” from A.R.T.’s 2015 production of The Great Comet.
Read on for more theatre news you may have missed in today’s headlines.
Australian Production of The Phantom of the Opera Postponed
Opera Australia has postponed its upcoming production of The Phantom of the Opera, scheduled to open at the Sydney Opera House in September and the Arts Centre Melbourne in November, due to the indefinite COVID-19 lockdowns. OA hopes to reschedule the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical for 2022. The cast was scheduled to feature Josh Piterman in the title role, Amy Manford as Christine Daaé, and Blake Bowden as Raoul. Cameron Mackintosh said in a statement, “The consequences of COVID-19 continue to disrupt people’s lives worldwide, with spikes, lockdowns, and quarantine causing chaos in planning. Having got a wonderful Australian cast together for my new production of The Phantom of the Opera, due to open shortly with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, followed by the Arts Centre Melbourne, it is a huge disappointment, especially for the company and mostly sold-out audiences, that we have been forced by government restrictions to postpone the upcoming seasons. We very much hope that we will be able to confirm in the not-too-distant future that the production will open next year, by which time the vaccination rollout should be long completed and disruptions to theatre going will be an unpleasant distant memory.”
Steppenwolf Names Two Ensemble Members as Co-Artistic Directors
Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble members Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis will be stepping into the roles of co-artistic directors of the Chicago theatre, replacing Anne D. Shapiro, who leaves the position next month. Both actors got their starts at the School of Steppenwolf and became ensemble members in 2017. The new appointment continues Steppenwolf’s tradition of its artistic leadership being placed in the hands of ensemble members, but this is the first time co-artistic leaders have been appointed, and the first time the company has elected an artistic director of color. The pair plans to continue to center the ensemble in programming; operationalize the theatre’s commitments to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access; and advance the overall artistic vision for the institution.
HERE Announces 2021–2022 Season
The downtown theatre, HERE, has announced a 2021–2022 season of in-person, online, and outdoor programming, consisting of works from a variety of art forms including puppetry, storytelling, and concerts. The new season will begin with The Story Box written and performed by Suzi Takahaski and directed by Kristin Marting; followed by 9000 Paper Balloons, created by Maiko Kikuchi and Spencer Lott and directed by Aya Ogawa. The season will continue in 2022 with The Hang, a new ritual celebration rooted in jazz and operatic traditions, featuring book and lyrics by Tony nominee Taylor Mac, music by Matt Ray, and direction by Niegel Smith; and Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville, with music composed by Grace Galu, a libretto by Baba Israel, dramaturgy by Talvin Wilks, and co-direction by Israel and Wilks. Several festivals will also return to HERE, including SubletSeries, PROTOTYPE: OPERA | THEATRE | NOW, Puppetopia, and HERE RAW/Resident Artists Works. For more information, visit HERE.org.
Everybody’s Talking to Jamie
Performer, host, and Tony-winning producer Jamie deRoy will continue her tribute to Tony winners with archival performances airing on Jamie deRoy & friends, seen Monday nights at 8 PM ET on Spectrum HD Channel 1993 and Verizon FIOS Channel 37 as well as multiple times on East Hampton’s LTV. Tony Award Winners (Part 2), set to air July 26, will feature previous performances by Tony winners Debbie Gravitte, Rupert Holmes, Judy Kaye, Jay Johnson (and Darwin), Tonya Pinkins, and Paulo Szot. Proceeds from the events have benefited The Actors Fund: Jamie deRoy & friends Cabaret Initiative, which assists those in the cabaret industry who have medical needs and concerns.
Plus, check out the archival video below of the song “Letters” from A.R.T.’s 2015 production of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, featuring Lucas Steele, Denée Benton, Gelsey Bell, and Scott Stangland. The Dave Malloy musical was directed by Rachel Chavkin, with choreography by Sam Pinkleton.
Tune in alert: Two Matthew Bourne ballets, Cinderella and Romeo + Juliet, premiere on Broadway HD. Check out the Playbill Live Stream Calendar for details on this and more virtual programming.