With The Beggar’s Opera, Gay invented a new form, the ballad opera, and the daring mixture of caustic political satire, well-loved popular tunes, and a story of crime and betrayal set in the urban underworld of prostitutes and thieves was an overnight sensation.
By Matthew Kennedy
The 5 December 2013 live broadcast of The Sound of Music became a ratings giant despite withering reviews from armchair critics everywhere. “Hate watchers” Twittered their derision with relish, while NBC laughed all the way to the bank. What was the draw?
Celebrate Halloween with Shakespeare and Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO)! Test your knowledge on which characters disguise themselves, what the witches say around their cauldron, why ghosts haunt the living, and who plays tricks in the night …
By Jill L. Levensen
In its fall preview issue for 2013 (dated 2-9 September), New York magazine lists Romeo and Juliet with other films opening on 11 October 2013, and it comments: “Julian Fellowes (the beloved creator of Downton Abbey) tries to de-Luhrmann-ize this classic.” The statement makes two notable points.
By Philip Schwyzer
What are we going to do with Richard III? More than a year after his bones were unearthed in Leicester, the last Plantagenet king is still waiting for a resting place.
By Hester Lees-Jefferies
Last month I sat in my favourite theatre, the Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon, watching Michael Fentiman’s excellent Royal Shakespeare Company production of Titus Andronicus. Titus is one of my favourite plays, loose and messy, blackly comic and oddly beautiful.
In Anything Goes, Broadway historian Ethan Mordden takes us on a tour of the history of Broadway musicals over the past 100 years. From classical shows to Bernadette Peter’s recent turn in the 2011 production of Follies, take a tour of the evolution of the musical through the years and “all that jazz” that is has captivated audiences for ages.
By Jessica Barbour
In a Reddit AMA session a few months ago, Bryan Cranston was asked when he thought his character on Breaking Bad broke bad. His response: “My feeling is that Walt broke bad in the very first episode. It was very subtle but he did because that’s when he decided to become someone that he’s not in order to gain financially. He made the Faustian deal at that point and everything else was a slippery slope.”
By Gus Gallagher
In the Autumn of 2011 I found myself at something of a loose end in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia, working with the Marjanishvili Theatre there on a production of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Unsure of what my next project might be, my attention turned to an old love, Shakespeare’s Henry V.
By Douglas Bruster
Why should we think that Shakespeare wrote lines first published in the 1602 quarto of The Spanish Tragedy, a then-classic play by his deceased contemporary Thomas Kyd? Our answer starts 180 years ago, when Samuel Taylor Coleridge—author of ‘Kubla Khan’ and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner—said he heard Shakespeare in this material.
By Daniel Parker
It’s that time of year again; Edinburgh is ablaze with art, theatre and music from around the world. For the month of August, Edinburgh is the culture capital of the world, as thousands of musicians, street-performers, actors, comedians, authors, and artists demonstrate their art at various venues across the city. Listed in Who’s Who and Who Was Who are some of the most famous names to have performed at the festival since its inception in 1947.
By James Steichen
When the Metropolitan Opera launched its high-definition broadcast initiative in 2006, hopes were very high. The basic concept was simple: the Met would offer live cinema broadcasts of its Saturday matinee performances to a network of movie theaters around the country.
By Scott Trudell
In the opening shots of Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad, a pair of khaki pants is suspended, for a tranquil moment, in the desert air. The pants are then unceremoniously run over by an RV methamphetamine lab with two murdered bodies in back. When the camper crashes into a ditch, the driver Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) gets out.
By Elizabeth Kendall
A hundred years ago in the summer of 1913, nine-year-old George Balanchine, then Georgi Balanchivadze, spent the last moments of normal childhood — in the country, in the forest by a lake — before he was abruptly brought back to St. Petersburg.
The International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama held annually in Cyprus during the month of July. Since its beginning in 1996, the festival has reimagined performances from the great Ancient Greek playwrights, so we dug into J.C. McKeown’s A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities for some of the lesser known facts about Ancient Greek theatre.
By Keith Johnston
Comedy is having a bit of a cultural moment. Everywhere you turn people seem to be writing seriously about comedians and the art of comedy. Tina Fey and Caitlin Moran are credited with setting the agenda for pop feminism, Marc Maron is hailed as a pioneer of new media journalism, Louis CK is mentioned in the same breath as Truffaut, and Tig Notaro is regarded as an “icon”…