Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

Conservative critics are attacking a production of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” that’s running in New York. The basics of the play are the same as they’ve been since 1599 — the title character is deemed “ambitious” and is murdered in the Roman Senate on the Ides of March. But that’s not what has drawn controversy to the latest production.

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Two major corporate sponsors have pulled their support for a New York City production of Julius Caesar. At issue: The titular role has an unmistakably Trumpian air. And, um, spoiler alert: He gets assassinated.

On Sunday night the spotlight will be on Broadway stars at the 71st annual Tony Awards. The evening also includes honors for some people behind the scenes — writers, directors and designers, for example — but there are many more, working backstage, who aren't eligible for Broadway's highest honor.

If you peek into the wings at a Broadway show, you're likely to find a stage manager, sitting at a desk with video monitors and lots of buttons and switches. He or she will be wearing a headset — sometimes called "the God mic" — to communicate with the cast and crew.

The 71st annual Tony Awards, which recognizes achievements in Broadway productions, will be held Sunday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Topping the list of nominees this year, with 12 nods, is the hit musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. It's somewhat based on Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and has been lauded by critics for its diverse casting, wildly innovative set and fresh take on a classic story.

The effort to keep Westminster Choir College intact and on its Princeton campus as Rider University seeks a buyer for the institution received a boost this week, as former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean Sr. stepped up as an honorary chairman of the movement.

So much high quality graced Broadway this season, it's hard to tell who will come out on top at the Tony Awards on Sunday night. Theater critic Howard Shapiro gives his Tony predictions this week on In a Broadway Minute. 

Fame Is A Boomerang

Jun 7, 2017

As far as flashy, oversize coffee table books go, opera star Maria Callas is a fitting subject. A larger-than-life figure, she had a complicated off-stage story that played out with as much searing drama as the operas she sang. With hard work and sacrifice, Callas vaulted to the top of her art while pushing it to new levels of intensity. In her personal life, she searched for love, found it, then lost it and died young.

Concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein has shared her love of classical music with children across America.

Now she’s working with a youth orchestra in Havana, after a highly unusual recording session.

What’s it like to play Mozart, after midnight? And could American-Cuban cultural exchanges like this continue

if the Trump Administration reinstates travel restrictions between America and Cuba? We’ll discuss.

GUESTS

Simone Dinnerstein, Concert pianist

Objects in the Mirror, a new play from American playwright Charles Smith, seems ripped from the headlines. It's about a young man who escapes war-torn Liberia only to confront new dangers and an identity crisis in Australia, the country where he found shelter.

Westminster Choir College Professor James Jordan presents some of the recent research about the science of the human voice and how it can be applied to choral singing and teaching in the new book, The Anatomy of Tone, written together with some of his colleagues, and this week on A Tempo (Saturday 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will chat with him about some of these findings. Jordan will also discuss two of his other upcoming books - The Conductor as Prism, and Inside the Choral Rehearsal.

The much admired movie Groundhog Day is now a musical on Broadway, starring the magnetic Andy Karl. Hear theater critic Howard Shapiro's review this week on “In a Broadway Minute”. 

On a sidewalk in the Village in downtown Manhattan, an African-American woman leans on her elbows and knees, wearing only black underpants. Scrawled in black marker all over her body are the words "Ain't I a Woman?"

Across the street, another woman lies face down, sunbathing on a large sheet of tinfoil. The sentence "White Supremacy Is Terrorism" is inked across her white skin, which is turning pink under the hot sun.

Nearby, a young, black man is kneeling. His body is wrapped in duct tape inscribed with the phrase "Black People Die in Public."

It all started when a director and producer from a tiny theater in Portland, Ore., posted a message on Facebook; he was outraged that the Edward Albee estate wouldn't grant him rights to produce Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because he'd cast a black actor in one of the roles. His post went viral, and a firestorm ensued.

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