Actresses' Franchise League, AIDS in LA Theatre, ‘Arts for Everyone' Program and More Local, National, and International News to Inspire, to Stir, and to Entertain

The Lemon



PODCASTS - The Belle's of 'Disney's Beauty and the Beast': Interviews with Susan Egan and Yvette Lawrence

5 Star Theatrical‘s production of Disney's Beauty and the Beastis playing at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza until July 29, 2018 and Better Lemons recorded two podcasts, one with Susan Egan and one with Yvette Lawrence-Bishop. read more and listen to the Podcasts here

Audio Interview: Ryan McCartan - Diggie Smalls on Disney Channel's Original Comedy Series, Liv and Maddie stars in ‘Mutt House' at Kirk Douglas Theatre

Mutt House is the story of quirky outsider Eddie Corbin. Bullied all his life, Eddie has finally found a place to call home — a neglected downtown animal shelter. When the city threatens to close the shelter, Eddie must do something he's never done before: stand up for himself and fight for what's right. With the help of six zany mutts, he faces his fears and makes an unexpected human connection in the process. This life-affirming musical, in the tradition of Annie, is filled with singing and dancing fun for the whole family. listen to the podcast here

‘She L.A. Arts' Launches with July Theatre Festival Highlighting Original Works by Female Playwrights

She L.A. Arts is thrilled to announce The 2018 She L.A. Summer Theater Festival from July 25-29 at the Zephyr Theater, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046.

Since its launch in 2015, the renowned She NYC Arts has produced 21 full-length shows from women playwrights, earning praise for its commitment to discovering and cultivating some of the best up-and-coming talent in the theatre world through its open submissions festival.

Now they're coming to Hollywood. read more here

“A Quiet End” at International City Theatre. (Photo by Shashin Desai)

AIDS and Los Angeles Theatre

The AIDS virus was not readily apparent to the Los Angele theater community in the early 1980s. On June 5, 1981, UCLA-based immunologist Dr. Michael Gottlieb published a report put out by the Centers for Disease Control, noting the unusual cases of five men who had contracted a form of pneumonia normally found only in those with severely weakened immune systems. The report was the first official notice of what is now recognized as HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency) and it was generally ignored. Gottlieb (who became Rock Hudson's doctor in 1985) first identified AIDS with the late Dr. Joel Weisman of Sherman Oaks in 1982. Later, in a June 4, 2016 Press-Enterprise article written by Laurie Lucas and Susan Abram, Gottlieb confided, “Back then, it was a mystery. We knew very little about the virus. In fact, at the very beginning, we had no certainty it was a virus.”

When AIDS began infecting members of the Los Angeles theater community, many became alarmed but were completely at a loss as to what they were dealing with. Actor/writer/director/socio-political activist and journalist Michael Kearns, like many others at the time, mistakenly believed they just might be dealing with a homosexual plague. “An early name for AIDS was GRID—Gay-Related Immune Deficiency,” he recalled. read more here

Stephen D. Rountree

Center Theatre Group Managing Director Stephen D. Rountree Will Step Down

A 40-year veteran of Los Angeles premiere arts organizations, Rountree will retire in March 2019.

Stephen D. Rountree, who has served as the managing director of the Center Theatre Group since 2015, has announced that he will retire from his role March 31, 2019.

From 2002 to 2014 Rountree was president and CEO of The Music Center, simultaneously serving as CEO of the Los Angeles Opera from 2008 to 2012.

“For 40 years I have had the great privilege to be in senior executive positions at four of Los Angeles' leading arts organizations, including Center Theatre Group,” Rountree said in a statement. “I will turn 70 next March, and I feel this is the time to step aside and allow myself to spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren.” read more here


Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (Photo courtesy of North Shore Center / HANDOUT)

Northlight Theatre Launches ‘Arts for Everyone' Program

In a bid to increase access, program will provide blocks of free tickets to every show in the 2018-19 season to break down barriers to theatre and to diversify audiences.

CHICAGO: Northlight Theatre has announced a new initiative, “Arts for Everyone,” aimed at breaking down barriers to accessing theatre so that it can reach a broader, more diverse audience. In partnership with various community partners, Northlight will offer a block of free tickets to every production in the theatre's upcoming 2018-19 season, starting with the season opener Curve of Departure in September. read more here

Theatre as Therapy

As an activist and a trauma survivor, Emily Aviles '19 is always looking for new ways to find healing.

When she first came to Hamilton, she planned to major in creative writing, but everything changed after she took her first theatre class.

“At first, writing was my only outlet for the feelings and experiences that I couldn't vocalize,” she said. “But when I found theatre, it was like a whole new way of thinking. It helped me build the social and developmental skills that I wouldn't have had if I hadn't been exposed to that kind of environment. It was a special kind of healing—being silly with people, being vulnerable, creating something that has value.” read more here


Cher, Reba, HAMILTON Creators, And More To Receive Kennedy Center Honors

The John F. KENNEDY Center for the Performing Arts today announced the selection of four Honorees who will receive the 2018 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS for lifetime artistic achievements, and a special Honors distinction for a work of art and its co-creators. Recipients to be honored at the 41st annual national celebration of the arts are: singer and actress Cher, composer and pianist Philip Glass, Country music entertainer Reba McEntire, and jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. This year, the co-creators of Hamilton-writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire-will receive a unique KENNEDY CENTER HONORS as trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category. read more here

Samuel French Awards Will Honor THE SECRET GARDEN, Doug Wright, & Antoinette Nwandu; Christine Ebersole, Sierra Boggess, & Amber Iman to Perform

The world's leading theatrical publishing and licensing company, Samuel French, announced today that The Secret Garden (writing team Lucy Simon & Marsha Norman), Doug Wright, and Antoinette Nwandu will be honored at the third annual Samuel French Awards. A special acknowledgement will also go to Heidi Ettinger, originating producer and Tony Award-winning set designer of The Secret Garden. Created to recognize the great work and unparalleled passion of theatre artists, as well as applaud their significant contributions to the industry, the Samuel French Awards will be presented in a private ceremony on Monday, October 29, 2018. read more here


Academic and actor Naomi Paxton, who has written a detailed account of the Actresses' Franchise League's work and history

Actresses' Franchise League: The 100-year-old feminist theatre coalition that's inspiring writers today

In 1908, at the Criterion Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus, a group of actresses, creatives and theatremakers decided to form a group. In the beginning they had one goal: votes for women. As its remit expanded over the next 50 years, 900 women would become active members of the Actresses' Franchise League.

Inez Bensusan, who founded the Women's Theatre in 1913, a venue run entirely by women – on stage, backstage and front of house – was one of the key figures of the league. Others included: Margaret Morris, founder of Celtic Ballet and Scottish Ballet; Italia Conti, who set up the performing arts school that bears her name in 1911; and Nancy Price, who founded the People's National Theatre in 1930. The women who formed, and then joined, the league as campaigners, met like-minded creatives and began an output of their own women-led work. read more here

Carey Mulligan in Girls and Boys at Royal Court, London – Audible co-produced its New York transfer earlier this year. Photo: Mark Brenner

Amazon-owned Audible reveals plans to produce UK theatre shows

Amazon-owned audiobook giant Audible has revealed plans to produce live theatre productions in the UK.

This follows a move into producing in the US, where Audible co-produced the New York transfer of the Royal Court's Girls and Boys, starring Carey Mulligan. read more here

The art installation Wake, by Mel Chin, in Times Square, New York. Photo: Howard Sherman

Howard Sherman: Augmented reality offers exciting new possibilities for theatre

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald declared that the director of Opera Australia “is staking much of the future and reputation of the national opera company on a digital revolution designed to immerse audiences and create an experience more akin to watching a movie than traditional opera”.

To deploy a shopworn phrase usually applied to shows where the story is weak but the physical production stunning, it sounds as if there's a desire to have Sydney opera-goers come out humming the scenery. read more here