Theater and Dance
Interview with conductor William Barkhymer: “I think the world is just thankful we had Gershwin to compose Porgy and Bess”
By Barry Grey, 25 April 2018
“For me, Porgy and Bess is about a community, the people, how they interact with each other, how they hold together in good times and bad times.”
At the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
By Margot Miller, 12 April 2018
The Enlightenment ideas in Shelley’s novel speak forcefully to a modern audience, who can empathise with something created as an articulate rational being and reduced by society to a “monster.”
At the University of Michigan
By Barry Grey, 7 March 2018
Given the generally deplorable state of culture and intellectual life in contemporary America, it was perhaps inevitable that this remarkable event would be tarnished by the purveyors of racialist conceptions of art.
By David Walsh, 3 November 2017
Skeleton Crew takes place in the breakroom of a Detroit stamping plant threatened with closure “somewhere around year 2008.”
By David Walsh, 17 October 2017
The present world situation and the situation in the US in particular were clearly on the minds of the director and the student-actors.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 June 2017
Allusions to Donald Trump in the current production of Shakespeare’s play have been followed by a right-wing campaign of intimidation.
Production at Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company
By Nick Barrickman, 16 May 2017
The production is visually compelling and makes an attempt to place the Shakespeare classic within the context of modern political and social developments.
By David Walsh, 19 April 2016
WSWS writers Sybille Fuchs, Stefan Steinberg and David Walsh recently spoke to the author of a valuable new biography of the famed German playwright and poet.
Stephen Parker’s Bertolt Brecht. A Literary Life—a welcome biography that raises big historical issues
By Sybille Fuchs, 18 April 2016
One of the most talented and influential playwrights of the 20th century, Brecht adapted to Stalinism, with pernicious consequences for his career and work.
By Robert Fowler, 19 February 2016
The playwright raises some important issues and then proceeds to skirt them, leaving the audience with little more than a banal liberalism.
By Adam Mclean, 16 February 2016
Students at the Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles tackle the deadliest industrial disaster in US history in an honest and compelling work.
By Fred Mazelis, 7 November 2015
The opera was written in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and expressed the composer’s devotion to the ideals of the Enlightenment.
Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican in London
By George Marlowe, 5 November 2015
The weight of our time is felt, even if unevenly, in the overall mood of the recent production of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch.
By Fred Mazelis, 2 July 2015
H. Lawrence Freeman (1869-1954) was active as a composer, conductor and teacher, but his work was rarely performed during his lifetime.
By Kaye Tucker, 21 April 2015
Seymour’s most successful play The One Day of the Year is one of the very few that challenges the myths surrounding Anzac Day.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 November 2014
John Adams’s opera is a worthy addition to the contemporary operatic repertory.
By Fred Mazelis, 12 June 2014
A one-man show in New York reveals something of the man behind the myth about an iconic figure in jazz history
By Richard Phillips, 26 April 2014
The play effects concern about the plight of psychologically and physically wounded soldiers, while whitewashing the Australian military and covering up the criminal nature of the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan.
By David Walsh, 2 December 2013
Irish playwright O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, first performed at the famed Abbey Theatre in Dublin in May 1924, is set in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.
By Sandy English, 15 August 2013
A recent production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, featuring veteran actor John Turturro, brought life to Henrik Ibsen’s 1893 play.
By Fred Mazelis, 4 July 2013
The Classic Stage Company in New York recently staged a limited run of Bertolt Brecht’s last major play.
By Jack Miller, 30 April 2013
In Race, a wealthy white man is accused of raping a black woman. He turns to a law firm run by two male partners—one white and one black—and asks them to defend him.
By Fred Mazelis, 26 April 2013
A play based on the lives of Jack and Madeline Gilford makes the 1950s witch-hunts and the struggle against them come alive.
By Robert Fowler, 19 April 2013
Old Hats is a highly entertaining night out at the theater for people of all ages. Veteran performers Bill Irwin and David Shiner splendidly bounce off each other for the one hour and 50 minute show.
By Sybille Fuchs, 30 March 2013
A new play, staged by an experimental ensemble in Bielefeld, movingly recreates the hopes of and hardships suffered by the Soviet population in the early 1920s.
By Robert Fowler, 16 January 2013
At the center of Odets’ Depression-era play is Joe Bonaparte (Seth Numrich), a gifted violinist. Bonaparte, however, is equally adept as a boxer and therein lies the play’s central drama.
By Fred Mazelis, 23 November 2012
The third in a series of plays set in Rhinebeck, New York, Sorry reflects a certain retreat from critical issues.
By Robert Fowler, 20 October 2012
In Adam Rapp’s new play, terrorists (or perhaps not) have taken over New York City, and a woman hides out in her Lower East Side apartment.
By Jordan Shilton, 13 October 2012
Set in Dundee, Scotland in the late 1930s, Sharman Macdonald’s play recounts the struggles of a group of working class women and their families to make ends meet.
By Robert Fowler, 4 October 2012
A revival of Edmond Rostand’s well-known 1897 comedy-drama, Cyrano de Bergerac, opens on Broadway October 11.
First Irish Theatre Festival in New York City
By Robert Fowler, 17 September 2012
The central figure in Pat Kinevane’s one-man effort is a Dublin homeless man, whose brother committed suicide years before.
By Robert Fowler, 6 September 2012
Based on the children’s book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher was adapted for the stage by Rick Elice and made its Broadway debut in April 2012.
By Vicky Short and Antoine Lerougetel, 11 July 2012
Valley of the Shadow concerns itself with life in small village in Yorkshire at the time of the First World War.
By Vicky Short and Antoine Lerougetel, 11 July 2012
Award-winning actor and playwright Jack Shepherd was born in Yorkshire in October 1940. As well as acting, writing, producing and directing, he also plays the saxophone and jazz piano.
By Richard Adams, 7 July 2012
Director David Fofi delivers a powerhouse production of Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss.
By Richard Adams, 29 June 2012
This solid production of American playwright Arthur Miller’s classic drama of the consequences of religious hysteria still resonates, while reminding us of the anti-communist witch-hunts of the McCarthyite era.
By Barbara Slaughter, 13 June 2012
The new play by Helen Edmundson is based on the relationship between Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) and her father, radical journalist and philosopher William Godwin, between 1813 and 1816.
By Barbara Slaughter, 13 June 2012
The WSWS recently spoke to playwright Helen Edmundson, whose play on the life of Mary Shelley is currently running in London.
By Fred Mazelis, 23 May 2012
The Caretaker tells a story of self-delusion and loneliness, through an incident involving two brothers and a homeless man who appears in their lives.
Strindberg & Cinema in Los Angeles
By Richard Adams, 21 May 2012
The Strindberg & Cinema Festival in Los Angeles featured two films that Ingmar Bergman made for Swedish television: his version of August Strindberg’s A Dream Play (1963) and his portrait of a theater director, After the Rehearsal (1984).
By Ognjen Markovic, 16 May 2012
Maja Pelevic and Milan Markovic have created a play They Live (Oni Zive) exposing the hollowness of the political system in Serbia.
By Richard Adams, 26 April 2012
Cody Henderson’s new play takes on the would-be manipulators of public opinion and their personal and family relations.
By Richard Adams, 18 April 2012
Good People is a play about social class in America. Class perceptions, stereotyping and divisions permeate every scene and almost every moment.
By Richard Adams and Ramón Valle, 14 April 2012
The production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice now running at Theatre Banshee in Burbank, California is vibrant and refreshing.
By Malcolm Day, 9 April 2012
Dust: Scargill’s dreams, and reality, Britain 1984-2012 received its English premiere at the Barnsley Civic theatre March 15-17.
By Richard Adams, 26 March 2012
Andrew Dolan’s play, currently on stage in Los Angeles, attempts to address racial stereotyping, identity politics and the academic world.
By Sybille Fuchs, 19 March 2012
The award-winning German director Andrea Breth has staged an outstanding but rarely performed Soviet play at the Düsseldorf Theatre, Isaak Babel’s Marya (1935).
By Fred Mazelis, 2 March 2012
The greatest American opera is presented in a new musical version on Broadway.
By Robert Fowler, 22 February 2012
The Broken Heart, by English playwright John Ford (1586-c. 1639), is currently playing Off Broadway at the Duke Theater on 42nd street in New York City, as part of Theater for a New Audience’s current season.
By David Walsh, 13 December 2011
A conversation with distinguished Australian actor and director John Bell, who founded the Bell Shakespeare theatre company in 1990.
By Robert Fowler, 15 November 2011
The first play by actor Jesse Eisenberg is apparently his effort to combat “political correctness,” among other things. The result is muddled.
By Richard Adams, 31 October 2011
Journalist George Packer’s play considers the fate of three Iraqi translators and collaborators with the American occupation.
At the Public Theater in New York
By Fred Mazelis, 3 October 2011
This is the second play in a projected trilogy by Richard Nelson dealing with ordinary events in the life of a family centered in the town of Rhinebeck, New York.
By Joanne Laurier, 23 July 2011
Heartbreak House is the featured work this year at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011.
By Fred Mazelis, 21 July 2011
On July 12, City Opera artistic director George Steel held a news conference to announce that the company would stage a total of only four productions in the 2011-12 season, to be held at three different venues around the city.
An Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism: Tony Kushner looks at the decay of the “left”
By Fred Mazelis, 20 July 2011
Playwright Tony Kushner’s most recent work takes up unusual subject matter: the decline of trade unionism and the American Communist Party.
By Richard Adams, 30 May 2011
The Chinese Massacre (Annotated), written by Tom Jacobson, directed by Jeff Liu and presented by Circle X Theatre Company at the Atwater Village Theatre, Los Angeles. April 22-May 28, 2011.
By Peter Daniels, 29 December 2010
In the latest of a series of accidents and resulting injuries that have plagued the forthcoming musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” now in previews in New York City, a 31-year-old actor was hurt December 20.
By J. Cooper, 30 November 2010
The Signature Theater revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America brings this well-known play back to the New York stage to mark the 20th year of the theater, as well as the 25th anniversary of the year in which the drama takes place.
By Ann Talbot, 2 September 2010
Danton’s Death, the famed play by German writer Georg Büchner, follows the conflict which took place in March and April 1794 within the “Mountain”—the most revolutionary wing of the French National Convention.
By Fred Mazelis, 6 April 2010
Shostakovich’s first opera, The Nose, recently received its premiere production at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, more than 80 years after it first appeared.
By Sybille Fuchs, 23 March 2010
The huge cuts being made in the sphere of culture in Germany are an indication of the bourgeois establishment’s low regard for the arts.
David Hare at the National Theatre
By Paul Stuart, 22 December 2009
In the wake of the ongoing crisis, the British theatre has sought in a number of pieces to address the meltdown of the financial system.
Stockwell, by Kieron Barry
By Paul Bond, 29 September 2009
A review of Kieron Barry’s play Stockwell: The Inquest into the Death of Jean Charles de Menezes.
At the Globe Theatre in London
By Ann Talbot, 18 September 2009
Trevor Griffiths’ A New World: A Life of Thomas Paine brings to the stage an 18th century figure who made a significant contribution to both the American and French revolutions and whose writings have continued to influence revolutionary movements ever since.
By Fred Mazelis, 19 June 2009
Ruined, by Lynn Nottage, is set in a Congolese brothel during the civil war that has raged for most of the past decade in that impoverished African nation. It has strengths, but also serious problems.
England People Very Nice, by Richard Bean, at the National Theatre, London
By Paul Bond, 29 May 2009
Richard Bean’s latest play England People Very Nice fails both artistically and politically.
By Richard Adams, 18 May 2009
Kevin King’s The Idea Man, now receiving its world premiere with the Elephant Theatre Company in Hollywood, CA, leaps exuberantly into the gulf between labor and management.
Vince Melocchi’s Lions at the Pacific Resident Theatre
By Richard Adams, 1 April 2009
Lions is set in a neighborhood tavern in Detroit. The play treats the lives of a group of working class football fans, as their team disappoints them once again, and their economic and personal prospects darken.
By Jack Miller, 18 February 2009
Andrew Moodie’s new play Toronto the Good opened at Toronto’s Factory Theatre on January 31, offering audiences an intelligent, entertaining and lively evening of theatre.
By Ann Talbot, 18 February 2009
Academy Award winning writer Trevor Griffiths speaks about his new play A New World: A Life of Thomas Paine, which will be produced at London’s Globe Theatre this summer. It is an adaptation of his screenplay These Are The Times: A Life of Thomas Paine, and will dramatise the life of an outstanding revolutionary whose works retain an intense relevance for today.
By Richard Phillips, 24 November 2008
In Spitting Distance is an emotional and at times darkly ironic exploration of the situation facing a Palestinian actor/playwright in Ramallah, Paris and Tel Aviv in 2002.
“Good theatre makes you ask questions”
By Richard Phillips, 24 November 2008
In Spitting Distance, a one-man show performed by Khalifa Natour and directed by Ofira Henig, was recently staged at the Sydney Opera House. Henig and Natour discussed the production with Richard Phillips.
By Paul Bond, 11 September 2008
The death of the restlessly brilliant Ken Campbell, aged just 66, has robbed the theatre of one of its most inspiring talents. He was instantly recognisable: a short, bald man with increasingly unruly eyebrows, possessed of an extraordinary speaking voice, once compared to an exhaust pipe with a broken silencer. He did take some commercial television work in sitcoms and soap operas, and some small film parts, but his reputation was established on the basis of the singularity of his own theatrical vision.
Opera for everyone
By Verena Nees, 29 July 2008
Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, July 4 to August 1, 2008; conducted by Willie Waters; directed by Angelo Gobbato; the opera will also be performed at Den Norske Opera, Oslo, August 9 to August 29
By Sandy English, 4 June 2008
Paris Commune, written by Steven Cosson and J. Michael Friedman, directed by Steven Cosson, and performed by The Civilians at the Public Lab Series Workshop at the Public Theater in New York City, April 4 to 20
By Peter Daniels, 12 April 2008
The musical adaptation of an 85-year-old play by American writer Elmer Rice has drawn praise from critics and a strong response from theatergoers in New York City, where it opened in February. “Adding Machine” was produced in Chicago and brought with its cast and creative team to Off-Broadway’s Minetta Lane Theater.
By Ann Talbot, 21 February 2008
Trevor Griffiths has just published a screenplay for a film about the life of the eighteenth century revolutionary Thomas Paine. He wrote the screenplay for the film Reds with Warren Beatty and has a long list of television and theatre plays to his credit.
21 February 2008
A great film yet to be made
By Ann Talbot, 21 February 2008
Trying to understand
By Paul Bond, 14 February 2008
Tom Green’s The Death of Margaret Thatcher, at the Courtyard Theatre, London N1, through March 2
To explore another level of society
By Richard Phillips, 11 December 2007
Writer and director Adam Broinowski spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about Hotel Obsino, which was recently staged at the La Mama Theatre as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. (See Hotel Obsino: inner-city poverty and despair)
By Richard Phillips, 11 December 2007
Hotel Obsino, written and directed by Adam Broinowksi, was staged at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, an alternative annual arts festival held for three weeks in late September.
19 November 2007
The following correspondence was sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to the article, “An evening with Brian Wilson” and two subsequent letters, posted here and here.
The Palace Theatre in Manchester, England—September 23, 2007
By Robert Stevens, 24 October 2007
I have wanted to see Brian Wilson for a long time and got the chance to do so September 23 when he played Manchester, England on his latest tour.
By Hiram Lee, 22 October 2007
Directed by Peter Berg, screenplay by Matthew Carnahan
By Peter Daniels, 21 April 2007
Tom Stoppard’s trilogy The Coast of Utopia, near the end of its six-month run at Lincoln Center’s Beaumont Theater in New York City, is an unusual theatrical event. The aim of these three plays—Voyage, Shipwreck and Salvage—is nothing less than to depict the rise and early struggles of the Russian intelligentsia. This very small stratum, drawn largely from the most privileged layers of the population, was to play a seminal role in Russian and world history.
By Sandy English, 20 January 2007
My Name Is Rachel Corrie by Alan Rickman and Katherine Vinter, directed by Alan Rickman, at the Minetta Lane Theatre, New York City, October 15—December 30, 2006.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 September 2006
The Magic Fire, by Lillian Groag, directed by Jackie Maxwell, at the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, June 11 to October 8
Fifty years since the death of German playwright Bertolt Brecht
By Stefan Steinberg, 31 August 2006
Official Germany has long had an ambiguous attitude toward one of the country’s most gifted poets and dramatists, Bertolt Brecht, who died fifty years ago this month. During the period of the Cold War, Brecht was either heavily criticised or ignored by the vast majority of West German anti-communist critics and politicians, who sought to make political capital out of the artist’s choice to settle and work in Stalinist East Germany (GDR).
Honour Bound, co-designed and directed by Nigel Jamieson
By Richard Phillips, 23 August 2006
Honour Bound, a 90-minute multimedia performance co-designed and directed by Nigel Jamieson at the Sydney Opera House until September 3 and Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre from September 15 until October 1, dramatises the plight of David Hicks, a 31-year-old Australian citizen imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay for almost five years in violation of the Geneva Conventions and his basic democratic rights.
By Sandy English, 26 June 2006
No Child, written and performed by Nilaja Sun, directed by Hal Brooks, produced by the Epic Theater Center at the Samuel Beckett Theater, New York City
By Kaye Tucker and Peter Daniels, 16 May 2006
The History Boys first premiered in London in 2004 and won a host of awards. It has since traveled to Australia and the US. Reviewers from the WSWS saw the play in Sydney and in its current production in New York.
By Richard Adams and Ramon Valle, 13 March 2006
1984, world premiere, based on the novel by George Orwell; adapted for the stage by Michael Gene Sullivan; directed by Tim Robbins for the Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Station, Culver City, California, through April 8, 2006.
Chronicles—a lamentation by the Teatre Piesn Kizla
By Kaye Tucker, 10 March 2006
The Polish theatre company Teatr Piesn Kozla, (translated as The Song of the Goat Theatre Company) recently performed its award winning production of Chronicles—a lamentation, as part of the international presentations of this year’s Sydney festival.
By Fred Mazelis, 19 January 2006
The premiere of a new American opera is a relatively unusual occurrence. By one count, there have been about 200 such premieres in the past 15 years, but this compares with tens of thousands of performances of operatic classics during the same period by scores of opera companies, large and small, throughout the US. Moreover, of the 200 or so contemporary operas that have been produced, only a handful have been performed again since their original appearance. There is some hand-wringing, under these circumstances, over whether opera is a dying art form.
By Barry Grey, 14 October 2005
Harold Pinter, widely viewed as the most influential and accomplished playwright in postwar Britain, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday. The announcement by the Swedish Academy came as a surprise to media circles that speculate on the recipients of the Academy’s annual peace award and its awards for achievement in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, economics and literature.
Pera Palas, written by Sinan Unel, directed by Michael Michetti
By Richard Adams, 4 August 2005
Pera Palas, written by Sinan Unel, directed by Michael Michetti. Co-produced by the Antaeus Company and The Theatre at Boston Court. Boston Court Theatre, Pasadena, California. West Coast premiere. July 23-August 28, 2005.
22 June 2005
Jamie Chapman of the WSWS interviewed Elizabeth Ruiz, author of the play Death by Survival, in New York City where she resides, after the premiere of the play in San Diego.
Death by Survival, written by Elizabeth Ruiz, directed by Dori Salois
By Richard Adams and Ramón Valle, 22 June 2005
Death by Survival, written by Elizabeth Ruiz, directed by Dori Salois. World premiere presented by Vantage Theatre and Centro Cultural de la Raza at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego, California