Topics – HowlRound

May 20, 2013

What Price Idealism, or Who You Gonna Dance With?

One of my all-time favorite play titles is Christopher Durang’s ‘dentity Crisis. It’s minimalist genius: the personal crisis, the dropped “I.” Well, it’s ‘dentity crisis time in the nonprofit theater, but this time the “I” that got dropped stands for ideals or, maybe, idealism. It stands for impulse, as in the original one, and individual, as in individual aesthetic, the thing that makes it possible to distinguish one institutional theater from another, which is now a bit like taste-testing brands of milk. In fact, to read Diane Ragsdale’s air-clearing report on a 2011 confab between producers from America’s commercial and nonprofit worlds, the “I” fell off somewhere back In the Intersection,that crossroads where the art theater meets the money one.  Read More

March 27, 2013

One for All and All for One and Every Man for Himself

I take my title today from that great triumvirate of American philosophers: Moe, Larry, and Curly, known in poststructuralist circles as Les Trois Stooges. With unerring precision they captured the complicated essence of American life—and by extension American theatrical life—in their expert revision of the motto of Alexandre Dumas’ three Musketeers: “One for all and all for one.” To which the incisive Curly added, “And every man for himself.” Yes that’s my subject, the one and the all, for each other and for themselves. In the spirit of the Stooges, I will digress whenever possible, including now, before I get to the point.  Read More

The Weekly Howl is a peer-produced, open-access discussion about theater culture and contemporary performance that happens on Twitter using the hashtag #newplay.*

Join us Thursday, February 21 for the Weekly Howl on hashtag #newplay at 11am PST – 12pm PST (San Francisco) / 1pm CST – 2pm CST (Chicago) / 2pm EST – 3pm EST (New York) / 19:00 GMT – 20:00 GMT (London).

December 5, 2012

A Lover’s Guide to American Playwrights: Stephen Adly Guirgis

New York’s LAByrinth Theater Company announces a new Stephen Adly Guirgis play. My pulse goes jumpy. It’s a curious thrill in the oh-so-appropriate American theater, this combo of playwright and acting company, a hundred plus super-talented, hyper-expressive, hottie lunatics with scary-easy access to their emotions, dancing to the music of their own piper/playwright/co-artistic director, as they’ve done every few years since the late nineties.  Read More

April 6, 2012

Podcast: New Dramatists Van Lier Fellows

From Top Left: Van Lier Fellows Jackie Sibblies Drury, Brian Otaño and Charise Castro Smith's David Dower recently interviewed current New Dramatists Van Lier Fellows Jackie Sibblies Drury, Brian Otaño and Charise Castro Smith for his podcast on  Read More

April 5, 2012

A Lover’s Guide to American Playwrights: Harvey Fierstein

Harvery Fierstein accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 New Dramatists Spring Luncheon

In a couple of weeks I’ll take my not-quite-five-year-old son to see his first Broadway musical: Newsies. This means that, among other things, I’ll be exposing him, before anything else, to a show whose book is written by a playwright, performer, and drag artist named Harvey Fierstein. I like the thought of that.  Read More

November 21, 2011

A Lover’s Guide to American Playwrights: Lisa D’Amour and Melissa James Gibson

Mid-career is that moment most playwrights find themselves at the edge of an abyss. The moment can last years, during which the excitable support our field bestows on emerging and early-career writers dries up and playwrights who have finally developed the chops to write their mature works often leave the theater for the rewards and empowerment of TV or the stability of teaching. Playwrights have been calling for help through this rough passage for some time.  Read More


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