The Top 10 BFA Acting Programs in the Country for 2017-18

This is usually a time where college seems to be on everyone's mind. Whether it's incoming freshmen getting ready to move into their residence halls or high school seniors preparing their applications, college is a constant discussion. 

For theatre students, where you attend can certainly have an impact on your career with the type of training you receive. It's also important to note that while each school listed here is excellent, a college degree doesn't guarantee success nor is one required to become successful in this industry. 

Contemporary Writing Techniques I Want To Promote Part II

Quick-changing set pieces

These have tremendous advantages and again are used already very widely. Having simplistic but multi-dimensional set pieces, for instance blocks that fold out or have different colours on various sides, can make a piece of theatre both more slick-looking and more emphatic. If there are fewer things to look at in a set, those things become instantly more important because they draw more focus. In a grandiose Edward Gordon Craig inspired set, there'll be loads to take in, to the point where the design means something as a whole, and creates a strong impression, but has less specificity in memory. If all one sees on stage is a keyboard, its meaning and implications run with the story and character and serve to empower them. 

When You Have a Nemesis: Actors and Envy

Something terrible happened to me the other day, followed by something wonderful, and I am ashamed to tell you about both things. I debated before writing this blog post because I wasn’t sure I wanted you to know this about me, but ultimately I found that one of the bizarre urges that motivated me as an actor (namely, to reveal unsavory personal truths) also motivates me as a writer and advocate for actors. Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself in my pettiness, and perhaps you’ll tell me so, and we’ll both come out of it feeling less petty, less alone, and with a better understanding of human nature that will inform our work. That’s my intention, anyway, and the actor’s life is nothing if not a constant attempt to balance intention and uncertainty. So, with that in mind, gird your loins: this ain’t gonna be pretty.

Acting Really is That Exhausting (So Please Forgive the Actors Who Can’t Make it to the Stage Door)

It’s only fair to allow actors to do the same without demanding that they come visit fans when they have no energy to do so. They need time to rest. Emotions are exhausting. Making sure that the actor recovers safely from their performance is also crucial – some actions and emotions that result from those actions can overwhelm the body, and the body doesn’t know the difference between an actor’s behavior as the person versus as the character. Making sure the body recovers and the actor is safe is important.

As an Autistic Playwright, I Don’t Mind If Autistic Characters Are Played by Non-Autistic Actors

If you’re reading this column as someone who is already familiar – to some extent or another – with my writing, then you are probably aware that I have Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism that has occasionally caused me to have some struggles throughout my academic life (despite the stereotype that exists for people with Asperger’s, I am TERRIBLE at math) and – far more significantly – has admittedly contributed to issues I’ve had over the years with both making and sustaining friendships and relationships over the years. It’s also led me to develop certain obsessive behaviors at times, which I’d like to think I’ve turned into a plus as an adult, as I focus my obsessions on my work as a writer – most especially my playwriting – nowadays.

8 Musicals Nickelodeon Should Do Next

Walking through Times Square the other day, I saw the SpongeBob SquarePants signs on the marquee of the Palace Theatre, and I was reminded: oh, yeah, Nickelodeon is coming to Broadway. About bloody time. Now, while I wish SpongeBob luck, as I do any musical just starting out, if I’m honest, it’s not what I would have chosen for Nickelodeon’s Broadway debut. I grew up and did my Nickelodeon watching in the 1990s (the best time, in my opinion, to have been watching Nickelodeon), and while I caught the beginning of SpongeBob’s amazingly successful run, I was a bit too old to become the kind of fan I was of Nick’s other shows. This is why I have given some thought, of late, to which of those shows I think Nickelodeon should turn into musicals.

What Works and Doesn't Work with 'For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday'

"I wrote For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday as a gift for my mother,” says playwright Sarah Ruhl in the program notes for the current production of For Peter Pan, currently playing at Playwright's Horizons. Later she mentions that Peter Pan author J.M Barrie wrote the classic book for the five children that inspired the story. The Peter Pan parallels begin in the program notes and continue all the way until the end of this 90-minute play.

Contemporary Writing Techniques I Want To Promote Part I

Before I start, I want to make it clear that I do not believe these styles of playwrighting are either superior or inferior to more naturalistic or traditional styles. What I want to do is share the exciting aspects of some of the stylistic elements I have encountered and use in my own writing that I think are worth being used more widely. I shall list three in this first part, and then another four in the next. So here we go. 

The White Supremacy & Male Gaze of 'Evita'

Evita is rock opera of contradictory proportions: the music is a hypnotic collision of songs that range from intricate and soaring to just plain weird; it is hailed as one of the greatest woman-centric musicals of its generation, but upon closer examination, uses the male gaze to place its supposed heroine on a shallow pedestal; it introduces Americans to a blind spot in contemporary world history, but ultimately dilutes the political and social climate of 20th century Argentina down to a superficial Cinderella story. In short, it is the quintessential example of two white men putting their words into the mouths of marginalized historical figures, a colonized story camouflaged under a smattering of pretty dresses and songs.