John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC


One-Act Play Festival at Sand Lake Center for the Arts
Playwrights are invited to submit plays of 15 minutes or less for consideration for inclusion in the Sand Lake Center for the Arts One-Act Play Festival. All plays will be TANYS adjudicated, and monetary prizes of $100, $75 and $50 awarded to the three adjudicated as best written.
AND, here’s the challenge. Plays must have some connection with the prompt “COLD”. It can be a theme, a characterization or simply a word-cold heart, cold day in hell, cold shoulder, cold war, someone suffering from a cold, a woman putting on cold cream-or you may have a play that just mentions, “It’s cold outside”. Be as creative and as clever as you want.


This is the third and final part of the collaboration between The Canal Cafe Theatre & Russell Lucas in the 2016/17 American Season.
The Scheme:We seek applications from writers who have an initial idea for a 60 minute play inspired by the current American political climate. (NB: We are not accepting complete plays as this initiative is aimed at inspiring, developing and then finally presenting the work at the end of the six months.)

The Relentless Award, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his pursuit of truth in the theater, is the largest annual cash prize in American theater awarded to a playwright in recognition of a new play.
What we are  looking for:
• Plays that are challenging.
• Plays that exhibit fearlessness.
• Plays that are not mainstream.
• Plays that exude passion.
• Plays that are relentlessly truthful.

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at http://www.nycplaywrights.org ***


Benjamin D. Brantley became chief theater critic of The New York Times in September 1996 after having served as its drama critic since joining the newspaper in August 1993. Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Brantley was a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine from August 1992 to July 1993. Before that, he was a writer at Vanity Fair magazine from January 1987 to August 1992 and he reviewed films for Elle magazine from September 1988 to March 1993.



Christopher Isherwood will replace Margo Jefferson, who stepped down from her position after only six months in the post. Jonathan Landman, the New York Times' Arts & Culture Editor, told the industry paper, "[Isherwood's] work is notable for clarity and directness, precision and gentle wit, and for evident knowledge of the field and the people in it. Ben Brantley and Patti Cohen are thrilled to have the chance to work with Charles, and so am I."
Isherwood joined the Los Angeles office of Variety in 1993 where he reviewed theatre productions on the West Coast. Since 1998 he has been the chief theatre critic for Variety.
Isherwood's New York Times stint begins Sept. 8. Ben Brantley remains the Times' main theatre critic.



Theater Talkback: For One Critic, It’s a Rapp

Adam Rapp won’t have me to kick around anymore.
Oops. I think I got that backwards. I mean I won’t have Adam Rapp to kick around anymore.
Fear not, admirers of this almost absurdly prolific playwright. I don’t mean to suggest that Mr. Rapp is heading off to Hollywood for good, hanging up his hat as a theater man. (In addition to writing and directing for the theater, Mr. Rapp publishes young-adult novels, has written for the HBO series “In Treatment” and has written and directed two films, “Winter Passing” and “Blackbird.”) Given his superhuman output, he’ll probably have a new play in production by next month.
What I mean is I think it’s high time I stopped reviewing his plays. I suspect Mr. Rapp would heartily endorse this idea.
After all, reading my view that his latest, “Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling,” was “an empty farrago” probably didn’t make Mr. Rapp’s day. But I bet that he didn’t rush to the New York Times Web site during the opening-night party, or indeed read my review at all. By this point Mr. Rapp surely knows where I stand on his work, which is to say (perhaps from his point of view) jumping up and down on it.


Theater Talk interview with Isherwood on Rapp



Brantley, Isherwood Answer Readers’ Questions About the Theater Season

This week Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood, theater critics for The New York Times, took readers’ questions about the Broadway season and this week’s announcement of the Tony Award nominations. Below are their answers to selected questions.

For Mr. Brantley, I was surprised by his lukewarm reviews for both “The Testament of Mary” and “The Nance.” Would he like to further talk about his responses to both plays? Did Mr. Isherwood also see these plays and respond similarly? — drjp1025, Los Angeles

Ben Brantley: I said pretty much what I wanted to say in those reviews, though you can always expatiate, I suppose. There was much I liked about the production of “The Nance,” especially Nathan Lane’s performance and the gritty sense the production conveyed of burlesque in its final days. But the script turned preachy and conventional, and in doing so, I think, betrayed its title character, who became more of a mouthpiece than any actor should have to be.

“Mary,” I felt, was betrayed by its production. It’s an excellent script, and in Ms. Shaw, it has a most compelling star. But the busy staging, by Deborah Warner, undercut as well as underlined the play’s insights and moments of revelation. I think I said all this in the original reviews, but we critics are always happy to elucidate.

Charles Isherwood: Unfortunately I can’t express much enthusiasm for those productions either. “The Testament of Mary” struck me as an unhappy match between talents. Having read Colm Toibin’s text in its published from, as a novella, I was transfixed by the dispassionate beauty of the writing. It seems to me the material drew its strength from the emotional restraint that was the keynote of Mary’s reflections – she seemed all but hollowed out by horror of what she had witnessed. Fiona Shaw’s performance had moments of intense quiet but these were overpowered by the general ferocity, not to mention the general busy-ness of Deborah Warner’s production. (I do find it bizarre, however, that the Tony nominating committee included “Mary” in the best play category without recognizing Ms. Shaw’s performance; take away the performance and the production consists of a vulture and an odd assortment of props. Go figure.)



Who has the biggest voice on Broadway?

The biggest voice in Broadway critiquing is still the New York Times. And since 1996, the Chief Theatre Critic role has fallen to Ben Brantley, a 57-year-old journalist who once caused histrionics among the theatre sect for dubbing Broadway veteran Patti LuPone, “La LuPone” and recently declared that Hugh Jackman acted like a “flaming queen” in his one-man show. Brantley was named the eleventh most powerful person on Broadway in a poll just released, coming in ahead of both Nederlanders (James, Sr. and James, Jr.) as well as Stephen Sondheim and Cameon Mackintosh.

Brantley’s word is so close to gospel that the website, www.didhelikeit.com, was created to further spread his influence, delivering his verdict and a hand-picked “line of truth” (along with other influential reviewers) for every Broadway show currently playing. Brantley follows in the footsteps of Brooks Atkinson and Walter Kerr (such esteemed critics that they have theatres named after them) as well as Frank Rich, who who defected to New York Magazine and is their writer-at-large.




It was one of those perennial "roundup" type features we expect at regular intervals from the New York Times culture pages: A catchy (kitschy) title (“Celebroadway!”) introducing a slightly lame concept (lots of movie stars on Broadway!) fleshed out as a glorified listings sidebar guide featuring cutesy categories. Now, Times theater critic Charles Isherwood’s slightly snarky style is one of our own guilty pleasures, but his take on the universally-lauded revival of Eugène Ionesco’s surrealist classic Exit the King seemed harsh -- even for him: The “Highlight”? “The king dying” (i.e. The End). The "Guilty Pleasure"? “Extreme relief when the king finally dies” (i.e. Getting the heck out of the theater).



Why Was Times Theater Critic Charles Isherwood Fired?

Charles Isherwood woke up on the morning of February 3 with one of the best jobs in the country: second-string theater critic for the New York Times. Around noon that day, he was summoned to the Times’s 40th Street office, along with representatives of his union, the NewsGuild of New York. They were called into a room with two senior editors and two other executives. Isherwood was confronted with nine of his own emails, which the paper claimed as evidence that the critic had violated ethical rules. Shortly afterward, he was escorted out of the building. In the two weeks since, no one who knows the details has spoken publicly, and those Times-watchers and Broadway people who don’t know can hardly talk about anything else. It’s not every day that a Times employee — never mind one of the most prominent theater critics in the country — is so publicly given the boot.



New York Times critic fired over relationship with Scott Rudin

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood was recently fired over his cozy relationship with uber-producer Scott Rudin, sources tell Page Six.

After Isherwood clashed with Times chief theater critic Ben Brantley and assignment editors, execs at the Gray Lady combed through Isherwood’s emails and discovered a barrage of bitchy dialogue between him and Rudin, the producer of hits including “The Book of Mormon” and the revival of “Fences” starring Denzel Washington.

One source said there were years of tension between Isherwood and Brantley because Brantley would always get the plum shows to review. The source said, “The tension built up between Charles and Ben. Charles also had issues with his editors about his assignments. It got ugly when Charles complained Ben always reviewed the big shows and he never got a shot at them.



For former New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood, the drama is just beginning.

Earlier in the month, The New York Times fired its second-string theater critic after finding that he had sent messages via company email complaining about his colleagues and assignments to two theatrical producers. “The Times argued that those emails showed he had a too-cozy relationship with [Scott] Rudin and [Robyn] Goodman, and they used it as grounds to fire him,” a source told the New York Post.

Yet, Isherwood does not plan to surrender his spot without a fight. As a member of the News Guild labor union, Isherwood could only be terminated from the newspaper for “just cause,” and he intends to argue in arbitration that his termination was unjust. The theater critic reportedly clashed with other people at the publication, and the same source suspected that his bosses might have “used the emails as an excuse to get rid of him because his clashes made him unpopular in the office.”



The New York Times Names Jesse Green Co-Chief Theater Critic

The New York Times today announced that Jesse Green has been named co-chief theater critic. Previously, Mr. Green was the theater critic for New York magazine, where he had also been a contributing editor, writing long-form features, since 2008.

Read more in the memo sent to staff by culture editor Danielle Mattoon below:

“I am delighted to announce that Jesse Green will become co-chief theater critic for The New York Times, joining Ben Brantley in a powerful partnership that will deliver the most authoritative, thoughtful and pointed insights about Broadway, Off Broadway and theater around the country and the globe.

Jesse is a wonderfully gifted thinker and writer who contributed memorably to The Times for years before becoming one of the leading critical voices at New York magazine. Incisive, deeply knowledgeable, warm and funny, Jesse’s criticism conveys an infectious love of the theater that grabs readers whether they are regular theater goers or keep track from afar.



Jesse Green Is Looking for a Good Argument

Why did The New York Times hire another white guy to be their new co-chief theatre critic? He plans to work hard to show us why.

Another white guy?

That seemed to be the explicit or implicit response to the announcement last week that Jesse Green had been hired as The New York Times’s new “co-chief” theatre critic, alongside longtime chief critic Ben Brantley, starting May 1. The position became open—an astronomical rarity in a shrinking arts journalism field—last month with the departure of second-stringer Charles Isherwood. And in the outpouring of mixed feelings and speculation after that stunning development, many folks assumed, and some openly advocated, that the Times would take the opportunity to hire a critic to reflect the diversity not only of the world but of an increasingly diverse theatre field.

The problem, of course, as anyone who follows criticism and arts journalism might tell you, is that that field is simply far behind even the still-halting efforts of the theatre field to diversify its ranks. The critical talent pool is just not that wide or deep, demographically speaking.

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