The 93rd Oscars

The 93rd Oscars Telecast Live Sunday. WATCH!  It’s Going to Be Unique

By: Ellis Nassour

April 22, 2021: Doesn’t everyone love the movies? Even at those long ago cinemas where you could see them on big screens with an extra large soda and those refillable buckets of often stale popcorn – both of which you can’t avoid spilling on the pristine floors? Attendance is surely down, and the culprit is partly Covid 19, but we can be buoyed on Sunday as ABC will present live mostly from Los Angeles the 2021 Academy Awards, the 93rd, at 8 P.M. (E). It will truly be a global event, seen live or recorded in more than 225 countries and territories. 

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Welcome Back to Theater

A Door Opens to Off Broadway: Blindness

By: Ellis Nassour

April 16, 2021: The acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness, adapted from Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago’s dystopian novel by Tony winner Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), has opened at the Daryl Roth Theatre (101 East 15th Street at Union Square East). The production is the first to cut the ribbon of the commercial return of much-missed performing arts. 

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Broadway Starting to Light Up Soon

Things are Lighting Up in Theater with Sneak Peeks at the Soon-to-Be Future

By: Ellis Nassour

April 15, 2021– Following a game-changing but one-night-only event of performances by Tony-winning Broadway Treasure Nathan Lance and faster-than-a-speeding bullet Tony-winning tapper/actor/choreographer Savion Glover for an acceptable roster of guests at the St. James.

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2021 Oscar Nominations

Nominations for the 93rd Oscars Announced

By: Ellis Nassour

March 15, 2021: The 2021 Academy Awards for the best in 2020 cinema were announced early this morning (March 15) on ABC by actor/producer Privanka Chopra Jonas and singer/writer/actor Nick Jonas. Emerging as leader of the pack was Netflix’s Mank with 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Actor, and Director. Other films receiving multiple nods are The Father,  Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. A bit of Oscar history was made with two women nominated for director for the first time: Chloè Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman); in addition, both received nods in the writing categories.

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Bob Avian Part 1

Bob Avian: Dancing Man, A Life in Theater as Choreographer/Director; Tales of Collaborating with Michael Bennett in New Autobiography
Part One

By: Ellis Nassour

April 6, 2020: Tony-winning scenic designer Robin Wagner, credited with over 50 Broadway shows, says, “Bobby, in addition to being an extraordinarily nice guy, is an absolutely brilliant director/choreographer. He and Michael Bennett was a pair. They knew each other inside out. Everything Michael did, Bobby contributed at least half. Michael trusted his instincts. Bobby was more collaborator than assistant.”

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Remembering Two Great Talents: Ann Reinking and Rebecca Luker

From Associated Press and other sources. Compiled and notated by Ellis Nassour

December 24, 2020: This is a year which could not have been sadder: more than 335,000 deaths from COVID-19. And now comes the disheartening news of the deaths of two giant, radiant, and very generous Broadway talents: actress and Tony-winning  choreographer Ann Reinking on December 12; and Tony-nominee and crystal-voiced Rebecca Luker on December 23. 

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The Actors Fund

Tis the Season to (Try) Be Merry and Give Thanks to The Actors Fund

By Ellis Nassour

December 7, 2020: The not-for-profit Actors Fund of America continues to be a vital resource for all members across the spectrum of the entertainment profession. There’s a vast array of programs, supported by people like you. With other fundraising events stymied by the pandemic, a godsend has been the numerous virtual events by so many talented industry members.

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Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar – 3

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

 By: Ellis Nassour

Part Three   ~   What’s the Buzz

November 6, 2020: Way ahead of the U.K. and U.S. was the popularity the single was reaping on the international scene, and from being programmed on the Armed Forces radio network and Radio Luxembourg. The FM stations were the first to jump on the bandwagon, but pop stations still held out. 

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Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar 2

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

By: Ellis Nassour

Part Two  =  Into the Fire (and Brimstone)

November 2, 2020: As things got down to business between new writing partners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, billing negotiations ensued. Lloyd Webber decided the partnership would be Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Not so fast, said Rice. He suggested Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber had a better ring. It was a stalemate. Lloyd Webber, far from pleased, caved. 

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Keely and Du

By: Isa Goldberg

October 30, 2020: Like the People of Praise, a Christian Community of which the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been a loyal member, the characters we meet in Jane Martin’s “Keely and Du” “yearn for the salvation of all members of the human family.” At least that is the mission stated on the People of Praise website. 

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Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

By: Ellis Nassour

Part One … In the Beginning

October 26, 2020: The songwriting partnership of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber was born in 1965 out of big dreams, talent, and need – with a strong bit of kismet thrown in. Maybe even a bit of desperation . . .

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The 68 Cent Crew Theatre

“Fear and Loathing in The Creative Process” Marty Grabstein and Isa Goldberg

By: Isa Goldberg

September 10,2020: While I’m a veteran contributor to theaterlife.com, many moons have passed since I’ve covered live theater or experienced it. Pandemic-wise, it’s been quite a change of life for all of us. 

Fortunately, I had the fun of joining a theater troupe, The 68 Cent Crew Theatre, that I discovered a couple of years ago. Currently we’re performing our 9th Annual One-Acts Festival (www.youtube.com/68centcrewtheatre) with a wham bam burst of boldness and creativity. 

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Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer, Tony-winning Playwright, Oscar-nominee, and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84

By: Ellis Nassour

April 28, 2020 — The death of Tony-winning playwright, Oscar-nominee, Pulitzer Prize finalist, author, and outspoken AIDS activist Larry Kramer brought to an end a tumultuous life. He was more often than not outraged, and outrageous. In his case, however, his yelling, screaming, protesting saved no telling how many lives. As the scourge of HIV AIDS swept the world, he brought attention to the lack of government commitment to finding a cure. Kramer also co-founded two quite historic organizations: Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which operated clinics for discrete testing, counseling, and medical advice; and his controversial protest group ACT-UP [AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power].

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Things to Enjoy in the Comfort of Home

By: Ellis Nassour

April 30, 2020: You’re isolating, often getting stir crazy, and stepping outside for some sun, when available, isn’t enough. There is programming and things to enjoy, sans mask and latex gloves, though some require a donation, in the comfort of your home that will make you feel less like a prisoner of COVID 19. 

Awaiting Hugh Jackman? Wait no longer. He’s here!

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Simon Callow, Part 5

By Samuel L. Leiter

April 24, 2020: This is Part 5, the last installment of my long-lost interview with the British stage, film, and TV star, Simon Callow, also renowned as a writer and director. It was conducted in his London home in 1993, twenty-seven years ago, but has never before been published. For background on the circumstances of the interview and why it’s first being published now, please check the introduction to Part 1. 

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