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Tag: Stage (31-40 of 253)

Tony Kushner accepts honorary degree after 'anti-Israel' controversy

Playwright Tony Kushner accepted the honorary degree from the City College of New York that had become a point of controversy several weeks ago when a member of the school’s board of trustees accused the Pulitzer-Prize winner of being “anti-Israel.” The board initially voted to deny Kushner the academic honor, but facing widespread criticism, the decision was reversed, opening the door for Kushner to accept the Doctor of Letters today and address the new graduates of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Calling the degree “the most interesting one I had to work hardest to get,” according to the Associated Press, Kushner, who is married to EW columnist Mark Harris, recognized the supporters who rallied against the accusation that he was an anti-Semite. “Behind [this honor] there stands a shining community of people, of spirits of whom I’m proud to be able to call myself kindred,” he said, “who believe in the necessity of honest exchanges of ideas and opinions, who understand that life is a struggle to synthesize, to find a balance between responsibility and freedom, strategy and truth, survival and ethical humanity.”

Read more:
Tony Kushner talks about his latest play, ‘The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures’

Sada Thompson of 'Family' dies at 83

Sada Thompson, the TV and stage actress best known for playing a no-nonsense mom in the ABC drama Family, died of lung disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. The actress, who lived in Southbury, Conn., was 83.

Thompson earned four Emmy nominations — and won in 1978 — for her memorable role as Kate Lawrence on Family. The immensely relatable drama, which also starred Meredith Baxter and Kristy McNichol, aired on ABC from 1976 to 1980.

Baxter, who played Thompson’s older daughter Nancy in the series, released this statement to the Times: “It saddens me greatly that she’s gone. She was a formidable teacher and a wonderful woman.  I admired her greatly.”

Thompson also earned Obie and Drama Desk awards for her role in “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” which opened off-Broadway in 1970. She made numerous TV appearances after Family made her a household name, including guest-starring roles in The Love Boat, Father Dowling Mysteries, Cheers and Law & Order.

Arthur Laurents, writer of 'West Side Story' and 'Gypsy,' has died at 93

Arthur Laurents — an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director who penned the books of watershed musicals West Side Story and Gypsy — died on Thursday due to complications from pneumonia. He was 93. (Deadline first broke the news.) Born in Brooklyn, Laurents wrote training films during World War II, and transitioned to playwriting after the war, finding his first success with 1945’s Home of the Brave, a play about anti-semitism in the armed services. His first major hits, though, were the musicals West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959). Laurents directed Broadway revivals for both shows — Gypsy in 1974 and again in 1989 and 2008, and West Side Story in 2009, when he was 91. He won the Tony for Best Direction for the 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles.

In film, Laurents wrote the Alfred Hitchcock 1948 thriller Rope, which starred his then-lover Farley Granger, as well as the films Anastasia (1956), Bonjour tristesse (1958), The Way We Were (1973) and The Turning Point (1977), the last of which was nominated for Best Picture.

Most recently, Laurents had signed onto a prospective feature film version of Gypsy starring Barbra Streisand. His partner of over 50 years, actor and real estate developer Tom Hatcher, passed away in 2006.

Grammy Awards exec producer John Cossette dies at 54

John Cossette, who produced many Grammy Awards and BET Awards telecasts over the last two decades, has passed away, his family announced today. He was 54. “We ask that you please respect our privacy during this incredibly emotional time,” Cossette’s wife Rita and daughters Maria and Rose said in their statement. “We appreciate everyone’s love and support.” Cossette also oversaw the re-opening of Radio City Music Hall, and is one of the producers of the current Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet.

Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson has died at 73

Lanford Wilson, an American playwright who won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Talley’s Folly and whose work often broke ground in the depiction of homosexuality, died today of complications from pneumonia, according to the New York Times. He was 73. Born in Lebanon, Mo., Wilson co-founded the off-Broadway theater company the Circle Repertory Company, which debuted several of Wilson’s plays, including The Hot l Baltimore (1973), Fifth of July (1978), and Talley’s Folly (1980), a one-act play set in real time about a man and a woman deciding whether to get married.

Broadway actress Helen Stenborg dies

Helen Stenborg, an Obie Award-winning stage and film actress and long-time spouse of the late Tony Award-winning actor Barnard Hughes, died on Tuesday. She was 86. Stenborg was awarded the Obie for distinguished performance in 1986, when she appeared in Lanford Wilson’s Talley and Son. In 1999, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the pyromaniac Sarita Myrtle in Noel Coward’s Waiting in the Wings, a production that starred her husband, Lauren Bacall, and Rosemary Harris. Her last Broadway performance was in 2002 as Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.

Stenborg also appeared on film in On the Hook with Frank Langella and Elliot Gould, Three Days of the Condor, Starting Over with Jill Clayburgh and Burt Reynolds, Enchanted and Doubt. She worked extensively in television, including a long stint as an evil housekeeper on the soap opera, Another World.

She is survived by two children and a grandson.

Neil LaBute's 'Fat Pig' postponed a year

Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig, which was planned to open at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre this spring, has been postponed until next season, due to lack of financing. In a statement, producers Aldo Scrofani and Heather Provost said: “It’s our dream to keep this terrific cast and stunning creative team intact as we work to reschedule Fat Pig for next season. The current financial situation did not leave adequate time to maintain the integrity of the show and its marketing campaign. This play deserves to be seen on Broadway and we remain very much committed to that goal.”

LaBute was onboard to direct Dane Cook, Josh Hamilton, Julia Stiles and Heather Jane Rolff.

Report: 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' may get new creative team, director Julie Taymor could exit

The producers of the $65 million Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark are negotiating to bring in new members of the creative team that may lead to the exit of the embattled show’s acclaimed director, Julie Taymor, according to the New York Times. The show’s backers are reportedly discussing many aspects of the production, from how radically to overhaul the script and score, what individuals should be hired to assist in that overhaul, and when to open the show. The musical’s official premiere, already delayed five times, seems likely to be postponed once again from its current date: March 15. Ken Sunshine, who has worked for several months as a consultant on the show, tells EW he is “just not commenting on speculation.”

'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' hit with federal fines

The makers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark were fined $12,600 today for workplace safety violations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, reports the Associated Press. The show, which has dealt with multiple cast injuries, is charged with putting its performers in danger of “the hazards of falls or being struck during flying routines.” Last month, the New York State Department of Labor issued two safety violations to the $65 million production.

Read more:
Julie Taymor breaks silence on ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’
‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ cast performs on Letterman
‘South Park’ creators: ‘Spider-Man’ musical ‘sucks’ — EXCLUSIVE
‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ seeking focus group feedback — EXCLUSIVE
‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark': Which review is the harshest?

Stephen Sondheim to be honored with special Olivier Award

Stephen Sondheim will be honored with a Special Award at the 2011 Olivier Awards on March 11 in London. The 80-year-old composer and lyricist first made a name for himself writing the lyrics for West Side Story. Since then, he’s produced numerous award-winning productions, including Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The recipient of several Tony Awards, Sondheim also earned a Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park With George in 1985 and an Academy Award for the song, “Sooner or Later,” from the film, Dick Tracy.

Read more:
Catherine Zeta-Jones chats with EW about starring in Broadway’s ‘A Little Night Music’

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