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Performing Arts Spotlight10

LA Drama Critics Circle Honors Picks for Year's Best

Saturday April 12, 2014

Photo by Jayne Calucag (Courtesy of the LA Drama Critics Circle)The 45th Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards ceremony took place recently at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, honoring some of the best productions in local Los Angeles-area theatre.

The award recipients for the 2013 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards included honors in "Production" for One Night in Miami... (John Perrin Flynn and Roxanne Hart, Rogue Machine Theatre), Our Class, (Son of Semele Ensemble, Atwater Village Theatre), The Scottsboro Boys (Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre), and Walking the Tightrope (Debbie Devine and Jay McAdams, 24th Street Theatre). Winning the McCulloh Award for Revival were Dreamgirls (Mike Abramson and Dolf Ramos, DOMA Theatre Co. at The MET Theatre) and The Normal Heart (Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs, The Fountain Theatre).  Honored for Direction, meanwhile, was Jessica Kubzansky for R II, The Theatre @ Boston Court, and Matthew McCray, for Our Class, by the Son of Semele Ensemble at Atwater Village Theatre.

Go here for a complete look at this year's winners.

Photo by Jayne Calucag (Courtesy of the LA Drama Critics Circle)

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Syfy and Henson Pair Up for 'Creature Challenge'

Saturday April 12, 2014

Image: Photo by Justin Stephens (Courtesy of Syfy)As a big fan of "Face Off" and any chance I can get to watch artists create ingenious worlds and things onscreen, it's great to report that Syfy has done it again, with its new competitive reality show "Jim Henson's Creature Challenge." Syfy recently launched the show by introducing ten hopeful creature designers who have come to Los Angeles with an incredible shared dream: to land a job working in Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The new series premiered Tuesday, March 25 and will encompass an eight-episode run that provides a fascinating window into the imaginative and wildly creative environment of world-class creature design, fabrication and mechanization.

The series features host Gigi Edgley (Farscape) and lead judge Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company, who also oversees the groundbreaking work of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Henson is an award-winning writer, puppeteer, director and producer whose father and mentor was the iconic Jim Henson. In each episode, the competing creature designers must meet the challenge of creating a new kind of creature (under reality TV's usual strict time constraints), and are given unprecedented access to the world-renowned Creature Shop, gaining hands-on experience to learn every aspect of what it takes to become a master creature designer. Following a series of elaborate challenges, only one will be awarded a prize worth up to $100,000, including the opportunity for the job of a lifetime - a contract working at the world-renowned Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Image: Photo by Justin Stephens (Courtesy of Syfy)

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'Kinky Boots' Promotes Facebook Milestone (and So Should You)

Saturday March 29, 2014

Courtesy of Kinky Boots on Broadway (Facebook)Kinky Boots, the Tony Award-winning musical, recently celebrated its 100,000th fan 'Like' on Facebook, and promoted the event in fine style, with press campaigns and a lottery for 10 pairs of free tickets to each of the Broadway performances of Kinky Boots last week.

It's a great lesson to others in the performing arts -- how are you infusing your social media accomplishments and milestones into your ongoing promotions? Social media can be a powerful tool for promotion -- but it's also a two-way street. Promoting your performing arts group's social media milestones gives you even more mileage, rewarding your show's existing fans and proven audience members, while also going after a wider audience eager to discover your show.

"We're so thrilled fans have embraced Kinky Boots as they have, both in the theatre nightly and on social media," said producers Roth and Luftig about the special promotion. "As we approach the show's first anniversary on Broadway, to celebrate this huge milestone, we want to show them our gratitude by offering the opportunity to come back and see the show on us."

With a Tony Award-winning score by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, a book by four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots opened on April 4, 2013 and continues to play to standing-room-only crowds nightly. The show has broken all box office records at the Hirshfeld Theatre, and took home six 2013 TonyŽ Awards, the most of any show during the past Tony season, including Best Musical, Best Score (Cyndi Lauper), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Actor (Billy Porter), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), and Best Sound Design (John Shivers). The show also received the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Broadway.com Awards for Best Musical, along with many other accolades.

Image: Courtesy of 'Kinky Boots on Broadway' (Facebook)

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2014 Larson Grant Winners Announced

Saturday March 29, 2014

Zach Redler and Sara CooperThe Jonathan Larson grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue the dream of Tony Award-winning composer Jonathan Larson to infuse musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality. The American Theatre Wing has announced the three talented 2014 recipients of the 2014 Jonathan Larson Grants: writing team Sara Cooper & Zach Redler, and Shaina Taub. In the team of Cooper/Redler, Cooper is a lyricist/bookwriter while Redler is the composer of the team, which is thus far best-known for The Memory Show. Taub, meanwhile, is a composer and lyricist who served as the Ars Nova's 2012 Composer-in-Residence, and whose most recent musical album was What Otters Do.

This year's Larson grants actually increased in monetary value, at a total of $15,000 more than those given out in 2013. The grants will be formally presented on Monday, April 7, 2014 at a private event at the WNYC Greene Space that will also feature special performances of the recipients' work.

Learn more about this year's grant winners here.

Image: Zach Redler and Sara Cooper, courtesy of Zach Redler. Photo credit: Walter McBride

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