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Harvey Weinstein sets April opening for Broadway's 'Finding Neverland'

Following months of speculation, Harvey Weinstein is set to officially open his long-gestating musical "Finding Neverland" on Broadway in April.

The opening date for "Finding Neverland" has been scheduled for April 8 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The musical, which is based on the 2004 movie of the same name, recently had a run at the American Repertory Theater in Massachusetts with a cast that included Jeremy Jordan in the role played on screen by Johnny Depp.

No casting has been announced for the Broadway engagement. Diane Paulus, the Tony Award-winning director who staged the musical at ART, will return to stage the production in New York.

April is typically a busy month on Broadway as productions jostle for audiences and awards consideration.

"Finding Neverland" has had a somewhat complicated road to Broadway. The musical opened in London in 2012 but has been revised since then. A new creative team was put in place, including Paulus and playwright James Graham, who has reworked the...

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Leonardo da Vinci's 'Woman With an Ermine' reveals its secrets

A 15th century painting by Leonardo da Vinci depicting a woman holding an ermine is the subject of a new study by a scientist who claims that the Renaissance master created multiple versions of the painting, including one without the small mammal.

In a new book published this month in Europe, French scientist Pascal Cotte said that he used imaging technology to explore different layers of the famous painting, which is commonly referred to as "Woman With an Ermine."

His research shows that Da Vinci created a version in which the female subject isn't holding anything, according to an article in Le Figaro. Another layer shows her holding a darker version of the small animal. 

The finished oil-on-wood painting, which is owned by the Czartoryski Foundation in Poland, shows the woman holding a light-colored ermine in her arms.

In addition, the final version of the artwork features a blue shawl on the woman's shoulder that wasn't visible in previous layers.

Cotte, who is an engineer at the...

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'Children of a Lesser God' heading back to Broadway

In 1979, the Mark Taper Forum made a last-minute change to its schedule, adding the new drama "Children of a Lesser God" by Mark Medoff when another title became unavailable due to a rights issue.

The decision proved to be a fortuitous one: the production, directed by Gordon Davidson, was a critical success. The play later transferred to Broadway, where it ran for more than two years, and eventually became an Oscar-winning movie.

"Children of a Lesser God" will be heading back to Broadway in the 2015-16 season, producer Hal Luftig announced Monday. The revival production will be staged by Kenny Leon, the Tony Award winner who recently directed the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun" with Denzel Washington.

Medoff's play follows the stormy relationship between a young deaf woman and a hearing teacher who has arrived at the school where she works.

No dates or casting have been announced for the Broadway revival. In Los Angeles, the lead roles were played by John Rubinstein and Phyllis...

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LAXArt Gala, a night of art-magic and mystery at Greystone Mansion

“Would you like to waltz?” asked the stranger in a Venetian carnival mask, white gloves and a Renaissance-style suit.

Then he wrapped a blindfold around my eyes and led me into a pitch-black ballroom filled with other masked dancers leading other blindfolded guests in a waltz. It was quiet except for what sounded like live viola music and the communal swooshing of ballgowns and feet on the hardwood floor.

The piece, Liz Glynn’s “Waltz No. 9 (Blindness),” was one of several experimental interactive art installations Saturday night at the LAXArt Gala. The evening of art and excess, held at the lavish Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, with tickets costing $1,000 apiece, was the inaugural biannual fundraiser for the nonprofit contemporary art institution. Twenty-eight artists were asked to respond to the 1920s Tudor-style mansion perched overlooking Doheny Drive and Sunset Boulevard -- the home a gift from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny to his son Edward “Ned” Doheny Jr. in 1928.


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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra CEO resigns amid labor woes

The president and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has resigned his position as the orchestra continues to grapple with a labor dispute with its musicians.

Stanley Romanstein joined the orchestra in 2010, having previously served as the head of the Minnesota Humanities Center. His resignation, which the orchestra's board of directors announced Monday, is effective immediately. 

"I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO's musicians," Romanstein said in a prepared statement.

Orchestra leaders failed to reach a new contract with its musicians earlier this month, resulting in a lockout. Like a number of classical music organizations, the Atlanta Symphony is experiencing financial difficulties and has posted annual operating deficits for the last 12 years.

The symphony's 2014 fiscal year saw a $2-million deficit, according to company leaders. In 2012, the orchestra locked out its musicians in a contract...

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Broadway-hopeful musical 'Waterfall' to run at Pasadena Playhouse

"Waterfall," a new musical from writer Richard Maltby Jr. and Oscar-winning composer David Shire, will have its U.S. premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in June before transferring to Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in the fall of 2015, organizers announced Monday.

The musical, an epic romance set in Thailand and Japan during the '30s, has Broadway ambitions, with producers aiming for a New York bow in 2016.

Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre has served as an out-of-town launching pad for a number of high-profile, Broadway-bound shows, including "Catch Me If You Can," "Hairspray" and Disney's "Aladdin." 

"Waterfall," directed by Tak Viravan, is scheduled to open at the Pasadena Playhouse on June 7. 

A previous version of the musical was seen in Thailand under the title "Behind the Painting." The story, about a young Thai student who falls in love with the American wife of a diplomat, is set against the political upheaval in Asia prior to World War II.

Maltby and Shire are reworking the musical...

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Disney's 'Aladdin' to open in Tokyo in 2015

The box-office success of "Aladdin" in New York has had Broadway watchers wondering where the Disney musical will pop up next on the international map. 

On Monday, Disney announced that "Aladdin" will open in Tokyo in May 2015 in what will be the musical's first overseas production. Audiences at Tokyo's Densu Shiki Theatre Umi will see the production that Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed in New York, but the musical will be performed in Japanese with locally cast actors.

Based on the 1992 Disney animated movie, "Aladdin" bowed on Broadway in March at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where it has consistently grossed more than $1 million on a weekly basis since opening. The production was nominated for five Tony Awards, with actor James Monroe Iglehart taking home a prize for his role as the genie.

The family-friendly musical features many of the same songs from the original animated movie, including "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me." It also contains some numbers that were...

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Tyson's inviting 'Trip to Bountiful' at the Ahmanson Theatre

Michael Wilson’s revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” which has just opened at the Ahmanson Theatre, premiered on Broadway in 2013 to a bounty of praise and nominations, especially for Cicely Tyson, who won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Carrie Watts.

Originally written as a teleplay in 1953, “Trip” tells the story of an elderly woman’s return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. A trustworthy vehicle for star turns—by Lillian Gish and Geraldine Page, among others—it has been recast in this production with black characters.

The transformation, conceived by the playwright’s daughter, Hallie Foote, not only tempted Tyson back to the stage after a 30-year hiatus but also imparts new resonance to the deceptively sentimental story.

Any fear that Tyson might not live up to the hype dissolves within moments of her appearance—once, that is, the excited audience has adjusted to the modest scale of the scene.

Looking tiny and brittle in a fuzzy robe, Carrie sits in a...

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'Wolf Hall,' adaptation of Hilary Mantel novels, coming to Broadway

The recent stage adaptations of Hilary Mantel's novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" will be coming to Broadway next year, where they will run in repertory for a combined 5 1/2 hours of historical drama.

Producers said Thursday that the two plays are scheduled to open at the Winter Garden Theatre on April 9.

"Wolf Hall: Parts 1 and 2," written for the stage by Mike Poulton, has already been seen in Britain, where the Royal Shakespeare Company has produced the cycle at Stratford and in London. The three lead actors from the London production will transfer with the plays to New York.

Ben Miles plays the role of Thomas Cromwell, the 16th century English statesman who played a key role in the Reformation and who was eventually executed in 1540. The cast includes Nathaniel Parker as King Henry VIII and Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn.

Mantel's novels received widespread acclaim when they were published, with both winning the Man Booker Prize. (The first, "Wolf Hall," also won the...

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United Nations urged to ban trade of Syrian antiquities

The United Nations is being urged to enact a ban on the trade of Syrian antiquities following numerous reports of looting in the war-torn country.

An open letter that was recently published online is asking the U.N. Security Council to take action against the trade of artifacts that have been illegally taken from World Heritage and other sites in Syria. "An international trade ban will help strip these antiquities of much of their financial value and disincentivise the looting," the letter states.

The letter, which has been signed by a number of scholars and academics, also refers to the U.N. Security Council's 2003 decision to discourage the trading of artifacts looted in Iraq: "It needs to do the same for Syria now."

Reports from Syria have indicated looting of antiquities at all six of the country's World Heritage Sites. Some accounts have stated that Syrian rebels are looting sites in order to fund their military operations. Like many countries in the Middle East region, Syria is...

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Next for Yuval Sharon, the Industry: 'Hopscotch,' L.A. opera in 18 cars

From opera on headphones to opera on wheels: The next work from Yuval Sharon and the Industry will unfold in 18 cars cruising downtown L.A., Boyle Heights and the Arts District.

The 4-year-old opera company drew attention last year when it staged “Invisible Cities” at Union Station, which took place amid the real-life hustle and bustle of the historic building. Audience members heard the score through wireless headphones as they walked around, interacting with passengers and actors.

"Hopscotch: A Mobile Opera for 18 cars" will open in the fall of 2015, Sharon said.

"Invisible Cities" received four nominations this week for the LA Stage Alliance's Ovation Awards.

Sharon said he remembers how nervous he and collaborator Jason H. Thompson were about that groundbreaking show before it opened.

"It looked so hard and I thought we weren't going to be able to pull it off," says Sharon. "So what could possibly be harder than 'Invisible Cities,' that will make 'Invisible Cities' look easy?"...

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Lindsay Lohan draws early reviews for 'Speed-the-Plow' in London

Early preview performances of a play aren't typically covered by reporters and critics, who are usually polite enough, or at least bound by journalistic ethics, to wait until a production is closer to opening night to pounce and devour.

But when a play involves Lindsay Lohan in a career comeback bid, the rules of the media game have a way of changing quickly.

Lohan gave her first performance in a new production of David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow" on London's West End on Wednesday. The Hollywood satire, running at the Playhouse Theatre, also stars Richard Schiff and Nigel Lindsay, and is directed by Mamet veteran Lindsay Posner.

A number of media have already weighed in on Lohan's performance, breaking the usual theater-world decorum of waiting until the play officially opens. The reports noted that Lohan appeared to struggle through the performance, fumbled lines at certain points and relied on cues from backstage crew members.

Botched lines and missed cues are not uncommon during...

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