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David Geffen's $100-million gift in N.Y. raises arts-naming issues in L.A.

“What’s in a name?” was a rhetorical question for Romeo when he was wooing Juliet, but David Geffen’s $100-million gift to Lincoln Center in New York City demonstrates that it can be one of the trickier questions that an arts organization trying to raise large sums must face.

Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, will become David Geffen Hall in September, in recognition of the entertainment magnate’s gift toward the venue’s $500-million renovation campaign.

The Associated Press reported that Lincoln Center agreed to pay $15 million to the family of Avery Fisher to free up the naming rights that led to Geffen’s big gift in New York.

It gives Geffen, a New York native but a longtime Los Angeles resident, a presence on the cultural scene in New York to go with the three Los Angeles arts venues that bear his name -- or will, once built.

Several Los Angeles arts organizations are in fundraising mode now, or expect to be, including the Music Center, which is L.A.’s...

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Bruce Willis returning to the stage in Broadway's 'Misery'

In the immortal words of Annie Wilkes, "Misery's alive! Misery's alive!"

"Misery," a new play adapted by William Goldman from the Stephen King bestseller, will bow on Broadway this fall with a cast that includes Bruce Willis as author Paul Sheldon and Elizabeth Marvel as Annie, his deranged  No. 1 fan who holds the novelist hostage in her rural farmhouse.

The play will mark the Broadway debut of Willis, who is more associated with Hollywood action movies than New York stage productions. In the 1990 film adaptation of "Misery," which Goldman also wrote, the role of Paul Sheldon was played by James Caan, while Annie Wilkes was played by Kathy Bates, who won an Academy Award for her memorable performance.

The play's producers didn't provide any dates in their announcement on Wednesday, but said that "Misery" would begin performances in the fall of 2015 in a Broadway house to be announced shortly. Will Frears will direct the production.

"Misery" had a brief out-of-town run at the Bucks...

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David Geffen donating $100 million to New York's Lincoln Center

Since his heyday as a music executive and entertainment mogul, David Geffen has given away hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that now bear his name. In Los Angeles, there is Geffen Playhouse and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Geffen Contemporary in downtown.

Now his name will be associated with a major cultural institution in New York. 

On Wednesday, Lincoln Center announced that Geffen is donating $100 million toward the major renovation of Avery Fisher Hall, which will be renamed David Geffen Hall in September at the start of the New York Philharmonic's 2015-16 season. 

Geffen's gift is expected to be paid out over the course of eight years, leaders at Lincoln Center said. The naming rights for Avery Fisher Hall, which first opened in 1962, recently came up for bid in an effort to raise money for the hall's renovation, which is slated to commence in 2019 and is expected to cost approximately $500 million.

The naming gift isn't the the largest sum...

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Bill Clinton portrait features shadow of Lewinsky dress, says artist

A portrait of former President Clinton in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington contains a subtle reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal that engulfed the White House in the late '90s, the portrait's painter has revealed.

Pennsylvania artist Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News in a Sunday article that the painting features a shadow on its left-hand side, and that the shadow was actually cast by a blue dress that was placed on a mannequin.

"The reality is [Clinton's] probably the most famous liar of all time. He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting," the artist told the newspaper.

Shanks said that the mannequin was present while he was creating the portrait, but not while Clinton was posing. 

He added that the dress "represents a shadow on the office [Clinton] held, or on him." 

Lewinsky's blue dress was a focal point of...

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Ken Novice steps down as managing director of Geffen Playhouse

Kenneth Novice has departed the Geffen Playhouse after serving as its managing director for more than five years, the company has announced.

The Geffen said that Gil Cates Jr., who serves as vice chairman of the Geffen's board of directors, is stepping in as interim managing director.

Novice joined the Geffen in 2009 after having worked as managing director at the Pasadena Playhouse and as marketing and public relations director at the Old Globe in San Diego. At the Geffen, he succeeded Stephen Eich, who stepped down in 2008 after eight years as managing director of the company.

Reached by phone, Novice declined to elaborate on his departure from the Geffen. The  company, which announced Novice's departure late Friday, also declined to provide additional detail.

In a press release, Geffen board co-chairs Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson Hollander said that "we appreciate Ken's expertise and efforts during his time at the Geffen and wish him much success in his future endeavors."...

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Deborah Borda to take four-month sabbatical from L.A. Philharmonic

Deborah Borda will take a four-month sabbatical from her role as president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic so that she can assume a residency at the Harvard Kennedy School  at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. 

Borda's sabbatical is expected to begin in September, when she will join the Center for Public Leadership as a Hauser leader-in-residence. The school said on Monday that Borda will engage with students and faculty in the area of cultural entrepreneurship.

In addition, she will develop mentorship opportunities for students at the school and contribute to lectures and leadership development programming for the center's more than 100 students.

Borda said in a news release that the appointment "comes at an opportune time for me, as I pause to reflect on the exciting adventure of the past 15 years with the Los Angeles Philharmonic."

She added: "I look forward to returning refreshed and filled with new ideas as we prepare for the celebration of the L.A. Phil's...

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