Culture Monster
All arts, all the time
Harvey Weinstein spars with New York Post over 'Finding Neverland'

An unflattering column in the New York Post about the new stage musical "Finding Neverland" has riled the show's biggest backer, Harvey Weinstein, who claims that the writer of the column hasn't even seen the production.

"Finding Neverland," adapted from the 2004 movie of the same name, opened recently at the American Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts prior to an expected Broadway engagement. The long-awaited musical was lambasted this week by the Post's theater columnist Michael Riedel, who called it "dead in the water."

Riedel's column summarizes two reviews of the production, one from the New York Times and one from Deadline. The Post columnist has a reputation for writing provocative articles and has incurred the wrath of a number of prominent theater producers and artists over the years.

Weinstein later told Deadline that "though he was invited to workshops in New York, and to Boston, Michael Riedel never bothered to see 'Finding Neverland.'" The producer added that "I fail to...

Read more
Jeff Koons exhibition at Whitney Museum is vandalized

A small section of the Jeff Koons retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art was vandalized Wednesday, but no works of art were damaged, according to the New York museum.

A man threw red paint on a blank wall of the third floor of the exhibition and scrawled a name underneath it. The museum confirmed the vandalism in a brief statement, saying that "no artwork was affected or damaged in any way. Guards quickly apprehended the individual responsible. The police were called and they removed the individual from the museum."

The Whitney said that the third floor of the museum was closed after the incident, in accordance with security protocol, and reopened within two hours.

Photos that claim to depict the act of vandalism show red paint forming an "X" on the wall. Beneath the paint is a name that is largely illegible but that at least one art blog has deciphered as "Monty Cantsin."

Vandalism at major museums is uncommon but not unheard of. Earlier this year, a visitor...

Read more
Dudamel live from Salzburg with the Vienna Phil

The Vienna Philharmonic does not have a music director or any kind of principal conductor. The orchestra is managed by the players themselves. So being asked to guest conduct for more than a single program, and better still being invited to tour with the orchestra, is one of the great honors in the business.

Beginning with a pair of concerts at the Salzburg Festival this weekend, Gustavo Dudamel will spend five weeks with this exclusive band, giving concerts in Vienna and on tour at the Lucerne Festival and in Germany and Asia. The Asian component is the largest and it will include Dudamel and the  Viennese opening a new concert hall in Shanghai with acoustics by Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Yasuhisa Toyota.

The good news is that this Sunday’s Salzburg concert will be shown live on medici.tv. The bad news is that the morning performance begins at  2 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. But medici.tv (which is a pay service) does tend to provide delayed streaming for a few weeks for most events,...

Read more
Emma Stone is officially set for 'Cabaret' on Broadway

Emma Stone will receive a willkommen, bienvenue and welcome from the Broadway community this fall.

The "Amazing Spider-Man" actress will succeed Michelle Williams in the current Broadway revival of "Cabaret" from the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York. Producers announced on Wednesday that Stone is scheduled to start her run as Sally Bowles on Nov. 11 and will continue with the musical through Feb. 1.

The revival, which opened at Studio 54 in April, will mark Stone's Broadway debut. She will star opposite Alan Cumming, who is extending his time with the musical through March 29. 

"Cabaret," directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, is a revival of the Roundabout's 1998 revival production that won multiple Tony Awards and ran for close to six years on Broadway. The original New York production of this staging starred Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles and Cumming as the Emcee.

Stone can currently be seen in Woody Allen's period film "Magic in the Moonlight." She also has a role in...

Read more
Metropolitan Opera says potential labor crisis has been averted

The Metropolitan Opera said Wednesday that it expects to reach new contracts with its unions, thereby avoiding a lockout and allowing the 2014-15 season to begin in September without interruption.

The company said it arrived at a new agreement with its stagehands union late Tuesday and that final negotiations will take place Thursday with eight smaller unions representing backstage personnel. Earlier this week, federal mediators said that the Met had reached tentative agreements with its unions representing orchestral musicians and stage artists, including singers.

The unions that still have unsettled contracts with the Met include those that represent box-office treasurers, costume and wardrobe personnel, scenic artists and designers, camera operators and others.

The stagehands union, Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said Wednesday that its agreement with the Met is tentative and still awaits ratification.

"This wasn't easy," Matthew Loeb,...

Read more
L.A. theater openings, Aug. 24-31: 'My Son the Waiter' and more

Brad Zimmerman will be your server in "My Son the Waiter — A Jewish Tragedy" at the Scherr Forum Theatre, "Psyche: A Modern Rock Opera" reimagines a classic Greek myth at the Greenway Court Theatre, and the afterlife isn't all it's cracked up to be in "The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle" at Son of Semele Theater.

Botanicum Seedlings Staged readings of two new plays: Paul Hufker’s drama “belly wild, sharon rich” and Stephanie Swirsky’s dark comedy “Jew Kamp.” Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga. Sun, next Sun., 11 a.m. Free. (310) 455-3723.

Reaching for the Stars: A Cabrillo Cabaret A fundraiser for Cabrillo Music Theatre features musical performances by current and former company members. The Lyric Theatre, 520 N. La Brea Ave., L.A. Mon., 8 p.m. $20; tickets at www.cabrillomusictheatre.com. (805) 497-8613.

My Son the Waiter — A Jewish Tragedy Writer-performer Brad Zimmerman’s solo show about his three decades as a struggling actor-comic in New York City....

Read more
L.A. Philharmonic gala getting a dose of 'Star Wars'

The Force is coming to Walt Disney Concert Hall in September.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s gala season-opening concert will feature music from “Star Wars” as well as a video projection using concept art from the Lucasfilm archive.

As previously announced, the gala concert on Sept. 30 will be a tribute to the music of John Williams, featuring a program of the composer’s movie scores and other pieces, led by conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The complete program, announced Tuesday, will include Williams’ music for “Schindler’s List,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “The Adventures of Tintin” and the “Star Wars” movies. Violinst Itzhak Perlman will be on hand to perform solos from the “Schindler’s List” score.

In addition, the orchestra will perform Williams’ “Soundings,” a piece the composer wrote for the opening of Disney Hall. The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets will perform his fanfare and theme for the Olympic Games.

Video projections will accompany the performances of “Soundings” and the “Star Wars” score....

Read more
Hammer Museum announces winners of 2014 Made in L.A. Mohn Awards

The Hammer Museum thrilled four Los Angeles artists with the announcement Tuesday that they had won the 2014 Made in L.A. Mohn Awards.

The top prize -- the juried Mohn Award, which honors artistic excellence with $100,000 funded by philanthropists and art lovers Jarl and Pamela Mohn -- went to the Los Angeles Museum of Art, which is a micro-gallery and art installation created by Alice Könitz, 43. 

The juried Career Achievement Award, which celebrates "brilliance and resilience" with a $25,000 prize, went to the married couple Michael and Magdalena Frimkess, 77 and 84, respectively. Together they create delicate ceramics that he throws and she paints.

The Public Recognition Award, which is decided through a public vote and comes with a $25,000 prize, went to Jennifer Moon, 41, whose work is a multimedia mixture of fantasy and autobiography with a revolutionary bent.

Together, these artists form a snapshot of the exciting state of contemporary art in Los Angeles, said the Hammer's chief...

Read more
Corcoran wins judge's approval for merger plans

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington received approval from a judge Monday to proceed with its plan to merge with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, dealing a defeat to those who had filed a lawsuit in opposition to the agreement.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Okun ruled that the merger was the most practical solution for the Corcoran, which has experienced significant financial difficulties. However, Okun also said in his decision that giving the order to dissolve the Corcoran was a painful one.

The decision means that the Corcoran may proceed with its plan that will see much of its art collection absorbed by the National Gallery. The Corcoran's art school will become part of George Washington University.

As part of the deal, the National Gallery will present exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in the Corcoran's historic Beaux-Arts building in Washington.

Works that are not accessioned by the National Gallery will be...

Read more
Placido Domingo recovering from infections

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

Plácido Domingo has been diagnosed with two infections weeks before two upcoming engagements in Los Angeles. The tenor said on his Facebook page that he intends to recover in New York before traveling to the West Coast.

Domingo has been suffering from a bladder infection and a respiratory tract infection in recent days, his publicist confirmed. The singer had to cancel his final three performances of "Il Trovatore" at the Salzburg Festival in Austria as a result of the illnesses.

The tenor is expected to see a doctor while in New York. "Thank you so much for all the concern regarding my health and my recent cancellations," he wrote on Facebook on Monday. 

Domingo is still scheduled to preside over the annual Operalia competition that will be held later this month in L.A. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. He is also still scheduled to star in an engagement of "La Traviata" at L.A. Opera, with an opening set for Sept. 13.

The...

Read more
Gloria Estefan musical, 'On Your Feet!,' coming to Broadway in 2015

The rhythm is gonna get Broadway next year when a new musical based on the life of pop singer Gloria Estefan and her husband opens at the Marquis Theatre in New York.

"On Your Feet!" is scheduled to begin previews in New York on Oct. 5. 2015, following an out-of-town tryout in Chicago set to run June 2 to July 5, 2015. The musical will feature some of Estefan's most popular singles, including "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," "Conga" and "1-2-3."

The production will tell the story of the Cuban-born singer's relationship with Miami Sound Machine musician Emilio Estefan, and her rise to the top of the charts during the '80s. The musical will be directed by Broadway veteran Jerry Mitchell, who staged "Kinky Boots" and "Legally Blonde."

"On Your Feet!" is being produced by Estefan Enterprises, the couple's Miami-based company, and James L. Nederlander. Las Vegas impresario Bernie Yuman is an executive producer on the show.

Estefan's debut Broadway effort will be the latest in a number of  jukebox...

Read more
Metropolitan Opera reaches tentative agreement with biggest unions

Federal mediators announced Monday that the Metropolitan Opera has reached a tentative agreement with two of its biggest unions, suggesting that a lockout will likely be avoided.

The announcement comes about a month before the New York company is set to begin its new season at Lincoln Center.

Opera officials have been engaged in tense negotiations with several of its unions for weeks. The agreements have yet to be formally ratified on both sides.

Mediators have helped to broker negotiations between the Met and its unions. "These were difficult and highly complex negotiations, and I wish to commend the parties for their resolve in addressing multiple and complex issues," said Allison Beck, deputy director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, in a release on Monday.

The tentative agreement applies to the unions representing the Met's orchestral musicians and its stage artists, including singers. The Met also said on Monday that the contract deadline has been extended to...

Read more
Loading