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TBA Online: News & Features: May 2014

Editor's Note May/June 2014: Celebrating Abundance

Monday, April 28, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katharine Chin
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By Sam Hurwitt     

Hooboy, is there a lot of stuff in this magazine! In recent years the May/June magazine would have been our Youth Issue, but it was astutely pointed out to us that May was a little late for parents making summer plans for their kids, so we moved the youth listings to our March/April issue. That leaves May/June as that rarity of rarities—an issue of the magazine with no particular theme at all! The possibilities are endless. And the room for features is...well, not exactly endless, but more than usual.

Editor-in-Chief Sam Hurwitt.  

This June is the 40th anniversary of San Francisco's Energizer Bunny of theatrical extravaganzas, Beach Blanket Babylon, which lays claim to being the longest-running musical revue in the known cosmos. Lisa Drostova talked to the folks who've kept it going about how the show got started in the distant mists of time, and how they keep it fresh with an ever-changing barrage of topical references. There's a bunch of new shows based on the true stories of real-life people coming up in the next couple of months, and Nirmala Narataj talks to the playwrights about their various approaches to turning people's lives into something that makes sense onstage. 

Speaking of various approaches, Lily Janiak takes a look at some of the umpteen zillion different new-play development methods coexisting all around the Bay Area. Just Theater artistic director Jonathan Spector examines why the heck local theatre companies are casting their seasons earlier and earlier and what a self-perpetuating phenomenon that is, as everyone wants to take their pick before the pickings get slim. And Jean Schiffman checks in with some of the Bay's busiest production photographers on just how they do that voodoo that they do. 

It's also Tony season, which isn't normally something we pay much attention to at Theatre Bay Area. The Tony Awards may be the nation's most prominent theatre awards, but they're limited to what goes on in only 40 theatres in one neighborhood of New York City, and that doesn't typically have much connection to the work being created on our hundreds of Bay Area stages. But there are many individual connections between our specific theatre community and the specific theatre community that the Tonys celebrate, and various artists and shows from the Bay Area have gone on to win Tony Awards once they hit Broadway; Chad Jones gives us many examples in his feature article in the magazine. You can help us celebrate both communities at once in our Blushing Orchid Ball on June 8, which includes a live feed of the Tony Awards. This shindig is the launch party for the Bay Area's answer to the Tonys, the brand-spanking-new TBA Awards, which are now underway with legions of adjudicators out there assessing shows to be honored at our inaugural awards gala in November. 

Things are changing in our listings section, and we're pleased to announce the addition of a brand-new listings category: Other Opportunities. Listings editor Lily Janiak has long lamented that there are a lot of opportunities for theatre artists out there that don't quite fit into our existing listings headings: auditions, jobs and playwrights' opportunities. These could include residencies or calls for pitches; they might be geared toward dancers or performance artists or ensembles. As this is a new section, we're on the prowl for these "other opportunities," and listing them is free, so if you have leads, send them to Lily at listings@theatrebayarea.org.

Check back in with us in the next issue, when we'll be proud to publish the winner of this year's Glickman Award for best play to premiere in the Bay Area in 2013: Ideation by Bay Area playwright Aaron Loeb, which San Francisco Playhouse unveiled as part of its second-stage Sandbox Series of small-scale world premieres in November. This one was such a smashing success that SF Playhouse is taking the unprecedented step of reviving the play to open its main stage season this fall. So unlike most years, when we can only say we're sorry you missed the Glickman Award winner, this time you have another chance to see what all the fuss is about. Or two more chances, really, because we're happy to clue you in with the full script of Ideation in our next issue. Trust me, you won't want to miss it. 


Sam Hurwitt is editor-in-chief for Theatre Bay Area. He is also the author of The Idiolect, a blog about theatre, movies, comics, media and the decline and fall of Western civilization.