Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I think the day after my review of “[title of show]” appeared in Style is a good time to give an overdue shout out to Theatre VCU. If there was any doubt as to the importance of this local university’s program to the local theater scene, a scan of the recent graduates should alleviate that. Looking just through the list of MFA recipients, I see at least two RTCC award winners and perhaps two other RTCC award nominees. And, thinking back on this past season, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least two more of the listed MFAs don’t snag a nomination before the year is over.

Not that the RTCC awards are the be-all-and-end-all but they are one convenient measure of the impact of these individuals specifically and the Theatre VCU program generally. It’s also worth mentioning that the folks who taught these graduates also participate regularly in the local professional scene, perhaps none more prolifically than Patti D’Beck (featured in this graduation ceremony picture).

I’ll admit to being too blasé about Theatre VCU in the past. I don’t make going to its productions a priority, though my colleague, John Porter, has encouraged me to do so several times in the past. This in the face of the fact that some of my favorite theatrical experiences over the past couple of years (“Chicago,” “Tommy,” etc.) have been at their productions. I don’t always scrutinize the school’s upcoming season when all of the other local companies are announcing theirs, even though this September they’ll produce the intriguing “Shakespeare R&J” directed by Keri Wormald, a fabulous director who’s been at the helm of some of the best pro productions in Richmond history (IMHO). And to complete the litany of inadequacy, I didn’t make it out to “The Bluest Eye,” the VCU co-pro with Barksdale, which I heard very good things about second-hand.

So I am going to do better in the future. For a start, I’ll add the fun and informative Theatre VCU BackStage Pass blog to the roll on the right. This should keep me (and any of you that care) apprised of some of the VCU goings on. And come next season, I’ll carve out the space required to see the VCU shows, something that won’t be chore by any means given shows like “Grease!” and “Arabian Nights” on their docket.

For those of you who pay attention, the Drama Desk awards were announced over the weekend and seem to give a good indication of how the Tonys might go, that is, lots of recognition for “The Book of Mormon.”

A few people have asked me about the NEA fellowship thing and I realized that I’ve probably confused some folks. I went to LA a few weeks ago as part of my 9-5 job, not for the fellowship. The NEA Institute begins two weeks from this Sunday and I’m alternately excited and terrified. Since I’m going to have to act like a real journalist while I’m there, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to how theater is covered. There’s no better place than the NYTimes to go for that and I was particularly impressed a couple of weeks ago at this little slideshow about “Catch Me If You Can.” It’s a great deconstruction of the choreography of a scene. I’ve always been a fan of journalism that’s instructive as well as informative and this piece definitely fits the bill. Now, if I could only make my blog posts just as good...

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