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July 10, 2003

Brief Notes

  • North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts, recipient (with Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles) of Equity's 2003 Rosetta LeNoire Award has received a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous friend of the theatre to support the evolution of its education, entertainment and new musical development curriculum. This is the single largest gift the theatre has received in its nearly 50-year history. "I support two types of organizations," the donor said. "I support hospitals because they save lives, and I support North Shore Music Theatre because it makes lives worth saving." The theatre also received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a prototype program that unites deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students in a creative and artistic environment.
  • Theatre Development Fund (TDF) in New York, through its Theatre Access Project (TAP) and The Juilliard School, sponsored the sixth annual one-week intensive institute for professional sign language interpreters from across the United States and Canada in early June. This program offers proficient theatre interpreters the opportunity to explore advanced techniques for signing plays and musicals. Classes are taught by New York's top theatre interpreters, with involvement from members of the deaf community. The program "not only benefits interpreters who come to study the art of theatre sign interpretation by the masters of the craft, but more importantly ensures a more professional quality of interpreting for theatregoers with mild to profound hearing loss," said Lisa Carling, TDF's Director of TAP. Areas of study included "Performance," taught by Alan Champion and Candace Broecker-Penn (who between them have interpreted over 100 Broadway plays and musicals); "Translation," taught by Stephanie Feyne and Lynnette Taylor; "Body Work," by Alexander Technique expert Lauren Schiff, and "Contribution to Deaf Professionals," which drew upon deaf professionals in the tri-state area who have contributed to the field of sign language interpretation for the theatre. The week ended with several participants an opportunity to assist their instructors with a sign language interpreted performance of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
  • Speaking of TDF, TKTS, its discount ticket booth in Times Square, celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 25, 2003. Open 365 days a year, TKTS has distributed over 43 million same-day discount tickets (50% or 25% off) to Broadway, Off-Broadway, music and dance events. TDF also runs a satellite TKTS Booth at New York's South Street Seaport. Using TKTS as a model, TDF was respjonsible for helping to develop discount booths in Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, London and Sydney, Australia.
  • Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre has been renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre to honor the artist whose theatrical caricatures were a part of Broadway lore for 75 years. Mr. Hirschfeld died on January 20, 2003, five months shy of his 100th birthday. A plaque in the lobby will continue to commemorate Martin Beck, a vaudeville impresario who built the theatre in 1924.
  • The Minnesota Legislature has approved $25 million in capital bonds for the construction of the Guthrie Theatre's new $125 million complex. The facility will be built on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The appropriation is part of a $237 million capital investment bill.
  • Broadway went dark for a minute on July 1, 2003 in honor of Katharine Hepburn, who died at her childhood home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut on June 29 at the age of 96. Ms. Hepburn had been in declining health in recent years and died of old age, according to a close friend and executor of her estate. Over a more than 60 year career, Ms. Hepburn won four Academy Awards and was nominated 12 times. She starred in the Broadway musical, Coco (1969) and West Side Waltz (1982), receiving Tony nominations for each, and in A Matter of Gravity (1976).
  • Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company has named David Hawkanson as its new Executive Director, replacing Michael Gennaro, who left Steppenwolf to assume the position of President and CEO of Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.

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