The StageAgent Theatre Blog

News, thoughts, opinions and advice for the performing arts community.

Great American Soldiers in Theatre History

South-Pacific

Memorial Day is the day Americans remember the people who died while serving in the armed forces.  Theatre is filled with stories about war and the soldiers who fought in them.  As such, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some examples of how soldiers are depicted in the world of theatre.

Portrayals of the American soldier run the gambit from the happy-go-lucky sailors and nurses in the musical South Pacific to the tortured, addicted Marine vet in Water by the Spoonful.  Miss Saigon features broken G.I.’s who frequent hookers. Tunny from American Idiot is destroyed by his military experience.

Take a look at the slideshow below with some video clips of various Broadway soldiers.  How do you feel about how members of the armed forces have been portrayed on stage? Who are you favorite Broadway soldiers?

Want to learn more about these great characters?

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Five Great Musicals with Small Casts

lastfiveyears

Putting on a large-scale musical with a huge cast, full orchestra and eye-popping choreography can be a daunting (and expensive) task for any organization.  If you are working on a small stage, have a tiny budget or simply don’t have access to a lot of talent, producing a big musical might simply be impossible.

Luckily, there is no shortage of wonderful musicals that involve smaller casts and are even particularly effective in smaller venues.  Here are five of our favorites:

1.  Next to Normal

Next to Normal is the story of Diana Goodman and her family. Traumatized by the death of her infant son from an undiagnosed intestinal obstruction, Diana has lived with bipolar depressive disorder and delusional episodes for the past seventeen years. The illness has affected everyone in her life, and has nearly torn her family apart on several occasions. With subject matter rendered achingly recognizable by Brian Yorkey, and a dynamic, energetic pop-rock score by Tom Kitt, Next to Normal is a show that enables a small group of actors to showcase powerhouse vocals while exploring pressing contemporary issues of trauma,

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Spring 2015 Broadway Review Roundup

Times Square Broadway

The current Broadway season is one of the best in years. However, the plethora of options can be overwhelming – especially if you only have a few days to spend in New York City.  Here’s a summary of some of the recent shows we checked out:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Our take: A must see!

Curious Incident is likely to win this year’s Tony Award® for Best Play. The riveting story revolves around a teenage boy with Asperger’s, Christopher Boone, who is on the hunt to find the murderer of a local dog. The scenery is fabulous. Alex Sharp’s performance as Christopher is triumphant. If you only have time to see one play on Broadway, this is the one to see.

Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Our take: Great light-hearted fun

Gentleman’s Guide is a delightful farce and won the Tony Award® for Best Musical in 2014 . After his mother dies, Monty Navarro (who was raised in poverty) discovers that he is heir to a family fortune.  

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Broadway Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Simon Stephens’ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a true gem and Broadway at its best.  It’s also a safe bet to win this year’s Tony Award® for Best Play.

The story revolves around fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone. Christopher is a mathematical genius who either suffers from autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Mysteriously, a neighbor’s dog is killed and Christopher is the prime suspect. In fact, Christopher was not guilty of the crime and he becomes obsessed with exposing the real killer.

As Christopher embarks on his journey to find the killer, we learn how difficult even the most basic tasks are for him. He hates being touched, he doesn’t know how to interact with people and he is barely capable of navigating the world around him. Further, his mom (played by Enid Graham) and his dad (played by Ian Barford) have split up. Christopher is living with his dad in Swindon while his mom lives in London. The only person who seems to truly understand Christopher is his special-education teacher, Siobhan.

Curious Incident is a whirlwind of sensual delight.

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Broadway Review: Living on Love is a Dud

Living on LoveLongacre Theatre

If you are planning a trip to the Great White Way, you can avoid Living on Love. With this play performing at the Longacre Theatre, you might get tempted by discounted tickets or a star-studded cast featuring opera diva Renée Fleming. But save your time and hard-earned money for other shows such as Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

The play is a farce that takes place in a glorious Manhattan penthouse owned by the Maestro Vito De Angelis (played by Douglas Sill) and his wife, the opera diva Raquel De Angelis (played by Renée Fleming). The young ghostwriter, Robert Samson (played by Jerry O’Connell) has been attempting for weeks to write the autobiography of the Maestro. To Robert’s frustration, the Maestro is constantly late to interviews or making up stories about his love life. The Maestro even mocks Robert for not having a girlfriend. In fact, the main reason that Robert stays on the project is because he is obsessed with the Maestro’s opera singer wife. Meanwhile, the Maestro feels that he deserves nothing less than Earnest Hemmingway writing his biography.

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Navigating a StageAgent Show Guide

StageAgent Tutorials

StageAgent now features hundreds of professionally-written guides, designed to help you discover more about the plays you love and discover new ones.  Here are a few things you might want to know to optimize your experience using StageAgent.

Click on Context to find out more about how the play or musical first came about, historical and dramaturgical information relevant to the production, and production history, including unique stagings or interpretations that put a unique twist on the traditional text.

Click on Clips to find numerous performance clips from a range of productions (and sometimes you can even view the entire play online!)  There are even more clips of individual characters’ performances to discover when you click on individual character descriptions.

Don’t have access to the script before an audition?  Need the context quickly for a particular scene in acting class?  There is a short synopsis of each play available on its Overview page, but if you click on Plot, you will find a detailed, scene-by-scene synopsis of the entire play.

Click on the Characters tab to find a full list of all characters involved in a particular production.  

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Release Notes (February 12, 2015)

Bug

 

Last night we made some bug fixes and pushed some new features to StageAgent.com

  1. On the mobile version of StageAgent, we fixed some bugs and made enhancements to guide search pages and individual guides.
  2. On show guides, we moved writers and tags to the header area next to the show logo. We also moved the synopsis up to the first section of the page.
  3. The profile editing wizard that new members go through now has ‘load more’ functionality for fanning of shows, writers and companies.
  4. On individual audition and performance pages, we moved the ‘Edit this page’ button down to the bottom of the page.
  5. We fixed a major bug that was causing grammatical errors throughout show synopses

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StageAgent is Looking for Writers

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At StageAgent we are working to improve access to online resources and performance opportunities for theatre professionals, students, and hobbyists.  We are currently developing some fantastic new tools for actors and building the most comprehensive databases of shows, characters, writers, monologues and song information on the internet

At StageAgent we are working to improve access to online resources and performance opportunities for theatre professionals, students, and hobbyists.  We are currently developing some fantastic new tools for actors and building the most comprehensive databases of shows, characters, writers, monologues and song information on the internet

We are becoming an unparalleled destination for theatre-related resources, but in order to succeed, we need your help! StageAgent has multiple openings for part-time content specialists to write original show guides about musicals and plays. You should be an excellent writer with a deep knowledge of Broadway musicals and/or straight plays, including extensive industry and/or academic experience. This is a work-from-home position and we are open to hiring experts regardless of your geographic location.

Job duties:

  • Write detailed guides for musicals and plays including context,

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Welcome to the New StageAgent!

Welcome to the new StageAgent! We really hope you like it.  I created the original concept for StageAgent in a dorm room at Stanford based on the belief that it would be much more efficient to study characters online instead of spending hours at the library.  Soon, this concept of an online theatre character database turned into the first version of StageAgent. I’m proud to say that what started as a tiny passion project has now grown to become the world’s leading theatre resource website. To create the new StageAgent, we combined the latest web technology with expert-written content to revolutionize theatre education and enhance networking opportunities within our community.

With our new site, we hope to improve theatre education, access to performance opportunities, and awareness of shows.  We wrote thousands of pages of new educational content to save you trips to the library. We built tools to make performance opportunities easier to find and to help casting directors quickly find the best talent. We also created new search features to help producers locate the show information they need.  Finally, at StageAgent we support community theatre because we are part of this community and want it to thrive.

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News, thoughts, opinions and advice for the performing arts community.