For a long time Rotherhithe was London’s natural port, gaining its name from the Anglo-Saxon term for “landing-place for cattle.” There were shipyards in the area from Elizabethan times until the early twentieth century, and working docks until the 1970s. [Read more…] about Engineering Theatre: The Brunel Legacy in London & New York
The May 2021 episode of “Crossroads of Rockland History,” remembers Helen Hayes. Joyce Bulifant, daughter-in-law of Hayes, shared fond memories of her mother-in-law; of her father-in-law, the playwright Charles MacArthur; and of their famous house in Nyack, Pretty Penny. Then we learned about an effort to establish Pretty Penny as a literary landmark from actor/writer/director Joel Vig. [Read more…] about Helen Hayes Subject of Rockland History Podcast
In the early nineteenth century, theaters were among the relatively few purpose built public spaces where large numbers of people could gather. They were cathedrals of modernity. Repertoire was the main focus of attention, but the auditorium was a performance area in itself where topical issues were discussed. [Read more…] about Blame it on Shakespeare: The Astor Place Riot
The idea of utopia as a place of peace and plenty away from the hardships of ordinary life, is a recurring theme in literature. The term entered popular usage after publication of Thomas More’s Utopia in 1516. His Eden is an idyllic island society wholly removed from the corruption of sixteenth century England. [Read more…] about Myth and Migration: The Old West As Urban Invention
Switzerland may not a member of the European Union, but it is part of the Schengen border-free travel zone. Checkpoints between countries are put up only during emergencies. The recent influx of refugees led to a decision for the border to be sealed, making Lake Como a migrant frontline. Those with the means to do so have turned to locals to help them cross the Alps on their journey towards Germany or Britain. [Read more…] about MicroHistory and Migration: From Moltrasio to London, New York and Montreal
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2021 New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA). The four-week summer program will be held fully online to ensure safety during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Tuition will be free for all students who qualify, fostering equity by allowing students who may not have been able to participate otherwise. Students will be able to experience intensive work and interaction with internationally acclaimed artists and performing arts companies. [Read more…] about New York State Summer School of the Arts
Bruce Wasserstein, the financier and corporate takeover adviser, and his sister Wendy Wasserstein, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author, were among the most accomplished and famous New Yorkers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Both died suddenly and somewhat prematurely — Bruce in October 2009 at the age of 61 of a reported aneurism and Wendy at the age of 55 in January 2006 reportedly of lymphoma, but not before they had reached the pinnacle of their chosen professions — Bruce in finance and Wendy in the theater.
Their success was achieved through a combination of shrewd insight and highly effective self-promotion, and the good fortune to live through a period of economic and social revival in New York City, in which they were active participants. [Read more…] about Profile: Bruce & Wendy Wasserstein and NYC’s Revival
Born in 1799, Clemente Bassano (the family name originates from the Veneto region of Italy) settled in London and started his career as a fishmonger in Soho. By 1825 he ran a warehouse from Jermyn Street, St James’s, importing almonds, oil, capers, and macaroni.
His daughter Louise was an opera singer who toured with Franz Liszt on his London visit in 1840/1. Her brother Alessandro became a high society photographer with a studio in Regent Street. His portrait of Horatio Kitchener was used during the First World War for an iconic recruitment poster. [Read more…] about Harlem’s “Black Beauty” Mills; London’s Josephine Baker
The early history of the city of New York’s vaunted theater district provides yet another illustration of how oft-repeated narratives become accepted truths. On the website of the New York Preservation Archive Project, we find the following:
“The Broadway Theater District originated in the early 1900s as theaters began to move from Union Square and Madison Square Garden further uptown to the Times Square area because of its cheaper real estate.” [Read more…] about The Odd Couple Who Paved the Way for Modern Broadway
One of the things I am missing this summer is the theater. From Broadway in the city of New York to Pendragon Theatre in the Adirondacks and everywhere in between, stages have gone dark.
Actors are a lively, irrepressible bunch, and so it’s a testament to the seriousness of the ongoing pandemic that theaters are closed. [Read more…] about Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, William Morris and Saranac Lake