Archive for June 29th, 2009

Broadway’s Dark Summer

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to an article on Bloomberg by mid-July 49% of Broadway theatres will be closed to any production despite coming out of a record year for ticket sales. Many shows ended profitably, some were scheduled to close at this point, while there were the usual commercial failures.

It means that during the height of the summer season there will be a limited choice available to the tourists.

“Our costs to carry a dark theater are very low — real estate taxes, insurance, heat and electricity — because we lay everybody off,” Philip J. Smith, chairman of the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 Broadway theaters, told me [Jeremy Gerard].

Smith points out that while the number of dark theaters may be higher than last year, it’s business as usual: His houses are all booked with shows scheduled to open in the fall and winter. Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman and Daniel “Bond, James Bond” Craig are moving into the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with Keith Huff’s “A Steady Rain.” That new police drama will be produced by the husband-and-wife team of Frederick Zollo and Barbara Broccoli (whose late father, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, produced the Bond movies).

And the Barrymore Theatre, which had been home to Rush and his dysfunctional royal court, has been booked by producer Jeffrey Richards and his partners for David Mamet’s new play, “Race.” An acclaimed Los Angeles revival of Mamet’s “Oleanna” is also in the offing for the coming season.

Perhaps it will be an Autumn Awakening this year.

More Women Directors on Broadway

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

The New York Times reports that it’s been a good year for women directing Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, a fact that should not be remarkable, but remains noteworthy because it’s been a rarity – thus far:

As it turns out, bias against female playwrights has also received attention recently because of a new study that found there is discrimination against women who are writing for the theater. Last week at a meeting about the research, participants discussed how bias in one part of the business can ripple throughout the industry, affecting directors and others.

Still, Ms. MacKinnon and Ms. Sardelli said they feel fortunate to be directing when the industry is opening up to more women. “I think the generation above me really had it harder,” Ms. MacKinnon said. “That’s when there was the one girl in the room.”

She added, though: “It seems to me that there are number of men who aren’t that much older than me whose names you see over and over again. There are not that many women who have that kind of relationships with producers. How do you break into that tiny Rolodex?”

Galway Film Commission?

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Galway Advertiser reports that in the current tough economic climate some politicians are turning to the Arts to attract investment.

Galway Labour councillor Billy Cameron is urging the Galway City Council to establish a film commission to promote the county as a film location.

“Great film and television drama continues to be made in Ireland year after year,” said Cllr Cameron, “but I am convinced we could be losing out due to the fact that we do not have a office under the auspices of the city council.”

Cllr Cameron points out that Galway is a “unique centre of culture and creativity” with an office of the Irish Film Board in the city, the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI, Galway, Studio Solas, and the Galway Film Fleadh.

“All of this infrastructure along with the fact that we possess producers, directors, writers, cast and crews in abundance leaves me in no doubt that Galway can become a centre for film making in the west,” he said. “A multi agency film commission is pivotal and the cog in the wheel to put Galway on the map for future film making.”

Little Bird Goes Under

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

IFTN reports that Dublin production company, Little Bird – which was involved in films such as Bridget Jones Diary and Into the West – has folded with debts of over €3.5 million.

The company that were in the process of producing a film about the life of convicted murder Catherine Nevin went into liquidation after failing to restructure in receivership. Kieran Wallace the receiver is in negotiations with a British film company to sell the on-going productions and back catalogue rights to Irish television series ‘On Home Ground’ and ‘The Irish RM’.

The company which holds offices in Dublin, London and Johannesburg commented: “We made significant losses in movie production and development during the period 2000 to 2004, in recent months a number of challenges – some our own – others not, like the collapse in international equity markets, have made it difficult to refinance Little Bird’s business.”