A play is a form of literature written by a playwright consisting of dialogue or singing between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. Plays are performed at a variety of levels, from Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theater, to Community theatre, as well as university or school productions. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference as to whether their plays were performed or read; the term "play" can refer to both the written texts of playwrights and to their complete theatrical performance. Comedies are plays. Comedies are filled with witty remarks, unusual characters, strange circumstances. Certain comedies are geared toward different age groups. Comedies were one of the two original play types of Ancient Greece, along with tragedies. An example of a comedy would be William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, or for a more modern example the skits from Saturday Night Live. A nonsensical genre of play, farces are acted and involve humor.
An example of a farce includes William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors, or Mark Twain's play Is He Dead?. A satire play takes a comic look at current events people while at the same time attempting to make a political or social statement, for example pointing out corruption. An example of a satire would be Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Satire plays are one of the most popular forms of comedy, considered to be their own genre entirely. Restoration comedy is a genre that explored relationships between men and women, was considered risqué in its time. Characters featured in restoration comedy included stereotypes of all kinds, these same stereotypes were found in most plays of this genre, so much so that most plays were similar in message and content. However, since restoration comedy dealt with unspoken aspects of relationships, it created a type of connection between audience and performance, more informal and private, it is agreed that restoration comedy has origins in Molière’s theories of comedy, but differs in intention and tone.
The inconsistency between restoration comedy’s morals and the morals of the era is something that arises during the study of this genre. This may give clues as to why, despite its original success, restoration comedy did not last long in the seventeenth century. However, in recent years, it has become a topic of interest for theatre theorists, who have been looking into theatre styles that have their own conventions of performance; these plays contain darker themes such as disaster. The protagonist of the play has a tragic flaw, a trait which leads to their downfall. Tragic plays convey all emotions and have dramatic conflicts. Tragedy was one of the two original play types of Ancient Greece; some examples of tragedies include William Shakespeare's Hamlet, John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi. These plays focus on actual historical events, they can be tragedies or comedies, but are neither of these. History as a separate genre was popularized by William Shakespeare. Examples of historical plays include Friedrich Schiller's Demetrius and William Shakespeare's King John.
Ballad opera, a popular theatre style at the time, was the first style of musical to be performed in the American colonies. The first musical of American origin was premiered in Philadelphia in 1767, was called “The Disappointment”, this play never made it to production. Around the 1920s, theatre styles were beginning to be defined more clearly. For musical theatre, this meant that composers gained the right to create every song in the play, these new plays were held to more specific conventions, such as thirty-two-bar songs; when the Great Depression came, many people left Broadway for Hollywood, the atmosphere of Broadway musicals changed significantly. A similar situation occurred during the 1960s, when composers were scarce and musicals lacked vibrancy and entertainment value. By the 1990s, there were few original Broadway musicals, as many were recreations of movies or novels. Musical productions have songs to help move the ideas of the play along, they are accompanied by dancing. Musicals can be elaborate in settings and actor performances.
Examples of musical productions include Fiddler on the Roof. This theatre style originated in the 1940s when Antonin Artaud hypothesized about the effects of expressing through the body as opposed to “by conditioned thought.” In 1946, he wrote a preface to his works in which he explained how he came to write what and the way he did. Above all, Artaud did not trust language as a means of communication. Plays within the genre of theatre of cruelty are abstract in content. Artaud wanted his plays to accomplish something, his intention was to symbolise the subconscious through bodily performances, as he did not believe language could be effective. Artaud considered his plays to be an enactment rather than a re-enactment, which meant he believed his actors were in reality, rather than re-enacting reality, his plays dealt with heavy issues such as patients in psych wards, Nazi Germany. Through these performances, he wanted to “make the causes of suffering audible”, audiences reacted poorly, as they were so taken aback by what they saw.
Much of his work was banned in France at the time. Artaud did not believe that conventional theatre of the time would allow the audience to have a cathartic experience and help heal the wounds of World War II. For this reason, he moved towards radio-based theatre, in which the audience could use their imagination to connect the word
Borscht Belt, or Jewish Alps, is a nickname for the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in parts of Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York. Borscht, a soup associated with immigrants from eastern Europe, was a metonym for "Jewish"; these resorts were a popular vacation spot for New York City Jews between the 1970s. Most Borscht Belt resorts hosted traveling Jewish comedians and musicians, many who became prominent began their careers there; the tradition of Borscht Belt entertainment began in the early twentieth century with the indoor and outdoor theaters constructed on a 40-acre tract in Hunter, New York, by Yiddish theater star Boris Thomashefsky. Beginning in the 1980s, the growth of air travel made the Catskills less attractive, so many of the resorts closed, although Jewish culture has remained present. A large percentage of the region comprises summer homes and bungalow colonies for Orthodox Jewish families from the New York metropolitan area, as well as year-round dwellers. Resorts still are operating in the region, including Catskill Mountains Resort, Villa Roma, an Italian American resort and Xenia, Ukrainian cultural resorts, the Skazka and Hotel Pine, Russian cultural resorts.
Additionally, motorsports enthusiasts are drawn to the area visiting the Monticello Motor Club. Borscht Belt hotels, bungalow colonies, summer camps, קאָך-אַליינס kokh-aleyns were frequented by families of middle and working class Jewish New Yorkers Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Antisemitism in the 1940s,'50s, and'60s, meant that they were denied accommodation elsewhere; some of the Catskill hotels were converted from farms that immigrant Jews had started in the early 1900s. As the area grew, it began to cater to Jews, providing kosher food and other features of Jewish communities, including entertainment; the area became known as "The Jewish Alps", the Sullivan County portion as "Solomon County". From the 1920s through the 1970s, nearly all notable Jewish entertainers would hone their skills at resorts in the Sullivan County area. Fallsburg became the catalyst for American stand-up comedy. Comedy legends, including Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld, Henny Youngman, performed there, as did Sid Caesar, Billy Crystal, Buddy Hackett, Gabe Kaplan, Andy Kaufman, Joan Rivers.
Jerry Lewis worked as a busboy. He would entertain customers while cleaning tables, giving him a chance to hone his skills while upping his tips. Famed prize fighters Rocky Marciano and Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Leon Spinks and Floyd Patterson trained there. Millions of tourists New Yorkers, came to swim in the lakes and oversized hotel pools, to ski or ice-skate or take lessons in golf and dancing. No fewer than 538 hotels sprang up in this area of Eastern New York. Well known resorts in the area included The Concord, Grossinger's, Brickman's, Brown's Hotel, Kutsher's Hotel and Country Club, the Nevele, Friar Tuck Inn, Gibber's, Gilbert's, the Woodbine Hotel, the Heiden Hotel, Lansman's, The Laurels Hotel and Country Club, The Pines Resort, Silverman's River View Hotel, Stiers, the Tamarack Lodge, the Olympic, the Windsor Regency. Two of the larger hotels in High View were the Overlook. In 1959, the Shawanga hosted a conference; the hotel burned to the ground in 1973. The Overlook had entertainment and summer lodging through the late 1960s and was operated by the Schrier family.
It included a main building and about 50 other bungalows, plus a five-unit cottage just across the street. It remains in a different form; the New York, Ontario & Western Railway carried passengers to the resorts from Weehawken, New Jersey, until 1948. The railroad was abandoned in 1957. Despite the improvement of roads such as the original New York State Route 17, the area is no longer a major travel destination; the decline of the Catskills resorts was apparent as early as 1965. Entertainment in America was changing as the country ushered in the jet age; as ethnic barriers in the U. S. began to fall and travel to distant resorts became easier and cheaper, fewer Jewish American families in New York City went to the Catskills. By the early 1960s, between a quarter and a third of Grossinger's annual visitors were non-Jewish; the universalization of air-conditioned hotels across America drew customers away from the aging resorts built before this innovation became common. In the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s, traditional resort vacations lost their appeal for many younger adults.
Smaller, more modest hotels such as Youngs Gap and the Ambassador found themselves in a niche with a vanishing clientele and closed by the end of the 1960s. By the mid-1990s, nearly 300 hotels and motels had gone out of business in Sullivan County; the 1970s took a toll on more lavish establishments such as the Flagler and The Laurels. In 1986 Grossinger's closed for renovations, the property was abandoned by new owners midway through work. Grossinger's largest historic rival, the Concord, benefitted only temporarily, filing for bankruptcy in 1997 and closing a year later. In 1987, New York's mayor Ed Koch proposed buying the Gibber Hotel in Kiamesha Lake to house the homeless; the idea was opposed by local officials. The hotel instead became a religious school, like many old hotels in the Catskills. Plans are now in place by those who purchased the fo
Ansel Elgort is an American actor, DJ. Born to photographer Arthur Elgort and stage producer Grethe Barrett Holby, he began his acting career with a supporting role in the horror film Carrie. Elgort gained wider recognition for starring as a cancer patient in the romantic teen drama The Fault in Our Stars and for his role in The Divergent Series franchise. In 2017, he played the title character in Edgar Wright's action thriller Baby Driver, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy; as a singer, he has released the singles "Thief" and "Supernov@". Elgort was born in Manhattan, his parents are Arthur Elgort, a fashion photographer who has worked extensively for Vogue for over thirty years, Grethe Barrett Holby, an opera director. His father is of Russian Jewish descent, his mother is of Norwegian and German ancestry, his Norwegian maternal grandmother, Aase-Grethe, was in the Norwegian resistance during World War II, saved Norwegian Jewish children by moving them into neutral Sweden.
Elgort is named after photographer Ansel Adams. The third of three children, he has two older siblings: sister Sophie Elgort, a fashion photographer, brother Warren Elgort, a cinematographer. At the age of nine, his mother took him to try out for School of American Ballet. Elgort went on to study there for 5 years, he attended The Professional Performing Arts School, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and Stagedoor Manor summer camp. Elgort started taking acting classes at the age of twelve and at LaGuardia, where he performed in a rendition of Hairspray with schoolmate Kyle Jean-Baptiste and starred in the school's productions of Guys and Dolls. Elgort's first professional acting appearance was a few months before graduating high school, just days after his eighteenth birthday, when he premiered a lead role in an Off-Broadway production of Regrets in March 2012, his film debut was in the 2013 remake of Carrie, in the key secondary role of the lead character’ s prom date. His first publicized role was in Divergent as Caleb Prior, the brother of the lead character.
After the filming of Divergent was completed, it was announced that Elgort would play Augustus Waters in the film adaptation of John Green's novel The Fault in Our Stars, opposite Woodley who would play Hazel Grace Lancaster. The film followed the story of Hazel, a teenage cancer patient, forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with Waters, an ex-basketball player; the film, directed by Josh Boone, was released on June 6, 2014. Elgort next co-starred in the comedy film Men, Women & Children, directed by Jason Reitman and released in October 2014. In 2014, Elgort was named one of the best actors under twenty years of age. Elgort reunited with Chloë Grace Moretz to present the award for Best Visual Effects at the 2015 Oscars, he reprised his role, Caleb Prior, in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the second film of the book series Divergent, released March 20, 2015, in the third film, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, released on March 18, 2016.
In 2016, Elgort was on a shortlist of actors for the role of Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story. After Alden Ehrenreich was cast in May 2016, Elgort expressed some relief, saying that, if he had been cast, he would have had to change his DJ name, Ansølo. In 2017, Elgort played the title role in the action film Baby Driver, directed by Edgar Wright, starring Lily James and Kevin Spacey. Elgort's audition in 2014 required him to lip dance to the song of his choosing; the film performed well at the box office. He received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination for it; that year, Elgort played Addison Schacht in the drama thriller film November Criminals, an adaptation of the novel of the same name, starring again with Chloë Grace Moretz. Elgort stars in the film Billionaire Boys Club, opposite Kevin Spacey, Cary Elwes, Emma Roberts and Taron Egerton, directed by James Cox. Due to claims of sexual harassment by Spacey, the future of the film was uncertain and no release date was set.
The film was released through video on demand on July 17, 2018, prior to a limited release in theaters on August 17, 2018, by Vertical Entertainment. He will next headline The Goldfinch, an adaptation of Donna Tartt's novel, scheduled for release in October 2019. On June 27, 2017, it was announced that Elgort would portray future President John F. Kennedy during his time in the United States Navy in the film Mayday 109. On February 9, 2018, it was reported that Elgort would costar alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Zendaya in crime thriller Finest Kind, in which two brothers, portrayed by Elgort and Gyllenhaal, "strike a dangerous deal with a crime syndicate that draws them into the Boston underworld."On February 28, 2018, it was revealed that Elgort would star as Hans Christian Andersen in an untitled original musical film with music composed by Stephen Schwartz and script provided by David Magee. The film would find Elgort as Hans, "a young man, and as Hans searches for a way back to reality, he comes face-to-face with characters from his own fairy tales, nearly all of whom try to trap him in their world forever."On October 1, 2018, it was reported that Elgort had been cast in the lead role of Tony in director Steven Spielberg's adaptation of West Side Story.
Filming will commence in the summer of 2019. And in December of 2018, it was announced that Elgort would be starring as the title character in a fi
Rent is a rock musical with music and book by Jonathan Larson, loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in Lower Manhattan's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS; the musical was first seen in a workshop production at New York Theatre Workshop in 1993. This same Off-Broadway theatre was the musical's initial home following its official 1996 opening; the show's creator, Jonathan Larson, died of an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, the night before the Off-Broadway premiere. The musical moved to Broadway's larger Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996. On Broadway, Rent won several awards; the Broadway production closed on September 2008, after a 12-year run of 5,123 performances. On February 14, 2016, the musical Wicked surpassed Rent's number of performances with a 2pm matinee, pushing Rent from the tenth- to eleventh-longest-running Broadway show.
The production grossed over $280 million. The success of the show led to numerous foreign productions. In 2005, it was adapted into a motion picture featuring most of the original cast members. In 1988, playwright Billy Aronson wanted to create "a musical based on Puccini's La Bohème, in which the luscious splendor of Puccini's world would be replaced with the coarseness and noise of modern New York." In 1989, Jonathan Larson, a 29-year-old composer, began collaborating with Aronson on this project, the two composed together "Santa Fe", "Splatter", "I Should Tell You". Larson suggested setting the play "amid poverty, spunky gay life, drag queens and punk" in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, which happened to be down the street from his Greenwich Village apartment, he came up with the show's ultimate title. In 1991, he asked Aronson if he could make Rent his own. Larson had ambitious expectations for Rent. Aronson and Larson made an agreement that if the show went to Broadway, Aronson would share in the proceeds and be given credit for "original concept & additional lyrics".
Jonathan Larson focused on composing Rent in the early 1990s, waiting tables at the Moondance Diner to support himself. Over the course of years, Larson wrote hundreds of songs and made many drastic changes to the show, which in its final incarnation contained 42 songs. In the fall of 1992, Larson approached James Nicola, artistic director of New York Theatre Workshop, with a tape and copy of Rent's script; when Rent had its first staged reading at New York Theatre Workshop in March 1993, it became evident that, despite its promising material and moving musical numbers, many structural problems needed to be addressed, including its cumbersome length and overly complex plot. As of 1994, the New York Theatre Workshop version of Rent featured songs that never made it into the final version, such as: "You're a Fool" "Do a Little Business", the predecessor of "You'll See", featuring Benny, Roger and Angel "Female to Female A & B", featuring Maureen and Joanne "He's a Fool" "He Says" "Right Brain" rewritten as "One Song Glory", featuring Roger "You'll Get Over It", the predecessor of "Tango: Maureen", featuring Mark and Maureen "Real Estate", a number wherein Benny tries to convince Mark to become a real estate agent and drop his filmmaking "Open Road", the predecessor of "What You Own", with a backing track similar to this in "Your Eyes"This workshop version of Rent starred Anthony Rapp as Mark and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi.
Larson continued to work on Rent reworking its flaws and staging more workshop productions. On January 24, 1996, after the musical's final dress rehearsal before its off-Broadway opening, Larson had his first newspaper interview with music critic Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times, attracted by the coincidence that the show was debuting 100 years after Puccini's opera. Larson would not live to see Rent's success. Friends and family gathered at the New York Theatre Workshop, the first preview of Rent became a sing-through of the musical in Larson's memory; the show premiered as planned and gained popularity fueled by enthusiastic reviews and the recent death of its composer. It proved successful during its Off-Broadway run, selling out all its shows at the 150-seat New York Theater Workshop. Due to such overwhelming popularity and a need for a larger theater, Rent moved to Broadway's remodeled Nederlander Theatre on 41st Street on April 29, 1996. Larson's inspiration for Rent's content came from several different sources.
Many of the characters and plot elements are drawn directly from Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème, the world premiere of, in 1896, a century before Rent's premiere. La Bohème was about the lives of poor young artists. Tuberculosis, the plague of Puccini's opera, is replaced by HIV/AIDS in Rent; the names and identities of Rent's characters heavily reflect Puccini's original characters, though they are not all direct adaptations. For example, Joanne in Rent represents the character of Alcindoro in Bohème, but is partially based on Marcello. Joanne is the only Rent character whose predecessor in La Bohème is a dif
Adrienne Levine, better known by the stage name Adrienne Shelly, was an American actress, film director and screenwriter. She became known for roles in independent films such as 1989's The Unbelievable Truth and 1990's Trust, she wrote, co-starred in, directed the 2007 posthumously-released film Waitress. On November 1, 2006, Shelly was found dead, hanging in the shower of her Greenwich Village work studio apartment; the initial examination of the scene did not reveal any suspicious circumstances, police believed it to be a suicide. Her husband insisted she would never have taken her own life, brought about a re-examination of the bathroom that disclosed a suspect footprint. Police arrested a construction worker who confessed to killing Shelly and making it look as if she had committed suicide. Shelly's husband established the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which awards scholarships, production grants, finishing funds, living stipends to artists. In her honor, the Women Film Critics Circle gives an annual Adrienne Shelly Award to the film that it finds "most passionately opposes violence against women."
Shelly was born Adrienne Levine in Queens, New York, to Sheldon M. Elaine Langbaum, she had two brothers and Mark, was raised on Long Island. She began performing. Shelly made her professional debut in a summer stock production of the musical Annie while a student at Jericho High School in Jericho, New York, she went on to Boston University, majoring in film production, but dropped out after her junior year and moved to Manhattan. Shelly, who took her professional surname after her late father's given name, was married to Andy Ostroy, the chairman and CEO of the marketing firm Belardi/Ostroy, they had a daughter, two years old at the time of her mother's death. Shelly described herself as an "optimistic agnostic." Shelly's career breakthrough as an actress came when she was cast by independent filmmaker Hal Hartley as the lead in The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. Trust was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, where Hartley's script tied for the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
Shelly guest-starred in a number of television series including Law & Order, Oz and Homicide: Life on the Street, played major roles in over two dozen off-Broadway plays at Manhattan's Workhouse Theater. In 2005 she appeared in the film Factotum starring Matt Dillon. During the 1990s, Shelly had segued toward a behind-the-camera career, she directed 1999's I'll Take You There, in which she appeared along with Ally Sheedy. She won a U. S. Comedy Arts Festival Film Discovery Jury Award in 2000 for direction of the film, Prize of the City of Setúbal: Special Mention, at the Festróia held in Setúbal, for best director, her final work was writing, directing, co-set- and costume-designing, acting in the film Waitress, starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Shelly's daughter, has a cameo at the end of the film. Shelly was found dead at 5:45 p.m on November 1, 2006. Her husband, Andy Ostroy, discovered the body in the Abingdon Square apartment in Manhattan's West Village that she used as an office.
Ostroy had dropped her off at 9:30 a.m. He had become concerned because Shelly had not been in contact that day and went to the building, asking the doorman to accompany him to the apartment, they found her body hanging from a shower rod in the bathtub with a bed sheet around her neck. Despite the door not having been locked and money missing from her wallet, New York City Police Department believed Shelly had taken her own life. An autopsy found. Ostroy insisted that his wife was happy in her personal and professional life, in any case would never have committed suicide leaving her two and a half year old daughter motherless, his protests over the following days caused a more careful re-examination of the bathroom, which revealed there was a sneaker print in gypsum dust on the toilet beside where her body had been found. The suspect print was matched to a set of other shoe prints in the building, where construction work had been done the day of Shelly's death. On November 6, 2006, the press reported the arrest of a 19-year-old construction worker, Diego Pillco, who according to police had confessed on tape to attacking Shelly, staging the fake suicide by hanging her.
Pillco's original version of what happened was that when Shelly asked if the noise could be kept down, he threw a hammer at her and, afraid she would make a complaint that might result in his deportation, followed her back to her apartment, where the petite 40-year-old hit him, was killed by a fall during a struggle. Subsequently, Pillco gave a different account in which he said while on a break he had noticed Shelly returning to her apartment and followed her. After assaulting her and rendering her unconscious, he killed her by staging the fake suicide; the second version was consistent with the lack of dust on Shelly's shoes and seemed to be a confession to murder, but prosecutors thought if charged with murder Pillco might return to his original account and a jury trial could find him guilty of a lesser charge. The medical examiner determined. Pillco pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole. At Pillco's sentencing on March 13, 2008, Shelly's husband, along with family members, said that they would never fo
American Theatre Wing
The American Theatre Wing is a New York City-based organization "dedicated to supporting excellence and education in theatre," according to its mission statement. Known as the Stage Women's War Relief during World War I, it became a part of the World War II Allied Relief Fund under its current name; the ATW sponsors the Tony Awards in theatrical arts. Stage Women's War Relief was founded in 1917 to organize charitable giving in support of the war effort, its founders, led by playwright and director Rachel Crothers, included the actress and playwright Louise Closser Hale and actresses Dorothy Donnelly, Josephine Hull, Minnie Dupree, Elizabeth Tyree and Louise Drew. The organization established workrooms for sewing uniforms and other garments, set up clothing and food collection centers, sold Liberty Bonds, opened a canteen on Broadway for servicemen, it presented benefit performances to raise money, including some held in a temporary "Liberty Theater" built outside the New York Public Library.
In total, the group raised nearly $7,000,000 for the war effort. At the beginning of World War II in 1939, Crothers reestablished the Stage Women's War Relief as a branch of the British War Relief Society; the revived organization's members included Mary Antoinette "Toni" Perry, Helen Hayes, Lynn Fontaine, Tallulah Bankhead. They began organizing clothing donations for European refugees. In 1941, with the entry of the United States into the war, the organization was renamed The American Theatre Wing of the Allied War Relief and shifted its focus to the American war effort. Under the leadership of Perry and Crothers, the Wing opened the Stage Door Canteen to entertain American servicemen in New York; the first canteen was in the basement of the 44th Street Theatre, similar entertainment and dining venues were established in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Cleveland and San Francisco, as well as abroad in London and Paris. In the US canteens, servicewomen were denied entry, although this was not the case in the European locations.
Lauren Bacall worked as a hostess in the New York Stage Door Canteen, recalled seeing Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine washing dishes and serving coffee there. The Andrews Sisters were frequent performers; the Stage Door Canteen made its way into national popular culture with a 1942 weekly radio show and a 1943 movie called Stage Door Canteen. After World War II, the Wing founded The Community Players to assist war veterans and their families on their return home. Co-chaired of the Community Players was Katharine Cornell, active on the Stage Door Canteen. With the close of the war, the Wing concentrated on holding seminars about American theater, on funding numerous scholarship grants, it sponsored the First American Congress of Theatre in 1947, but it is best known in contemporary times for having created, in the same year, The American Theatre Wing's Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, or Tony Awards for short, which it still sponsors and which awards were themselves named for Perry, its co-founder and wartime chair, who had died in 1946.
The initial presentation of the Wing's Tony Awards program on radio and television was broadcast only locally in New York City. In 1967, it partnered with the League of American Theatres and Producers, now called The Broadway League, to present them on nationwide network television. From 1965 to 1998, Isabelle Stevenson was the President of the ATW. After retiring, she served as chairwoman of the board of directors until her death in 2003. A special non-competitive Tony Award, for humanitarian or charitable work, is named in her honor, is called The Isabelle Stevenson Award, it is Tony's equivalent to the Motion Picture Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Sondra Gilman succeeded Stevenson as chair and Doug Leeds served as president from 2004–2008; when they completed their four-year terms, Theodore S. Chapin assumed both roles from 2008 to 2012. In 2012, Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long became chair of the board until 2016 when current board chair Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Henry Hwang assumed his duties.
Angela Lansbury serves as honorary chairman and Heather A. Hitchens is President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing. Besides the Tonys, ATW operates an array of programs to support its goals, including: The long-running "Working In The Theatre" series of televised seminars with top practitioners in the field. SpringboardNYC, a college to career bootcamp for actors The Theatre Intern Network.
Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. It is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover; the setting of the plot is relocated to 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, Madame Butterfly's story of marriage between an American lieutenant and a geisha is replaced by a romance between a United States Marine and a seventeen-year-old South Vietnamese bargirl. The musical was premièred at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 20 September 1989, closing after 4,092 performances on 30 October 1999, it opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre on April 11, 1991, subsequently played in many other cities and embarked on tours. Prior to the opening of the 2014 London revival, it was claimed that Miss Saigon had set a world record for opening day ticket sales, with sales in excess of £4m reported; the musical represented Schönberg and Boublil's second major success, following Les Misérables in 1985.
As of April 2017, Miss Saigon remains Broadway's thirteenth longest-running show. The musical was inspired by a photograph, it showed a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at a departure gate at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to board an airplane headed for the United States where the child's father, an ex-GI, would be in a position to provide a much better life for the child. Schönberg considered this mother's actions for her child to be "The Ultimate Sacrifice," an idea central to the plot of Miss Saigon. Highlights of the show include the evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon from the Embassy roof by helicopter while a crowd of abandoned Vietnamese screams in despair, the victory parade of the new communist régime and the frenzied night club scene at the time of defeat. In April 1975 at "Dreamland," a Saigon bar and brothel, shortly before the end of the Vietnam War, it is Kim's first day as a bargirl; the seventeen-year-old peasant girl is hauled in by the Engineer, a French-Vietnamese hustler who owns the joint.
Backstage, the girls ready themselves for the night's show. The U. S. Marines, party with the Vietnamese sex workers. Chris Scott, a sergeant disenchanted by the club scene, is encouraged by his friend John Thomas to go with a girl; the girls compete for the title of "Miss Saigon," and the winner is raffled to a Marine. Kim's guilelessness strikes Chris. Gigi Van Tranh wins the crown for the evening and begs the marine who won the raffle to take her back to America, annoying him; the showgirls reflect on their dreams of a better life. John buys a room for the virgin Kim. Kim dances with Chris. Chris tries to pay her to leave the nightclub; when the Engineer interferes, thinking that Chris does not like Kim, Chris allows himself to be led to her room. Chris, watching Kim sleep, asks God; when Kim wakes up, Chris tries to give her money, but she refuses, saying that it is her first time sleeping with a man. Touched to learn that Kim is an orphan, Chris offers to take her to America with him; the two fall in love.
Chris tells John. John warns him that the Viet Cong will soon take Saigon, but reluctantly agrees to cover for Chris. Chris meets with the Engineer to trade for Kim, but the Engineer tries to include an American visa in the deal. Chris forces the Engineer at gunpoint to honour the original arrangement for Kim; the bargirls hold a "wedding ceremony" for Chris and Kim, with Gigi toasting Kim as the "real" Miss Saigon. Thuy, Kim's cousin, to whom she was betrothed at thirteen, arrives to take her home, he has since become an officer in the North Vietnamese Army and is disgusted to find her with a white man. The two men confront each other. Kim tells Thuy that their arranged marriage is now nullified because her parents are dead, she no longer harbours any feelings for him because of his betrayal. Thuy curses storms out. Chris promises to take Kim with him. Chris and Kim dance to the same song as on their first night; the scene cuts to three years in 1978. A street parade is taking place in Saigon to celebrate the third anniversary of the reunification of Vietnam and the defeat of the Americans.
Thuy, a commissar in the new Communist government, has ordered his soldiers to look for the still-corrupt Engineer. Thuy orders the Engineer to find Kim and bring her to him. Although the intervening period is not shown, it is apparent that Kim and Chris have become separated in the intervening three years. Kim has been hiding in an impoverished area, still in love with Chris and steadfastly believing that Chris will return to Vietnam and rescue her. Meanwhile, Chris is in bed with his new American wife, when he wakes from a dream shouting Kim's name. Ellen and Kim both swear their devotion to Chris from opposite ends of the world. A week Thuy's soldiers find the Engineer somewhere up north. For the Communist Party, he goes by the name "Tran Van Dinh" and has spent the past three years working in the rice fields; the Engineer takes Thuy to. Kim refuses Thuy's renewed offer of marriage, unaware. Furious, Thuy cal