Hartford is the capital city of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960; the city is nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", as it hosts many insurance company headquarters and is the region's major industry. It is the core city in the Greater Hartford area of Connecticut. Census estimates since the 2010 United States Census have indicated that Hartford is the fourth-largest city in Connecticut, behind the coastal cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford. Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States, it is home to the nation's oldest public art museum, the oldest publicly funded park, the oldest continuously published newspaper, the second-oldest secondary school. It is home to the Mark Twain House, where the author wrote his most famous works and raised his family, among other significant sites. Mark Twain wrote in 1868, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief." Hartford was the richest city in the United States for several decades following the American Civil War.
Today, it is one of the poorest cities in the nation, with 3 out of every 10 families living below the poverty threshold. In sharp contrast, the Greater Hartford metropolitan area is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and 8th out of 280 metropolitan statistical areas in per capita income. Hartford coordinates certain Hartford-Springfield regional development matters through the Knowledge Corridor economic partnership. Various tribes lived around Hartford, all part of the Algonquin people; these included the Podunks east of the Connecticut River. The first Europeans known to have explored the area were the Dutch under Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut in 1614. Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam returned in 1623 with a mission to establish a trading post and fortify the area for the Dutch West India Company; the original site was located on the south bank of the Park River in the present-day Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood. This fort was called Fort Hoop or the "House of Hope."
In 1633, Jacob Van Curler formally bought the land around Fort Hoop from the Pequot chief for a small sum. It was home to a couple families and a few dozen soldiers; the fort was abandoned by 1654. The Dutch outpost and the tiny contingent of Dutch soldiers who were stationed there did little to check the English migration, the Dutch soon realized that they were vastly outnumbered; the House of Hope remained an outpost, but it was swallowed up by waves of English settlers. In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant met with English representatives to negotiate a permanent boundary between the Dutch and English colonies; the English began to arrive in 1636, settling upstream from Fort Hoop near the present-day Downtown and Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods. Puritan pastors Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone, along with Governor John Haynes, led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort; the settlement was called Newtown, but it was changed to Hartford in 1637 in honor of Stone's hometown of Hertford, England.
The etymology of Hartford is the ford where harts cross, or "deer crossing." The Seal of the City of Hartford features a male deer. The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter and had to determine how it was to be governed. Therefore, Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document ratified January 14, 1639 which invested the people with the authority to govern, rather than ceding such authority to a higher power. Historians suggest that Hooker's conception of self-rule embodied in the Fundamental Orders inspired the Connecticut Constitution, the U. S. Constitution. Today, one of Connecticut's nicknames is the "Constitution State."The original settlement area contained the site of the Charter Oak, an old white oak tree in which colonists hid Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 to protect it from confiscation by an English governor-general. The state adopted the oak tree as the emblem on the Connecticut state quarter.
The Charter Oak Monument is located at the corner of Charter Oak Place, a historic street, Charter Oak Avenue. Throughout the 19th century, Hartford's residential population, economic productivity, cultural influence, concentration of political power continued to grow; the advance of the Industrial Revolution in Hartford in the mid-1800s made this city by late century one of the wealthiest per capita in United States. On December 15, 1814, delegates from the five New England states gathered at the Hartford Convention to discuss New England's possible secession from the United States. During the early 19th century, the Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity, the most famous abolitionist family was the Beechers; the Reverend Lyman Beecher was an important Congregational minister known for his anti-slavery sermons. His daughter Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin.
The Family Stone
The Family Stone is a 2005 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Thomas Bezucha. Produced by Michael London and distributed by 20th Century Fox, it stars an ensemble cast, including Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, Tyrone Giordano; the plot follows the Christmas holiday misadventures of the Stone family in a small New England town when the eldest son, played by Mulroney, brings his uptight girlfriend home with the intention of proposing to her with a cherished heirloom ring. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister to join her for emotional support, triggering further complications; the Family Stone was released in North America on November 26, 2005, was a commercial success with a worldwide gross of US$92.3 million. While Parker was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance, Nelson and McAdams garnered a Satellite Award nomination each. Set in the fictional town of Thayer, the story focuses on Meredith Morton, a successful Manhattan executive whose uptight, conservative demeanor is a sharp contrast to that of her boyfriend Everett Stone and his liberal and rambunctious family.
Meredith is dreading meeting the rest of the family after being given the cold shoulder during dinner with Everett's youngest sister Amy. Meredith, feeling much an outsider during the Christmas holidays with Everett's family, opts to stay at the local inn instead of with the family and asks her sister Julie to join her for support. Everett finds. Meredith tries to fit in, but her strained attempt to play charades and a clumsy effort to engage the family in a dinner table discussion about nature versus nurture and sexual orientation prove to be disastrous and their father, Kelly Stone, the most understanding of the family, blows up at her and accuses her of being homophobic. Distraught, Meredith attempts to drive off but crashes the car, Everett's brother Ben comes to comfort her; the two end up at a local bar. She invites Amy's high school flame and local paramedic, Brad Stevenson, to the Stones' for Christmas breakfast; the following morning, when she awakens in Ben's bed, she incorrectly assumes their night of revelry ended with the two having sex together.
Christmas proves to be a day of accusations, self-discoveries, attempts to mend fences. Sybil, who refused Everett's request for his grandmother's ring, reconsiders her position and offers it to him. In a moment of emotional confusion – or clarity – he asks Julie to try on the ring, it gets stuck; when Julie and Meredith lock themselves in the bathroom to get the ring off, they assume Everett is about to propose to Meredith. The family exchanges gifts. Everyone is touched by her gesture, Meredith relaxes slightly, he counters. Meredith breaks down in front of the family. All the personality conflicts come to a head, everyone begins the process of healing. One year the family reunites at the Stone house. Meredith and Ben are a couple, as are Amy and Brad. Everett's brother Thad and his partner Patrick have adopted a baby boy named Gus, Everett's other sister, has had her baby, it is hinted. She is referenced as the family gathers with family Christmas ornaments around the tree; the framed photograph of Sybil is on the wall next to the tree and Amy is wearing her ring.
The StonesDiane Keaton as Sybil Stone, the family's strong-willed, bohemian matriarch. A breast cancer survivor, she deals with the recurrence of the fatal illness. Playing the glue that holds the family together, Keaton was the first actor approached to star in the film. With her attachment to the project and London were able to recruit other actors from their wish list. Keaton has stated that she was drawn to her role, as the many layers to Sybil's personality allowed her "to explore so many – conflicting – emotions." Craig T. Nelson as Kelly Stone, Sybil's husband, a college professor in his sixties. Attracted to the role, Nelson felt Kelly was different compared to other patriarchs: "Kelly appears to be the traditional titular head of the Stone household, but it is Sybil who dominates the family. Despite his low-key personality, Kelly's calming yet offbeat influence on each of his five children is obvious." Dermot Mulroney as Everett Stone and Kelly's eldest son, a successful Manhattan executive.
Mulroney found it challenging playing a over-achieving, submissive character, commenting, "Everett starts out button-downed and straight-laced, but by the end of the story he returns to his real personality. He is like the rest of the Stone family: loose and kind of bohemian." Luke Wilson as Ben Stone, Everett's brother, a stoner and film editor, living in Berkeley, California. Wilson characterized Ben as a dramatic contrast to his straight-and-narrow brother Everett: "Compared to his siblings, Ben is a loser character. He's the free spirit of the family." Elizabeth Reaser as Susannah Stone Trousdale, the Stones' eldest daughter. A stay-at-home mom who lives in suburban Chicago and has one child, she is expecting her second. Tyrone Giordano as Thad Stone, the family's youngest son. A deaf and
Pippin is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production contributed to the libretto; the musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. The protagonist Pippin and his father Charlemagne are characters derived from two real-life individuals of the early Middle Ages, though the plot is fictional and presents no historical accuracy regarding either; the show was financed by Motown Records. As of February 2018, the original run of Pippin is the 34th longest-running Broadway show. Ben Vereen and Patina Miller won Tony Awards for their portrayals of the Leading Player in the original Broadway production and the 2013 revival making them the first actors to win Tonys for Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress in a Musical, for the same role. Pippin was conceived as a student musical titled Pippin and performed by Carnegie Mellon University's Scotch'n'Soda theatre troupe.
Stephen Schwartz collaborated with Ron Strauss, when Schwartz decided to develop the show further, Strauss left the project. Schwartz has said that not a single line nor note from Carnegie Mellon's Pippin, Pippin made it into the final version; the musical begins with the Leading Player of a troupe and the accompanying actors in various costume pieces of several different time periods, establishing the play's intentionally anachronistic, unconventional feel. The Leading Player and troupe, throughout the performance, metafictionally channel the Brechtian distancing effect and break the fourth wall, directly speaking to the audience and provocatively inviting their attention, they begin a story about a boy prince searching for existential fulfillment. They reveal that the boy, to play the prince, named Pippin, is a new actor. Pippin talks to scholars of his dreams to find where he belongs, they applaud Pippin on his ambitious quest for an extraordinary life. Pippin returns home to the castle and estate of his father, King Charles.
Charles and Pippin don't get a chance to communicate as they are interrupted by nobles and courtiers vying for Charles' attention, Charles is uncomfortable speaking with his educated son or expressing any loving emotions. Pippin meets up with his stepmother Fastrada, her dim-witted son Lewis. Charles and Lewis are planning on going into battle against the Visigoths soon, Pippin begs Charles to take him along so as to prove himself. Charles reluctantly proceeds to explain a battle plan to his men. Once in battle, the Leading Player re-enters to lead the troupe in a mock battle using top hats and fancy jazz to glorify warfare and violence, with the Leading Player and two lead dancers in the middle; this charade of war does not appeal to Pippin, he flees into the countryside. The Leading Player tells the audience of Pippin's travels through the country, until he stops at his exiled grandmother's estate. There, Berthe tells Pippin not to live a little. Pippin decides to search for something a bit more lighthearted.
While he enjoys many meaningless sexual encounters, he soon discovers that relationships without love leave you "empty and unfulfilled." The Leading Player tells Pippin that he should fight tyranny, uses Charles as a perfect example of an uneducated tyrant to fight. Pippin plans a revolution, Fastrada is delighted to hear that Charles and Pippin will both perish so that her beloved Lewis can become king. Fastrada arranges the murder of Charles, Pippin falls victim to her plot. While Charles is praying at Arles, Pippin murders him, becomes the new king; the Leading Player mentions to the audience that they will break for now, but to expect a thrilling finale. Act 2 begins with Pippin trying his best to grant the wishes of as many people as possible, but he realizes. Pippin realizes that neither he nor his father could change society and seemed forced to act as tyrants, he begs the Leading Player to bring his slain father back to life, the Leading Player does so as Charlemagne nonchalantly comes back to life and mildly scolds Pippin.
He feels directionless. After experimenting with art and religion, he falls into monumental despair and collapses on the floor. Widowed farm-owner Catherine finds him on the street, is attracted by the arch of his foot and when Pippin comes to, she introduces herself to Pippin. From the start, it is clear that the Leading Player is concerned with Catherine's acting ability and actual attraction to Pippin — after all, she is but a player playing a part in the Leading Player's yet-to-be-unfolded plan. At first, Pippin thinks himself above such boring manorial duties as sweeping and milking cows, but he comforts Catherine's small boy, Theo, on the sickness and eventual death of his pet duck and warms up to the lovely Catherine. However, as time goes by, Pippin feels that he must leave the estate to continue searching for his purpose. Catherine is heartbroken, reflects on him ("I Guess I'll Miss t
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated community, large village, suburb of Washington, D. C. and census-designated place located inside the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, United States. It had a population of 79,483, according to the 2017 official estimate by the United States Census Bureau, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore and Germantown, the second largest in Montgomery County after Germantown. Inner Silver Spring consists of the following neighborhoods: Downtown Silver Spring, East Silver Spring, North Woodside, Woodside Park, North Hills Sligo Park, Long Branch, Montgomery Knolls, Franklin Knolls, Indian Spring Terrace, Indian Spring Village, Clifton Park Village, New Hampshire Estates and Woodmoor. Outer Silver Spring consist of the following neighborhoods: Four Corners, Glenmont, Forest Glen, Aspen Hill, White Oak, Colesville Park, Calverton, Briggs Chaney, Northwood Park, Sunset Terrace, Fairland and Kemp Mill; the urbanized and southernmost part of Silver Spring is a major business hub that lies at the north apex of Washington, D.
C. As of 2004, the Central Business District held 7,254,729 square feet of office space, 5216 dwelling units and 17.6 acres of parkland. The population density of this CBD area of Silver Spring was 15,600 per square mile all within 360 acres and 2.5 square miles in the CBD/downtown area. The community has undergone a significant renaissance, with the addition of major retail and office developments. Silver Spring takes its name from a mica-flecked spring discovered there in 1840, by Francis Preston Blair, who subsequently bought much of the surrounding land. Acorn Park, tucked away in an area of south Silver Spring away from the main downtown area, is believed to be the site of the original spring; as an unincorporated area, Silver Spring's boundaries are not defined. As of the 2010 Census the United States Census Bureau defines Silver Spring as a census-designated place with a total area of 7.92 square miles, all land. This definition is a 15% reduction from the 9.4 square miles used in previous years.
The United States Geological Survey locates the center of Silver Spring at 38°59′26″N 77°1′35″W, notably some distance from the Census Bureau's datum. By another definition, Silver Spring is located at 39°0′15″N 77°1′8″W; the definitions used by the Silver Spring Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service, the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, etc. are all different, each defining it for its own purposes. Residents of a large swath of southeastern Montgomery County have Silver Spring mailing addresses, including Four Corners, Glenmont, Forest Glen, Aspen Hill, White Oak, Colesville Park, Calverton, Briggs Chaney, Northwood Park, Sandy Spring, Sunset Terrace, Lyttonsville, Kemp Mill, a portion of Langley Park, a portion of Adelphi; the area that has a Silver Spring mailing address is larger in area than any city in Maryland except Baltimore. Silver Spring's notable landmarks include the world headquarters of Discovery Communications, the AFI Silver Theatre, the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration, the national headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Rock Creek Park passes along the west side of Silver Spring, offers hiking trails, picnic grounds, bicycling on weekends, when its main road, Beach Drive, is closed to motor vehicles. Sligo Creek Park follows Sligo Creek through Silver Spring; the latter is facilitated on weekends. The bike trails are slower than most in the region. Rocks have been spread along either side of the road, providing a hazardous bike ride, or skating leisure. Acorn Park in the downtown area of Silver Spring, is believed to be the site of the eponymous "silver spring."The 14.5-acre Jessup-Blair Park was renovated and features a soccer field, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic area. Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre park within Wheaton Regional Park, in "greater" Silver Spring, it is located on the original site of Stadler Nursery. Northwest Branch Park is a 700-acre park surrounding the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River; the park includes hiking and cycling trails on the Northwest Branch and Rachel Carson Greenway Trails.
This park extends farther within Montgomery County. Note that the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail is named after Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and former resident of Silver Spring. Note: For the 2010 Census the boundaries of the Silver Spring CDP were changed reducing the land area by approx. 15%. As a result, the population count for 2010 shows a 6.6% decrease, while the population density increases 11%. As enumerated in the 2010 census, there were 71,452 residents, 28,603 total households, 15,684 families residing in the Silver Spring CDP; the population density was 9,021.7 people per square mile. There were 30,522 housing units at an average density of 3,853.8 per square mile. The racial makeup of the community, as defined by the U. S. Census Bureau, for residents who self-identified as being members of "one race," was 45.7% "White," 27.8% "Black or African American," 0.6% "American I
Mark Taper Forum
The Mark Taper Forum is a 739-seat thrust stage at the Los Angeles Music Center designed by Welton Becket and Associates on the Bunker Hill section of Downtown Los Angeles. Named for real estate developer Mark Taper, the Forum, the neighboring Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre are all operated by the Center Theatre Group; the Mark Taper Forum opened in 1967 as part of the Los Angeles Music Center, the West Coast equivalent of Lincoln Center, designed by Los Angeles architect Welton Becket. The smallest of the three venues, the Taper is flanked by the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theatre on the Music Center Plaza. Becket designed the center in the style of New Formalism; the circular Taper is considered one of his best works, featuring a distinctive decorated drum of a design with its exterior wrapped in a lacy precast relief by Jacques Overhoff. The lobby has a curving, abalone wall by Tony Duquette. Charles Moore described Becket's design for the Music Center as "Late Imperial Depression-Style cake".
Becket designed the building not knowing. Various proposals included chamber music concerts, or grand jury meetings. Dorothy Chandler, the Los Angeles cultural leader, convinced Center Theater Group artistic director Gordon Davidson to use the Taper. For 38 years, Davidson was the artistic director of Center Theater Group, which ran the Ahmanson and the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City; the Taper became known for its thrust stage, jutting into a classical, semicircular amphitheater, which creates an intimate relationship between audience and performer. The building bears an architectural resemblance to Carousel Theatre at Disneyland designed by Welton Becket and Associates in 1967, it is similar in design concept and size to the Dallas Theatre Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the original Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, in Minneapolis. On October 8, 1993, a memorial was held in the actor Richard Jordan's honor, it was the same day. A $30-million renovation of the Taper led by the Los Angeles firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios began in July 2007 after the 2006/2007 season.
The theater reopened on August 30, 2008 for the first preview of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves. The Taper, as designed, was a case study in what happens when a theater is built without a tenant in mind. Fitting the auditorium into the circular building left a tiny backstage and only a narrow, curved hallway for a lobby; the renovation updated nearly everything, not concrete and did not disrupt the building's circular shape. To create a larger main lobby, the designers reduced the ticket booth and removed about 30 parking spaces from the lower-level garage to move the restrooms below ground as part of a stylized lounge with gold, curved couches and mosaics of mirrored tiles that fit the era in which the building was designed; the theater seats are wider and total capacity was reduced from 745 to 739. The entrance was moved to the plaza level and an elevator added to increase the accessibility of the theater; the original theater had few women's restrooms opening with four women's stalls for a 750-seat hall.
The renovation increased the number of stalls to 16. Backstage, changes included removing an outdated stage "treadmill" and old air-conditioning equipment, installing a modern lighting grid, enlarging the load-in door to 6 feet by 9 feet. A wardrobe room was constructed in the space occupied by the air-conditioning equipment; the auditorium was renamed the Amelia Taper Auditorium after a $2 million gift from the S. Mark Taper Foundation; the Taper has presented innovative plays since its 1967-opening of The Devils from playwright John Whiting about the sexual fantasies of a 17th-century priest and a sexually repressed nun. The play received a great deal of protest from local religious leaders and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, although the production continued; the production of such plays as Murderous Angels, The Dream on Monkey Mountain, Children of a Lesser God, The Shadow Box, The Kentucky Cycle and Angels in America has established definition of a "Taper play". The Taper has been host to world premiere productions of many notable plays including The Shadow Box, Zoot Suit, Children of a Lesser God, Neil Simon's I Ought To Be In Pictures, Lanford Wilson's Burn This, Jelly's Last Jam, Angels in America, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, David Henry Hwang's revised version of Flower Drum Song, August Wilson's Radio Golf and the musical 13.
In all, the theater has 5 Tony Awards to its credit. Hunt, Total Design: Architecture of Welton Becket, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a community arts center in Beverly Hills, named for philanthropist Wallis Annenberg in recognition for The Annenberg Foundation's major gift to fund the campus. It is colloquially known as The Wallis; the Wallis is located on the corner of North Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills, California. The center was designed by architect Zoltan Pali of SPF:architects, it includes the historic 1933 Beverly Hills post office, the newly built 500-seat Goldsmith Theater, the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, GRoW at The Wallis: A Space for Arts Education, a sculpture garden and a promenade terrace designed by Ron Lutsko. The Goldsmith theater is named after the Chairman Emeritus of City National Bank; the restored landmark Beverly Hills post office is named for Paula Kent Meehan. Endowed by heiress and philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, who donated US$25 million, The Wallis was under construction for ten years; the total cost of creating the center is estimated at $70 million, with an annual operating budget of several million dollars.
The opening on October 17, 2013 was celebrated with a black-tie gala, co-chaired by Wallis Annenberg and Jamie Tisch. Kevin Spacey, John Lithgow and Diane Lane inaugurated the 500-seat Goldsmith Theater by reading letters from Groucho Marx, Tennessee Williams, Peter Tchaikovsky, Will Rogers and others; the evening was followed by a fashion show by Salvatore Ferragamo and performances by the likes of Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo and Paris Opera Ballet members Mathias Heymann and Myriam Ould-Braham. As of October 2017, the center's chairman of the board is Michael Nemeroff; the chairman of the executive committee is philanthropist and arts patron David Bohnett, board chairman from 2015–2017. The Wallis's managing director is arts administrator and fundraiser Rachel Fine, the artistic director is Paul Crewes of Kneehigh Theatre; the Wallis and Deaf West Theatre's acclaimed 2015 co-production of Spring Awakening, performed in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast of 27, transferred to Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre in September 2015 and went on to receive 3 Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Director Michael Arden.
2013/2014 Inaugural Season Highlights Martha Graham Dance Company Catherine Wheels Theatre Company's White Noël Coward's Brief Encounter from Kneehigh Theatre Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life2014/2015 Season Highlights Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Into the Woods Patti LuPone's Coulda Shoulda Woulda... Played that Part National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company's Dunsinane Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening 2015/2016 Season Highlights An Evening with Denzel Washington Twyla Tharp: 50th Anniversary Celebration Mel Brooks in Conversation with David Steinberg Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Guys and Dolls2016/2017 Season Highlights Complicite's The Encounter by Simon McBurney Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along from Michael Arden Deaf West Theatre's Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo Paul Taylor Dance Company2017/2018 Season Highlights Bristol Old Vic's Long Day's Journey into Night with Jeremy Irons Kneehigh Theatre's The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk from Emma Rice The Heart of Robin Hood from Iceland's Vesturport Benjamin Millepied's L.
A. Dance Project Official website
Russell Ira Crowe is an actor, film producer and musician. Although a New Zealand citizen, he has lived most of his life in Australia, he came to international attention for his role as the Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which Crowe won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, an Empire Award for Best Actor and a London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and 10 further nominations for best actor. Crowe appeared as the tobacco firm whistle blower Jeffrey Wigand in the 1999 film The Insider, for which he received five awards as best actor and seven nominations in the same category. In 2001, Crowe's portrayal of mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John F. Nash in the biopic A Beautiful Mind brought him numerous awards, including a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.
Crowe's other films include Romper Stomper, L. A. Confidential and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Cinderella Man, American Gangster, State of Play, Robin Hood, Les Misérables, Man of Steel and Noah. In 2015, Crowe made his directorial debut with The Water Diviner, in which he starred. Crowe's work has earned him several accolades during his career and including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three consecutive Academy Award nominations, one Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, one BAFTA, an Academy Award. Crowe has been the co-owner of the National Rugby League team South Sydney Rabbitohs since 2006. Crowe was born on 7 April 1964 in the Wellington suburb of Strathmore Park, New Zealand, the son of Jocelyn Yvonne and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom were film set caterers. Crowe's maternal grandfather, Stan Wemyss, was a cinematographer, appointed an MBE for filming footage of World War II. Crowe's paternal grandfather, John Doubleday Crowe, was from Wrexham, while one of Crowe's maternal great-great-grandmothers was Māori.
Crowe has English, Irish, Norwegian, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. He is a cousin of former New Zealand cricket captains Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, nephew of cricketer Dave Crowe. Russell has built a cricket field named for his uncle; when Crowe was four years old, his family moved to Sydney, where his parents pursued a career in set catering. The producer of the Australian TV series Spyforce was his mother's godfather, Crowe was hired for a line of dialogue in one episode, opposite series star Jack Thompson. Crowe appeared in the serial The Young Doctors. Crowe was educated at Vaucluse Public School but moved to Sydney Boys High School; when he was 14, his family moved back to New Zealand where, along with his brother Terry, he attended Auckland Grammar School. He continued his secondary education at Mount Roskill Grammar School, which he left at the age 16 to pursue his ambition of becoming an actor. Crowe began his performing career as a musician in the early 1980s, under guidance from his good friend Tom Sharplin, when he performed under the stage name "Russ Le Roq".
He released several New Zealand singles including "I Just Want To Be Like Marlon Brando", "Pier 13", "Shattered Glass", none of which charted. He managed an Auckland music venue called "The Venue" in 1984; when he was 18, he was featured in A Very Special Person... a promotional video for the theology/ministry course at Avondale College, a Seventh-day Adventist tertiary education provider in New South Wales, Australia. Crowe returned to Australia at age 21. "I was working in a theatre show, talked to a guy, the head of technical support at NIDA", Crowe has recalled. "I asked him what he thought about me spending three years at NIDA. He told me, he said,'You do the things you go there to learn, you've been doing it for most of your life, so there's nothing to teach you but bad habits.'" From 1986 to 1988, he was given his first professional role by director Daniel Abineri, in a New Zealand production of The Rocky Horror Show. He played the role of Eddie/Dr Scott, he repeated this performance in a further Australian production of the show, which toured New Zealand.
In 1987, Crowe spent six months busking. In the 1988 Australian production of Blood Brothers, Crowe played the role of Mickey, he was cast again by Daniel Abineri in the role of Johnny, in the stage musical Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom in 1989. After appearing in the TV series Neighbours and Living with the Law, Crowe was cast by Faith Martin in his first film, The Crossing, a small-town love triangle directed by George Ogilvie. Before production started, a film-student protégé of Ogilvie, Steve Wallace, hired Crowe for the film Blood Oath, released a month earlier than The Crossing, although filmed later. In 1992, Crowe starred in the first episode of the second series of Police Rescue. In 1992, Crowe starred in Romper Stomper, an Australian film which followed the exploits and downfall of a racist skinhead group in blue-collar suburban Melbourne, directed by Geoffrey Wright and co-starring Jacqueline McKenzie. For the role, Crowe won an Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor, following up from his Best Supporting