Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Managing the Boom Edition

Stage Fright: D.C. theater has undergone a decade of tremendous growth, proclaims the Washington Post in an (excellent) special Sunday Arts section dedicated to local playmaking. Chief theater critic Peter Marks gives an overview of the scene's strides and challenges in a lengthy essay, while inside pieces look at: local playwrights, funding in an age of government cuts, small theaters, the Olney Theatre Center (whose artistic director is stepping down), hispanic theater (it's grown), black theater (it needs more black-run companies), dance on the stage, and the Helen Hayes Awards (it should divide itself in half to better honor smaller troupes). An infographic looks at the finances of some of the area's theaters; did you know that the Kennedy Center's Michael Kaiser makes $998,000 a year?!. Gwydion Suilebhan, a local playwright who's quoted in the WaPo package, takes issue with the graphic in a post on his blog; he writes that the graphic erred by only looking at a few institutions, by comparing companies to multipurpose venues, and by leaving out some metrics (like tickets sold, etc.). Theater J, whose Locally Grown Festival got a major shout-out from the Post in the special section, also sends a click its way.

Style Wars: Arts Post, the Washington Post's kind of scattershot but increasingly solid arts blog, is now The Style Blog, which closed Friday with some news from the paper's visual arts critic, Phil Kennicott: A $500,000 slate of public art projects will take place during the Cherry Blossom Festival this spring. The increasingly strained D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is footing the bill; there are 25 artists selected by five curators, and the projects will stretch across the city.

Quick Hits: KenCen drops Pal Joey from its season after the musical's director has a scheduling conflict, replaces it with a Kander and Ebb revue. John Kelly laments the closing of Melody Records and Penn Camera. The Phillips Collection's blog makes a connection between The Artist and a very chipper painting of a stage actor in the museum's collection.

Today on Arts Desk: "Reverb & Echo" at Studio Gallery.

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