Category Archives: Theatre

December 01

Christine Jorgensen: The First Transsexual Celebrity

On the 1st of December 1952, the headlines on the front page of the New York Daily read: “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty: Operations Transform Bronx Youth”. They were announcing the ‘sex change’ of Christine Jorgensen (born George William Jorgensen, Jr.), the first ever person in the United States to have undergone sex reassignment surgery. The […]

October 10

Racism in Opera: Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess

On the 10th of October 1935, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess opened in the Alvin Theatre on Broadway, New York. A few years earlier, Singer Al Jolson attempted to musicalise the story starring as a comic blackface Porgy, his minstrel shows, an unacceptable racist concept nowadays. The Broadway opening was unprecedented in U.S. history due to […]

May 31

Joseph Grimaldi: London’s Biggest Clown

On the 31st of May 1837, Joseph Grimaldi, the most popular entertainer of the Regency period, died in Islington, Greater London, England. His death, precipitated by depression and alcoholism, as well as frequent injuries caused by his risky on-stage behaviour, was a sad coda to his most exciting life. Known as the inventor of the […]

April 02

Shakespeare in Politics: Ustinov’s Romanoff and Juliet

On the 2nd of April 1956, German-Russian born director Peter Ustinov’s screenplay Romanoff and Juliet premiered as a theatrical performance in Manchester, England. A Broadway production followed and a Hollywood film adaptation, all starring and directed by Ustinov himself. An impressive cultural figurehead worldwide, Ustinov holds multiple awards for this work, such as the Tony, […]

January 26

Theatre and Morality: Synge’s Playboy of the Western World

On the 26th of January 1907, The Playboy of the Western World, a three-act drama, written by Irish playwright John Millington Synge, was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Synge’s main writing interest revolved around the life of churchgoing Roman Catholic peasants of rural Ireland, paradoxically, the raw paganism of the way they […]

January 17

Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’: Comedy or Tragedy?

On the 17th of January 1904, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov had its premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play was staged by the famous actor/director and creator of the eponymous Stanislavski method, known as “method acting”, Constantin Stanislavski. The original intention of Chekhov was for The Cherry Orchard to be a comedy; […]