Our guest blogger-critic Mr. Merkin reports that he has been invited to join the Tony Award Voting Committee next season, and is delighted. This comes on the heels of the announcement this week from the Tony Committee that critics will no longer be allowed to serve on the Voting Committee in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
The New York Times has a policy of disallowing its critics from voting in awards shows, in order to maintain the newspaper's appearance of independence.
Mr. Merkin says he was told by the Tony's Executive Administrator David Thornbush that because Mr. Merkin never actually sees the shows he reviews, and that this is part of Mr. Merkin's philosophy, he is the only critic in the nation able to bypass the conflict-of-interest quandary.
"They can't say I have any vested interest in a show I haven't seen," Mr. Merkin said enthusiastically via cellphone from his Warsaw office, between the sounds of him gulping down a sausage and onion stir-fry.
Mr. Merkin will be further championing his approach with the Tony Awards by voting on productions that he doesn't actually see. Stage Raw attempted to have him write an editorial on this matter, but he was busy writing a review of a play in Paris that he hadn't seen.
He will be joining the now reduced panel of Tony Awards voters who have been selected because they, too, have no conflict-of interest - such as Broadway producers of currently running shows.
For a schedule of productions scheduled to be reviewed this weekend, plus local stage happenings, press the Continue Reading tab directly below.
LOS ANGELES PRODUCTIONS TO BE REVIEWED THIS WEEKEND
Physical Theatre Ensemble's visiting production of Pericles Redux, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; Billie and Bogie, about Billie Holiday and Humphrey Bogart, at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks; Octomom the Musical at Fake Gallery in L.A.; Altar Boyz at Hollywood's Celebration Theatre; Chariot by Steven Lee (no relation) at the Stella Adler in Hollywood; three one-act musicals by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, The Apple Tree at Crown City Theatre in North Hollywood; Sprung: A Love Story presented a visiting production about a mad scientist by Theatre Slanty at Zombie Joe's Underground in North Hollywood; And Anna Guigui's romantic comedy with songs, God Box, at North Hollywood's Actors Forum Theatre.
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SUMMER CAMP: "SMALL THINGS"
Sacred Fools Theater Company presents an ensemble production of Russian clowns, silent film comedies, Frank Capra films and Looney Tunes. The series launches this weekend at 9 p.m. with the Mitchell Evans Mime Project. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m. and continues for six weeks at Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood. (310) 281-8337.
BETH LAPIDES GOES TO CAMP
That would be Writers Boot Camp, 2525 Michigan Ave, Bldg. I in Santa Monica. Sunday, July 19, 7:30 p.m. in a show called Happy 88% of the Time. (323) 993-3305 or tickets here.