In the News: Red Bull Explores Othello and Racial Justice, Hollywood Unions Sign COVID-19 Safety Deal, More | Playbill

Off-Broadway News In the News: Red Bull Explores Othello and Racial Justice, Hollywood Unions Sign COVID-19 Safety Deal, More Plus: Watch Tony nominee Lee Wilkof and Greg Germann in Any Song, Germann's new theatre piece premiering September 22.
Keith Hamilton Cobb Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Read on for some recent theatre headlines and videos you may have missed.

Red Bull Theater Explores Othello and Racial Justice This October
Off-Broadway’s Red Bull Theater continues its 2020–2021 season October 5–28 with Othello 2020, a series of programming that explores the intersection of Shakespeare’s tragedy and the world today. The lineup includes an informal reading of Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor, a reading of Anchuli Felicia King’s new play Keene, a "RemarkaBull Podversation" with Patrick Page focused on Iago’s “I hate the Moor” speech, and a four-part salon seminar series that brings together a group of BIPOC artists to read and discuss Shakespeare’s work with scholar Ayanna Thompson.

Banned Together 2020 Highlights BIPOC Writers
The Dramatists Guild's Legal Defense Fund will partner with the Guild's Political Engagement Initiative to present Banned Together 2020, a series of events highlighting BIPOC writers whose works have previously been left out of cultural conversations. The series, running September 28–October 3, includes two Zoom panels: "Facing Censorship: Personal Experiences on Being Banned" (October 1 at 3 PM ET) and "Unknown Legacies: Black Playwrights in America" (October 2 at 3 PM). For more information and to register for the webinars, visit

Hollywood Back in Action After Unions Sign COVID-19 Safety Deal With Studios
The Directors Guild of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Basic Crafts, and SAG-AFTRA with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have signed a deal with major studios to get back to work with a series of COVID-19 precautions in place. AMPTP President Carol Lombardini told Variety that among the stipulations are “significant investment in testing, redesigned workplaces, COVID-19 sick leave, and quarantine pay.” In addition, a compliance supervisor will be present to ensure proper implementation of the protocols.

The deal, signed with Amazon, Apple, CBS, Disney, HBO Max, NBC Universal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros., is the result of a months-long negotiation to create an industry-wide standard for production safety after the unprecedented pandemic shut down operations for nearly half a year. While some TV and movies had resumed filming, their approval was done on a case-by-case basis; this new agreement allows all projects to move forward.

Any Song Heads Online
Tony nominee Lee Wilkof (Little Shop of Horrors) and Greg Germann (Ally McBeal) star in Any Song, Germann's new theatre piece premiering digitally September 22. The piece, depicting an uncomfortable encounter between a veteran actor (Wilkof) and a renowned British theatre director (Germann), will be available through October 30; viewers are encouraged to donate to The Actors Fund. Take a look below.

Food for Thought Features Work of Peter Stone, Susan Charlotte, Tony Roberts
Food for Thought's current season will continue September 29 at 2 PM ET with Tony Roberts reading from his autobiography, Do You Know Me?. The afternoon will also include two one-acts—Tony winner Peter Stone's Commercial Break and Food for Thought Founder Susan Charlotte's Come On— starring Rex Reed, Jodie Markel, and Emmy nominee Stephen Schnetzer. Antony Marsellis directs. A discussion with the cast, led by Charlotte, will follow. The performance at Off-Broadway's Theatre 80 St. Marks will also be live streamed via Zoom. The season will continue October 19, November 16, and December 14; expect works by Tennessee Williams, Dorothy Parker, and more. For more information email [email protected].

NEA Announces Winners of Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge
The National Endowment for the Arts and the American Theatre Wing announced the winners of the 2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge, which seeks to cultivate the next generation of musical theatre songwriters from among the country’s high school students. Winners are: Ada Fender, Adam Jones, Alejandro Rodriguez, Chelsea Rose, Henry Crater, Jane Brinkley and Ashley Schmittle, Joseph Mosby, Leilani Patao, Sierra Blanco, Soleil Singh, Viola Durfee, and Xyzsa Pagaduan.

The Songwriting Challenge provides each winner with a two-person coaching team—a mentor and a music director—to hone an original song into a Broadway-ready composition. Each song is then recorded by Broadway artists, made available on streaming music platforms, and compiled into a songbook by Concord Theatricals. Because of the ongoing pandemic, this year's mentoring will take place virtually, and the recording sessions will be a combination of in-person and virtual. Additionally, shifting all mentoring to video conferencing has released funds previously that allowed the program to double the number of winners to 12. Program collaborators are Disney Theatrical Productions, Concord Theatricals, and the S.O.N.G.S. Foundation of the National Music Publishers’ Association. Click here for more information.

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