Theater Articles

La Beouf: Not Shy About Acting Out

Friday, July 4th, 2014

shiaLast week, when actor Shia La Beouf made headlines for his outrageous public behavior at a New York theater, it was no surprise to those who have followed the career of the 28 year-old actor.

La Beouf is probably best known for his leading role in the first three “Transformer” films. He rose to prominence as the title character in the Disney Channel series, “Even Stevens”.

His meteoric rise in Hollywood notwithstanding, La Beouf‘s name has emblazoned the headlines fairly regularly over the last few years. It hasn’t been with rave reviews; the gossip rags have routinely fed on his fairly obvious public disdain for rules and laws.


Daniel Radcliffe Moves On From The Harry Potter Franchise

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Daniel Radcliffe is doing something we’ve all had to do at one point or another: He’s moving on.

The Potter family celebrated the upcoming release of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 DVD earlier this week and filming for the final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, has wrapped up and the movie will hit theaters July 15.

So, aside from a few red carpet appearances, one could say Radcliffe’s journey with the gabazillion dollar Potter franchise is, for all intents and purposes, over.

And the actor is transitioning from the juggernaut that launched him into Super Stardom to smaller, more intimate (and some indie) productions.

In addition to once again gracing the Broadway stage (this time in the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”), Radcliffe is also starring in the thriller “The Woman in Black” as well as “The Amateur Photographer” which is an indie comedy set in the 1970s.

Although he seems to be on the right path (as far as avoiding some kind of former child star meltdown is concerned), I can’t help but marvel at the mental transition Radcliffe must be undergoing.


Carrie Fisher: “People Are Seeing Me As This Fat Woman”

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Raven-Symone might think her weight loss takes away from all her other successes, but Carrie Fisher seems to think shedding a few pounds will make people stop seeing her as a “fat woman” and start recognizing her for everything she’s been through and accomplished.

As a person who has spent her life battling substance abuse and bipolar disorder, Carrie Fisher has taken on bipolar disorder advocacy. She’s spoken publicly about the mental illness and in 2008 released her best-selling memoir, Wishful Drinking – which soon became a theater and then HBO production.

Yet, as the actress of an iconic role (Princess Leia, anyone?) whose youthful beauty has pretty much forever been immortalized, Fisher is feeling the backlash of weight gain.


Using Theater to Challenge Preconceptions of Mental Illness

Friday, July 23rd, 2010
USA, California, Los Angeles

Every year the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) – with help from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), FX Network, and News Corporation – presents the PRISM Awards to recognize accomplishments in the accurate portrayal of mental health issues in movies, television, comic books, and other entertainment venues.

Now, thanks to the RETHiNK Theatre Challenge, you too can flex your own scriptwriting fingers to bust stigma as well as “challenge preconceptions of mental illness.”


Celebs Speak Out: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and Emotional Wellness

Friday, January 15th, 2010

When it comes to mental health and wellness, celebrities have been pretty chatty lately!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve run across several interviews, articles, and productions in which celebrities have spoken out about their struggles with and victories over mental illness and I thought that, rather than bog you down with multiple posts, you might enjoy a mini collection for a bit of weekend reading and viewing.

  • An assortment of well-known celebs – including Katie Couric, Richard Gere, and Chevy Chase – participated in PBS’s This Emotional Life, a three-part documentary series that, along with its companion website, is meant to start a national dialogue about emotional wellness.
  • Singer, actress, and reality star Natalie Imbruglia talked with the UK’s Daily Mail Online about how she coped with divorce and how she’s no stranger to depression.
  • Actress Patty Duke recently took a break before one of her Wicked musical performances to talk with Behavioral Health Center about her career, her experiences with bipolar disorder, and her advocacy in the mental health community.
  • Wilmington, Delaware celebrity, actress Ashley Jansen, is also speaking out about her bipolar disorder and journey to wellness. The actress spoke publicly for the first time in September then again in December, and plans to speak in February at the Delaware Theater Co. and as many as eight more times in the coming months. “‘When I’m doing this, I feel like I’m exactly where I was born to be,’ she says. ‘I want to be real and authentic.’”

Have you come across any similar stories lately? Feel free to share ‘em in the comments!


Blame for Mental Illness Exploitation: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
Empty stage with curtains closed and spotlight on

Last Saturday, London’s Soho Theatre wrapped up another running of Kim Noble’s “Kim Noble Will Die” (the first of which aired back in April 2009, to my understanding) and the show seems to have gotten as many glowing reviews as scathing criticism.

Kim Noble has manic depression, and if you’re wondering why the reactions to his show are so extreme (and, unless you’re British or keep up with the various comedians around the world, it’s likely you are), it seems to be because “Kim Noble Will Die” is a piece of performance art that – whether intentionally or unintentionally – includes something for everyone in the “This Is Gonna Infuriate, Disgust, or Otherwise Offend You” category.

Back in April, Times writer Dominic Maxwell, who overall seemed to enjoy the performance or at least Noble’s creativity and talent, called it a “multimedia suicide note” and claimed that “even for a show about going too far, [Noble] goes too far,” and really, it’s not hard to imagine that the show that includes masturbation, vials of semen for the female viewers, questionable acts with feminine hygiene products, footage from Noble’s own arrest for stalking, and has even been reported to the police may very well go too far for most folks.


Do You Think There's A Connection Between Creativity And Mental Illness?

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It seems like nearly everyone who has any interest at all in mental health issues and artists (be they writers, musicians, singers, or actors) also has an opinion about the connection between creativity and mental illness.

Some people might think there’s some kind of connection between the presence of mental illness and a person’s level of creativity and cling to the studies The New York Times‘ Tara Parker-Pope nods to, the ones that “suggest that creative people often share more personality traits with the mentally ill than ‘normal’ people in less creative pursuits.”

Others, like The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Toby Zinman, who asked whether there was a “cheesier, more self-serving assumption than the link between mental illness and creativity”, don’t buy it.

So popular is this ongoing debate that you can even find Creativity and Mental Illness on Wikipedia.

Not that that’s a big deal. You can also find Muffin Top, Toilet Humour, and Unusually Shaped Vegetable.

….?

With so many famous artists throughout history having dealt with (or, still dealing with, in the case of the living) mental illness, it’s really no surprise that, at some point, someone stopped to wonder about whether creativity and mental illness are connected. I only covered a very few during May’s Mental Health Month Spotlight; the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) lists several more – and still, those two lists barely scratch the surface of the list of famous artists with mental illness, much less the list of nonfamous ones.

What’s your opinion on the connection between mental illness and creativity.

Do you think there’s a connection? Maybe that people with mental illness are more prone to be creative, or that creative people are more prone to mental illness?

Or, do you think there is no connection between the two? That creative people are just as likely as noncreative people to have a mental illness as they are to have diabetes or heart disease?


What Does The Score To Mental Illness Sound Like?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
63rd Annual Tony Awards - Press Room

The 63rd Annual Tony Awards took place last Sunday night, and to my understanding the show was packed with excitement.

Having walked away with 10 of the 15 awards it was nominated for, Billy Elliot was pretty much to the Tony Awards what Twilight was to the MTV Movie Awards; only, to my understanding, better (I love you Twilight, but Best Movie? Really? Against The Dark Knight? It makes no sense).

Impressive!

Bret Michaels broke his face after rocking out to “Nothin’ But a Good Time” with the Rock of Ages cast (unsurprisingly, YouTube is ready to meet all your “I-Gotta-See-That” needs).

Entertaining! Really, I’m glad he’s okay and able to laugh about it. That could have been serious.

And Next to Normal – presently one of the most talked about Broadway shows, if my Google Alerts are any indication – took home three of the 11 nominations it came in with: Alice Ripley won for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Tom Kitt and Michael Starobin won Best Orchestration, and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey won Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.

Interesting…


Weekend Psychings: The Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Foundation Launches

Saturday, January 31st, 2009
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This week wasn’t a very busy one for mental health in the media and on the red carpet, but the things that did make it into my bookmarks are definitely worth checking out.

Related to movies, The Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Foundation, launched by Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (subject of The Soloist) and his sister, Jennifer Ayers-Moore, received a grant from the California Endowment this week to help support the Foundation’s mission of keeping up public awareness of mental illness and the benefits of creativity in treatments. The press release suggests the Foundation just launched, but the Foundation’s Web site claims it launched back during the spring of 2008. Either way, it’s a good cause.

In celebrity news, the special screening of “No Kidding, Me Too!,” Joe Pantoliano’s documentary about mental illness, took place in Boston last night, and one Celebrity Psychings reader who attended says it was “amazing and inspiring.” Pants talked with FOX25′s Gene Lavanchy yesterday about the documentary.

Television shows are raising some questions across the board. Musing on Showtime’s new United States of Tara, Newsweek‘s Dina Fine Maron asks whether or not Hollywood can get the portrayal of mental illness “right” (http://www.newsweek.com/id/181690). On the flip side, Jerilyn Dufresne over at the Chicago Mental Health Examiner kind of seems to like what television characters are doing with mental health awareness.

And finally, in theater news, it’s going to be a big week for the Elmira Theatre Company. ETC is launching its production of Caroline Russell-King’s From Here to Insanity on February 5, and director Ken Harkes describes the play as one that “doesn’t dwell on the psychiatry” but shows us “what it’s like to be those people.”

That’s all for this week’s Weekend Psychings. If you run across anything over the coming week you feel worthy for next Saturday’s edition, feel free to send it my way!


 

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