The Front Row, 08/16/2006

Joe Watts
Local gay-theatre impresario Joe Watts spoke about realizing his twenty-year dream of staging Larry Kramer's pioneering AIDS drama, The Normal Heart, in Houston and we found out what's happening on the upcoming Broadway in Houston series. . .

Castmembers from Theatre New West's The Normal Heart Larry Kramer's powerful, moving drama, The Normal Heart, was one of the very first plays to deal with the AIDS crisis, written before that devastating disease even had a name.  The piece was first presented at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre in New York City in 1985, where Houston gay-theater pioneer Joe Watts saw it, and vowed that someday he would present the play in this city.  In the first six months of this year, Newsweek magazine ran a cover story, "The New Face of AIDS," and PBS aired a four-hour Frontline documentary, "The Age of AIDS."  On June Second, First Lady Laura Bush spoke to the United Nations General Assembly about the world-wide campaign against AIDS, and on that same day, the gay-oriented local news weekly, Houston Voice, published a cover story called, "Twenty-Five Years of AIDS."  Joe Watts realized that the time had come for him to put on his Houston production of The Normal Heart.  His Theatre New West staging of the play is being performed Friday and Saturday evenings through September Thirtieth at the Bering and James Art Gallery in the Montrose area.  Our Technical Director, Chris Johnson, spoke about the play with Joe Watts, and with cast members Steve Bullitt and Bret Cullum.  Audio here.  Extended Interview here.

New York Times Article from 2001 with many original excerpts of Larry Kramer's writing in The New York Native during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

Transcript of a speech given at Cooper Union in New York by Larry Kramer shortly after the Presidential election of 2004.

Broadway and Houston, New York, New YorkElvis will be in the building … well, his MUSIC will be, anyway … as will Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West … along with Sir Dennis Galahad and the Knights Who Go "Nee!," the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, Twelve Angry Men, and those two Dirty Rotten Scoundrels who bilk wealthy ladies on the French Riviera.  All will appear on the stage of Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts over the next eight months, as the Broadway Across America/Houston Series presents its 2006-2007 season of national tours of New York's top shows. The Broadway Series is one of the nine performing-arts organizations that present their productions in the downtown Theatre District and that will be participating in the District's thirteenth annual Open House on Sunday, August 27th. KUHF's Bob Stevenson talked about the upcoming Broadway in Houston season with Gene Bartholomew, Public Relations Manager for Clear Channel … I mean, Pace Theat … no, wait … this week, it's Live Nation Theatrical, the parent company of the Broadway series. Audio here.  

Susan Comforting the Baby, Mary Cassatt c. 1881While the Impressionist painters of 19th Century France are best known for their multi-colored landscapes and depictions of outdoor scenes: gardens, ponds, and harbors, they were, as a group, tremendously interested in capturing on canvas their reactions to aspects of the contemporary urban society of their time, and recreating scenes from the every-day lives of the people of France's cities and their suburbs. This month's Artful Thursday program, to be held tomorrow evening at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, will look at moments of intimacy nursing mothers and their babies, lovers kissing in a park, a quiet night-time bedroom conversation -- that appear in the paintings that are part of the M-F-A-H's Beck Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art. KUHF's Eric Ladau spoke about the subject with Helga Aurisch, the Museum's Assistant Curator of European Art. Audio here.