Welcome to another new regular feature on Whatsonstage.com. Every week our theatregoer reporter Corinne Furness trawls the web to find some of the best gems from the myriad theatre-related blogs and condense them into one easy-to-read “Best of the Blogs” round-up each Friday.


Tony night might have brought a bucketload of awards for Billy Elliot, but it also provoked Matt Wolf to blog on how claims that the Brits are taking over Broadway might be a bit premature. The debate rumbled on.

The celebration was less muted as Mark Shenton celebrated his 1000th entry on his blog of The Stage website, reflecting in the process on the widening of interactivity which theatre blogging has enabled.

It was not only, however, theatre critics who were asking questions this week. In the wake of “stunt casting” in the West End, Confessions of a Director tackled the question of “star” led productions and what it might mean for both directors and writers. While it may be another of those British productions of American musicals which Wolf questioned, amid rumours of a La Cage transfer to Broadway, Everything I Learnt From Musicals enquired whether the success was based on more than just "stunt casting". In a display of the sort of feedback Shenton praised blogging for enabling, the answer from commentators was a resounding yes.

If 1,000th anniversaries, large-scale musicals and stunt casting were all a bit too much, there was respite care of Forest Fringe blogging about something much smaller – a new kind of space for creativity in Edinburgh this summer where the half-developed idea scribbled on the back of a beer mat might find its home.

  • Matt Wolf on the Guardian Theatre Blog -
    Despite Triumph at the Tony Awards, the Brits Aren’t Taking over Broadway

    “Any New York producers preparing to pack their bags for a summer trip to London in search of the next Billy Elliot should be warned. The mega-musical days of the 1980s, when one London show after another transferred to huge success on Broadway, are long gone.”

  • Mark Shenton on The Stage -
    Bumper 1000th Blog Entry!

    “This is my 1000th blog entry, since it was launched back in August 2005. It’s become amongst the most important daily journalism I do … A lot of arts journalism feels like it is going into a void, and not just because many newspapers are in trouble nowadays. But the best thing about being here is the feedback I get, both formally (from the comments you post) and informally (from the comments people make to me privately).”

  • Confessions of a Director –
    Star Power

    “Peter Hall observes that where as once he was asked by commercial producers ‘What play would you like to do?’ he is now asked ‘What star can you get?’ … The question says to whoever is being asked it, whether it is Peter Hall, or a young director like myself ‘you on your own are worthless, you have no power to excite and engage this theatre's audience’.”

  • Everything I Know I Learnt From Musicals –
    Another La Cage Revival?

    “I can't claim to have the same depth of knowledge about the London theatre scene as I do about Broadway, but haven't the producers of La Cage in London been engaging in some pretty high-profile stunt casting? ... Is the London La Cage a bona fide hit, or a manufactured one?”

  • Forest Fringe -
    Drowning in a Sea of Very Tiny Lightbulbs

    “So there it is. A fragile, wonderful idea caught in a series of frantic scribbles on the back of somebody else's programme. Brilliant. And then what? Well, traditionally not a lot in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a place for showing not for making. For all that it is crammed to the point of delirium with spaces for putting on shows, there’s virtually nowhere to actually create something, to try anything out – in public or in private. To me that just feels like such a crushing waste.”