For thespians and their fans, today is a day of celebration. March 27th is “World Theatre Day”!
According to the New York City World Theatre Day Coalition, World Theatre Day was created back in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute. It is celebrated annually, on March 27th, by ITI Centres and international theater communities. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark the festive occasion. This includes the creation and circulation of the World Theatre Day International message through which a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of theatre and culture of peace. The message is translated into more than 20 langauges and read for tens of thousands of spectators right before performances throughout theatres in the world.
This year’s World Theatre Day is actually bringing up debates. Are actors from a stage background better equipped to be in front of the camera? This was asked on Mid-Day, as part of their World Theatre Day celebration, utilizing Hindi and Bollywood films, specifically Indian thespian, Shah Rukh Khan.
The discussion is viable, for World Theatre Day, especially with the direction film and television are going. More shows are incorporating thespians for their parts over regular actors. There must be something about being able to perform either in an ensemble, or in front of an audience, that makes for a better delivery. These are easily featured in the two examples in this article. The first is the hit television series, Glee.
The show about a glee club, struggling to get past their underdog status, along with the trials and tribulations of high school life, made for a formula fit for television. Probably the biggest part to Glee‘s success is the music, which included many Broadway hits in the first season. Ergo, why not hire Broadway stars and actors to play the parts? It was such a great move. Matthew Morrison (Will Schuster), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang), and Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) have proven to be great in-front-of-camera actors. Not to mention, the show is a hub for guest stars, who have a strong or prominent Broadway career. This includes Kristen Chenoweth, Victor Garber, Josh Groban, Neil Patrick Harris, and Carol Burnett. The show also recently celebrated its 100th episode, which is a testament to its popularity.
There is one more star to mention, but I will detail “Adele Dazeem” in the second example, being the most popular Disney Animated Classic right now!
Disney Animated Classic, Frozen, is now the most popular movie in the series and the highest grossing. How it relates to World Theatre Day is the fact it is a movie, considered by some, to be “Disney’s Animated Theatrical”. The music was well-written and had a “theatre” feel to them. It also helped out that the five main voices in the film are theater stars. Anna is voiced by Kristen Bell (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), Oleg is voiced by Josh Gad (Book of Mormon), Hans is voiced by Santino Fontana (Cinderella), and Kristoff is voiced by Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening).
The name that stand out is Idina Menzel, who voiced Elsa. Prior to her role as the “Snow Queen”, Menzel has guest starred on Glee, support acted in Enchanted, and done other roles. However, her Broadway repertoire is what she is best known for. Menzel originated the role of Maureen in Rent, but is probably best known for originating the role of Elphaba in the smash Broadway play, Wicked.
As the day goes by, more events and articles will be announced for World Theatre Day. It is such a great celebration and honoring of the thespian arts. Not to mention, World Theatre Day now includes independent films, performed especially by up-and-coming stage actors and directed by people who understand stage presence. The Art of Love, directed by Lewis Farinella and starring Michael Kyle Mills and Kim Garcia, is one such film. If a thespian-minded crew can create something as beautiful as the short film below, then regular actors have got to step up their acting skills.
[Images via Bing]