NEWSWIRE

Canada Production Up 14 Percent

Runaway productions from Hollywood played a significant role in fueling the 14 percent increase to CAN$3.7 billion ($2.55 billion) in film and television production in Canada during 1999, according to a report released late last week at a producer's conference in Ottawa.

Foreign location shooting accounted for CAN$1.1 billion ($758 million) of that total, stated the report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. and its Quebec counterpart, l'Association des Producteurs de Films et de Television du Quebec. The figure represents a 34 percent increase in foreign location shooting compared with last year.

Elizabeth McDonald, president and CEO of the CFTPA, dismissed any concerns of a backlash from the United States over the runaway production. She said Canada had the skilled work force and the capacity to handle the needs of productions coming north to shoot.

"The Canadian production community has maintained and enhanced its attractiveness as a foreign location shooting destination despite increased global competition for these dollars from countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, and others," the report noted.

Foreign revenue collected by Canadian producers rose 23 percent on the previous year to CAN$1.6 billion ($1.1 billion). Foreign revenue accounted for 41 percent of the total production volume in Canada.

-Norma Reveler (BPI)

NBC Finds

Diversity Leaders

NBC has named Paula Madison, head of news at WNBC in New York, to the new post of vp diversity. The appointment-and the creation of the vp post-was the result of an agreement NBC reached recently with the NAACP and a coalition of minority groups in which the network promised to increase diversity at all levels of its operations. ABC, CBS and Fox have signed similar agreements, though ABC has not yet agreed to hire a vp diversity.

NBC president Bob Wright announced the appointment on Feb. 10 during a Diversity Day seminar at the network's offices in Burbank. In addition to appointing a vp diversity, NBC has also created a diversity council to ensure that its diversity initiatives are implemented.

Other members of NBC's diversity council include Ethan Loney, who was named director of diversity for NBC; Henry Ahn, vp strategy and sales for NBC Cable Networks; Ernie Arboles, a management consultant at KNBC; Anna Carbonell, director of station relations at WNBC; Cheryl Gould, vp of NBC News, and Ed Scanlon, executive vp of NBC.

-David Robb

Disney Forms

Theatre Division

The Walt Disney Company last week announced the formation of a second division to produce live theatre on Broadway and the road. The new entity, named Hyperion Theatricals, will assume the oversight of the upcoming Elton John and Tim Rice musical Aida and other projected shows not based on Disney animated movies.

Disney Theatricals, which was created to produce Beauty and the Beast in 1995, is the company's original legit division. It will continue to be the umbrella for Beauty, now at the Lunt-Fontanne and somewhat downsized, but in its sixth year on the Main Stem.

Disney Theatricals also will remain the parent division for two other musicals derived from Disney cartoons: The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The latter show, one of the many Hunchback musicals in various stages of production and venues, is currently in Berlin.

Hyperion Theatricals' next production after Aida will be Hoopz, a basketball-themed musical by Savion Glover, Reg E. Gaines, and Kenny Leon. Hoopz reportedly will be workshopped in New York this spring. Aida will begin previews at the Palace Theatre in New York on Feb. 25, for an official Mar. 23 opening.

Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher, the producers who head Disney Theatricals, will also be in charge of Hyperion Theatricals. The two divisions will comprise Buena Vista Theatrical Group, Ltd.

-Robert Windeler (BPI)

Off The Wire...

PACIFIC NORTHWEST-Seattle's Intiman Theatre has announced its 2000 season, which will include Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, Lynn Nottage's Crumbs From the Table of Joy, the West Coast premiere of Michele Lowe's The Smell of the Kill, Langston Hughes' Black Nativity, the world premiere of Lynn Redgrave's The Mandrake Root, Conor McPherson's The Weir, and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. (206) 269-1900...

Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland will present a staged reading of John W. Lowell's Leo Tolstoy Is in the Next Room Dying on Feb. 21 at A.R.T. (503) 241-1278.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA-Theatre Bay Area has launched a nationwide search for a new executive director following the resignation of Sabrina Klein after nearly five years at the helm. Klein has accepted the position of executive director of the newly reorganized Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley, but will continue at TBA in a part-time capacity until June. (415) 430-1140...

Taiwan's renowned playwright/director Stan Lai will visit the UC Berkeley Department of Dramatic Art and Dance to direct A Dream Like a Dream, a workshop production that synthesizes acting, storytelling, ritual, and music, Feb. 23-24 in Zellerbach Room 7. (510) 642-1677...

San Francisco's Lorraine Hansberry Theatre will present its eighth annual "Lift Every Voice: A Celebration of African American History," featuring Broadway performer Vanessa Shaw in Marian Anderson: A Credit to the Race (Feb. 18-20) and Roger Guenveur Smith in his piece Frederick Douglass Now (Feb. 25-27). (415) 474-8800...

Theatre Works in Palo Alto has announced its 2000 season, which will include the West Coast premiere of A.R. Gurney's Far East, John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler, the musical Triumph of Love, Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Tina Landau's Floyd Collins, Terrence McNally's Master Class, Frank Galati's adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, and Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy. (650) 463-1960.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA-The Irvine Fellowships in Dance Program, which provides grants to artists working in California, will launch a three-year initiative with the James Irvine Foundation that will award up to eight fellowships per year of $30,000 each. Applicants must be able to demonstrate experience in concert choreography, dance/theatre, or traditional dance. A series of public meetings will be held throughout California to detail the program at the following locations: the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in Oakland (Feb. 17), the Civic Center Plaza in San Diego (Feb. 23), and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles (Feb. 24). (510) 208-6080 (Oakland), (619) 232-7636 (San Diego), (213) 628-2725 (Los Angeles)...

Directors' applications will be accepted through Mar. 3 for Lincoln Center Theatre's Director's Lab West, which will have its inaugural session in Los Angeles, Apr. 17-22. Participants will include Anne Cattaneo, literary manager of New York's Lincoln Center Theatre, Anne Bogart's SITI Theatre Company, Sheldon Epps of Pasadena Playhouse, Lars Hansen of Theatre LA, John Holly of Actor's Equity Assocation, Ernest Dillihay of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Leon Katz of UCLA and Yale School of Drama, Martin Benson and Juliette Carillo of South Coast Repertory, playwrights Bob Glaudini and Jos Rivera, Robert Egan of the Mark Taper Forum, and others. (323) 281-0344...

East West Players in Los Angeles has been awarded a $200,000 challenge grant from by the James Irvine Foundation to establish a New Works Development Program for Asian Pacific American theatrical works. The program will increase the current number of playwriting workshop productions, enhance the literary department, and provide commissioning fees and residency stipends to artists. The first phase of EWP's new program includes the Y2K New Voices Playwriting Competition, now accepting submissions of full-length plays, plays for young audiences, musicals, and solo pieces that deal with predominantly Asian Pacific casts and/or themes. (213) 625-7000 ext. 27....

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters has awarded the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence to Grand Performances of Los Angeles for its commitment to high quality programming. GP commissions new works, collaborates with a multitude of L.A. arts organizations, and offers over 55 free performances a year, many of which take place downtown in the Watercourt at California Plaza. (213) 687-2491...

IFP/West is seeking volunteers for the 2000 Independent Spirit Awards, which will be held on Mar. 25 in Santa Monica. (323) 634-1620...

Gabriel Productions in association with Flam Buoyant Productions will present the world premiere of Jennifer Haft's solo show 45 Minutes of Me, a semi-autobiographical tale of the search for a relationship, Feb. 22-24 at the Globe Playhouse in West Hollywood. (323) 465-3302...

Rosie O'Donnell, Drew Carey, and Ryan Stiles will join the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway? for an improv session on Feb. 17 at Hollywood Improv, where the Whose Line cast performs regularly on Thursdays. (323) 651-2583...

Los Angeles' Zephyr Theatre will present "Circle Rising," a free festival of 12 one-acts by up-and-coming playwrights who studied under Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel, through Feb. 22. Directors include Sabin Epstein, Matt Almos, Luis Alfaro, and Julie H bert. Reservations are required. (323) 461-7037...

Actor's Co-op will hold its first annual black-tie gala and silent auction with a presentation of Side by Side by Sondheim on Feb. 19 at the Henrietta Mears Center in Hollywood. (323) 462-8460...

Wells Fargo Radio Theater will present Dawn Comer Jefferson's The Tale of Little Negro Hill: An African Gold Rush Adventure on Feb. 19 at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in L.A. (323) 667-2000 ext. 317...

Media Ecology Super Sessions (MESS) will present a screening and discussion with documentary filmmaker and UCLA professor Marina Goldovskaya, who has spent more than 30 years chronicling Russian life. The screening of A House on Arbat Street and discussion will take place on Feb. 22 at the Midnight Special Bookstore in Santa Monica. Admission is free. (310) 393-2923...

Long Beach Playhouse has announced its 34th season, which will include Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig, John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler, the world premiere of Steven Ludwig's Accidental Dancers, John Morgan Evans' Daughters, Dan Riley's Spinelli, Israel Horovitz's Fighting Over Beverley, Tim Kelly's adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles, and George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession. (562) 494-1616...

The Luckman Fine Arts Complex will present modern dance company Tongue with Full Frontal Enigma, a journey of physicality, sensuality, and athleticism, on Feb. 18 at the theatre on the Cal State Los Angeles campus. (323) 343-6600...

Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica will present "Highways Love Fest," a benefit performance featuring Luis Alfaro, Parijat Desai, Karen Finley, and others, Feb. 18-19. (310) 315-1459...

The Afrikan Women's Repertory will present the West Coast premiere of Vivian Bonnie Wright's African-American history play Rebecca, Feb. 18-27 at the Complex's Dorie Theatre in Hollywood. (323) 733-2441...

Speaking of Stories' "Fine Actors Performing Great Writers" series will open its sixth season on Feb. 21 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. Fannie Flagg will perform Eudora Welty's Why I Live at the P.O., Rudolph Willrich will perform Thomas Meehan's Yma Dream, and Richard Jones will perform Annie Proulx's The Half-Skinned Deer. (805) 963-0761...

Caravan West Productions will present Eric Sorg's Cody!: An Evening with Buffalo Bill on Feb. 19 at the John Raitt Theater in Hollywood. (818) 353-8303...

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in L.A. will present Edward Sakamoto's Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire, which tells the epic tale of the Japanese-American 100th/ 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe during World War II through the stories of three families. The production will run Feb. 18-20. (213) 680-3700...

Karen Kondazian will hold another book signing of her new publication The Actor's Encyclopedia of Casting Directors on Feb. 22 at Borders in Sherman Oaks. Casting director Lisa Beach (Girl, Interrupted, Scream 1, 2, and 3) will be present for a Q&A session. (818) 728-6593...

USC's School of Theatre and the Women's Student Assembly will present Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues as part of the V-Day 2000 celebration, a campaign to end violence against women, Feb. 17-19 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles. (213) 745-6515...

LACMA will present "Life, Italian Style: The Films of Pietro Germi," a retrospective of Germi's work, including screenings of the Oscar-winner Divorce, Italian Style; Seduced and Abandoned; The Birds, The Bees, and the Italians, and others, Feb. 17-26. (877) 766-7344...

Actors Art Theatre in Los Angeles will present Writing Out Loud, a collection of original monologues, Feb. 23-Apr. 25. (323) 969-4953...

Los Angeles Dream Shapers will present storyteller and folklorist Diane Ferlatte on Feb. 18 at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena. (626) 398-7917...

One Girl's Allowed, a young improv group, will perform at the Orange County Crazies Theater in Santa Ana through Mar. 4. (714) 550-9890...

Readers Repertory Theater will present Noel Coward's Ways and Means at various libraries in Orange County through Feb. 20. (949) 206-9674.

-Laura Weinert