You might say that I gravitated toward the literary side of the performing arts as a young and earnest student of piano, and as a reader. I’ve always enjoyed reading plays, starting with the classics by Miller, Ibsen, Wilde, O’Neill, and Shakespeare. I was fortunate that Houston, my hometown, has a superior theatre, ballet, and opera scene. Countless arts presenters and musicians here are internationally renowned. As a freelance writer and antiquarian, I’ve always taken advantage of that.
As the classical arts critic for the Houston Press, from 1998 to 2002, I got serious about reviewing opera, ballet, and other musical stage works. I branched out and began filing news reports, features, and the occasional investigative report for a few large dailies. I reviewed shows featuring prominent musicians and conductors, reviewed controversial productions, and covered the doings of Houston’s major arts organizations.
I first got interested in the challenges that Shakespeare presents to today’s students when I taught British literature composition to undergraduates at Wharton County Junior College. You might consider me a professional interpreter of William Shakespeare for intelligent readers who never warmed up to the world’s greatest playwright in high school or college. I like to help readers and audiences translate and decipher the mysteries behind iconic texts, especially antiquated works that were meant to be experienced inside the theatre.
Besides my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Shakespeare’s Plays, I have written in-depth arts reports, profiles, and reviews for The New York Times, Playbill, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer, Andante, Opera Cues, San Antonio Express-News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Cite, a quarterly architecture and design journal, among others.
Besides my focus on Shakespeare, I’m especially attracted to the lives and struggles of performing and visual artists. In my report Where Angels Fear to Tread (Houston Press), I investigated an East Texas community’s hostile reaction to a staging of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Raymond Caldwell, Kilgore College drama director and the artistic director of the renowned Texas Shakespeare Festival, produced this iconic play in spite of threats of violence against the cast and crew. To expand on the Handbook of Texas’s biographical essay of African-American singer Roberta Dodd Crawford, I traveled to Bonham, TX, Chicago, and Paris to work in the archives. I have profiled French photographer Robert Doisneau for a forthcoming monograph, the quirky Charles Dellschau, opera star Patricia Racette, cellist Desmond Hoebig, and the Houston Symphony Bad Boys of Cello, among others.
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell interviews Cynthia Greenwood on her Web site “We write for you biz.” As part of a drawing contest among readers who posted questions, one reader won a copy of the book. Read more…
Houston Public Media’s arts and performance program – The Front Row
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Today we speak with Rosemary Poole-Carter and Cynthia Greenwood, two of the Houston-area writers who will be featured at the Brazos Bookstore’s first semi-annual Local Authors Day on Saturday.
Arts journalist, critic and editor Cynthia Greenwood is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Shakespeare’s Plays. She speaks with St. John Flynn about her newest addition to the series of books known as The Complete Idiot’s Guides. Read more…