ALL HAIL THE AMATEUR: Douglas McClennan, who runs the website artsjournal.com, was in Fort Worth recently to serve as chairman of the press jury for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs. And as he listened to all of those pianists, he got to thinking about the nature of amateurism and how and why the level of amateur performance has increased in the digital age. “While inexperience was an obstacle for many of the contestants, the playing was often fresh. No matter how well you’ve prepared, unless you’re performing regularly, you don’t really know what’s going to happen onstage,” he writes on nytimes.com. “Nerves are a potent drug, so is experience. Knowing what to do when a finger goes momentarily astray or concentration springs a leak divides the pros from the amateurs. But that sense of being on the edge can also be at its best seductive both for performer and listener.”
BEING BILLY: This week is your last chance to catch Billy Elliot at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. And if you’ve already seen it and liked it, there may actually be a reason to see it again. That’s because you never know which Billy you’re going to get. Several boys play the part, and dallasnews.com caught up with a few of them to see how closely their path to dance mirrored their character’s.
STILL AT IT: When the touring production of Chicago rolls into Fort Worth on Friday, Seinfeld fans will recognize the man playing Billy Flynn. That’s because he will be played by John O’Hurley, the actor who played Elaine’s boss J. Peterman on the television show. He tells dfw.com about his post-Seinfeld life, which includes motivational speaking, working for an energy company and recording piano music.