Monthly Archives: September 2008

Maggie Mahar: A Speaker Profile by Erin Bell


Maggie Mahar is a Health Policy Fellow with The Century Foundation, a non-profit research organization dedicated to spreading knowledge about public issues and policy. Mahar contributes to this cause through her blog, Health Beat, which examines flaws in the nation’s health care system and otherwise advances the dialogue on medical practice at home and abroad. Mahar’s recent blog topics include the controversy over Gardasil (the HPV vaccine), the merits of our presidential candidates’ respective health care plans, and the need for Medicare reform. Especially in economically difficult times like these, Mahar’s contributions are an important reality check not only for the higher-ups controlling American health care, but for the average citizen as well.

Health Beat is only the most recent of Mahar’s engagements with the politics, business ethics, and behavioral economies that drive medicine today; she has also authored a book on the subject entitled Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much (2006). From a hospital's denial of life-saving treatment for an uninsured diabetic to unnecessary heart surgeries performed to turn a profit, this piece posits the health care system as a corrupt corporate structure more concerned about the money in its pocket than the well-being of its patients [read: customers].

A jack of many trades, Maggie Mahar has also gained notoriety in fields other than care policy. She used to teach English at Yale, her Alma matter, and was a financial journalist during the 80’s and 90’s. She has been published in Money, Financial Times, Barron’s, and The New York Times among others. In 2003, she authored Bull: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-1999, a book that analyzes the recent history of the stock market and gives its readers a lesson on risk management.




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Maggie Mahar: Health Beat (by Rachel Seidman)


Maggie Mahar is
the feisty voice of the blog Health Beat (  The blog features daily posts about current
issues within the United State’s
health care system and Mahar’s take on their possible solutions.  She draws her readers into her writing by
including personal anecdotes, interviews, and a comments page.  Mahar uses reader comments to her advantage
and sometimes even creates posts based on these remarks (for example, the post:
“Why Does it Cost so much to Educate a Med Student?”)  I know very little about the health care
arena; yet Mahar’s blog captivated me.  I
recommend reading “Donating an Organ, Should it be a Gift.”  This post perfectly blends personal
narrative, fact, and opinion, and exposed the numerous problems with organ


Some notable
features of the blog include: an e-mail subscription, “Health Beat’s Most
Read,” archives, and links to other notable health care websites.  The blog is a project for The Century
Foundation, a nonprofit, public policy research institution whose goal is to
find the most effective solutions to the major challenges facing the United
Mahar’s blog also hosted the Health
Wonk Review,
a biweekly digest of the best of the health policy blogs.


Maggie Mahar is an
excellent example of how one person can be a workplace chameleon.  Her impressive resume began at Yale University
where she acquired both
a B.A. and Ph.D in English literature.  In
addition, to writing Health Beat she
has published two books: Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care
Costs So Much
and Bull! A History of the Boom, 1982–1999, a book
which Paul Krugman of the New York Times said "makes a devastating
case against the contention that the market is almost perfectly
efficient."  Before specializing in
health care, Mahar was a financial journalist. 
Her list of credits include: Institutional Investor, The
New York Times
, Bloomberg, and Barron's
(where she served as senior editor).






TCF” The Century Foundation.  September
20, 2008.

Mahar’s HealthBeat Blog” Health Care
September 20, 2008.

Maggie Mahar.” HarperCollins Publishers. September
20, 2008.

Health Wonk Review. September 20, 2008.

Maggie.  Health Beat.  September 20, 2008.



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Robyn Goodman Wiki

Robyn Goodman


            Robyn Goodman is a well-known Broadway and Off Broadway producer most famous for producing the Tony Award Winning Shows Avenue Q and In the Heights. Although Goodman has had much success behind the scenes producing shows, she began on the stage. After graduating from Brandeis University, Goodman made a living for herself by acting for about 9 years. She attributes a lot of her success as a producer to her start as an actress. She states that acting allowed and helped her to fully understand scripts and the industry.Untitled1

     Goodman’s rise in theater and musicals began in 1979 when Carole Rothman approached her with the idea that they should start a theater together. They met weekly for two months to discuss if they should start the theater and what niche it could fill. After much contemplation, they decided that it was venture worth undertaking.  They had noticed that around that time, a lot of good plays were falling through the cracks due to problems like bad marketing and a lack of funds. The goal of their theater became to revive contemporary plays by providing them with the better production they deserved. They called their theater Second Stage Theatre

        Second Stage opened in 1980, and the two partners decided they would try to produce three shows that season. Their theater, located on the 16th floor of an apartment building in the Upper West Side, was furnished with about 115 seats. The vast majority of those seats were filled as their first show, Split, quickly became a huge success. Already causing critics to stop and take notice, the spotlight soon would rest on Second Stage, as a conflict between New York City actors and playwrights caused the show to close down abruptly. What would have seemed like a disaster turned out to be a blessing, as Second Stage, its goal, and its producers were featured on the front page of the New York Times.

        After 13 years with Second Stage and a barrage of successful plays, Robyn Goodman decided to try something new and a bit more profitable. She joined the ABC Soap Opera “One Life to Live.” While with the show for 4 ½ years, it won six Emmy Awards. In 1996, she left television and returned to her theater roots. She spent two seasons as the head of the literary department at the non-profit Manhattan Theater Club. Most notably though, she founded her own production company titled Aged in Wood and continues to be a consultant for the Roundabout Theatre.

        A few of the shows she has helped to produce in the past five years are In the Heights, Avenue Q, Altar Boyz, and the revival of Steel Magnolias. In the Heights is the 2008 Broadway musical about a young Dominican shopkeeper and life in Washington Heights. Avenue Q is the 2003 Broadway Musical featuring puppets and showcasing the troubles that come with being in one’s late twenties and early thirties. Altar Boyz was the 2004 Off Broadway musical about a fictional Christian boy band. Lastly, Steel Magnolias was the 2005 Broadway play about a group of women in Louisiana. Goodman continues to look for new Broadway and Off Broadway projects.

        One of Goodman’s main goals today is to produce shows that not only appeal to the consistent theatergoer but to younger and minority audiences as well. Avenue Q and In the Heights are shinning examples that the wherewithal to produce and develop shows that embrace younger and minority audiences is not just progressive but also business savvy.

Tomi Adewale

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Bill Brohn, in so many words

The question in the next 294 words
should not be ‘What has Bill Brohn done in the theater?’ but ‘What has he not done in the theater?”  Bill Brohn, more formerly known as
William David Brohn, is a musical arranger and orchestrator who has worked on
more than thirty large-scale productions. 
When it comes to a Broadway pedigree, I think that Brohn ranks with the theater
nobility: he won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for Ragtime, was nominated in the same
category in 2002 for Sweet Smell of
and in 2004 for Wicked,
and also won the Drama Desk awards for both Miss
and The Secret Garden in
1991.  Furthermore, Brohn arranged
and/or orchestrated for Oklahoma, Mary Poppins, South Pacific, My Fair Lady,
Oliver, and Wind in the Willows, to name a few.   Aside from Broadway, Brohn also worked on the score
for the 1997 animated film Anastasia
and provided music for the Boston Pops Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra.  Yikes! 

So where did Brohn learn the ropes?
Well, he was born in Flint, Michigan, and studied Music Theory at Michigan
State University (1955), Composition at the New England Conservatory (1958) and
studied further in Western Massachusetts and in Salzburg, Austria.  Also of note is that Robert Russell
Bennett, an old-time great orchestrator responsible for about 300 productions
such as The King and I (1951), South Pacific (’49), and The Sound of Music (’59), mentored Brohn
for several years early in his career.   What’s more is that Brohn performed with several dance
bands and as a conductor for the Royal Ballet before heading into musical
arranging and composing.  According
to Colin Anderson in his review of Brohn’s arrangement in the West Side Story
CD soundtrack, “William David Brohn is an old-hand arranger, a good one too,”
(BBC).  To quickly summarize: Bill
Brohn is Legend (apocalypse jokes aside).  

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Broadway’s Bill Brohn – By Sadie Brinton

Duke in New York Sightings: Brohn_william

Alex Davis sent this juicy tidbit in: Spotted at the DT UT Café on the Upper
East Side – Bill Brohn of New York theatre fame*.
  Could it be that this seasoned Broadway star is working on
something new?
  Or is he just
looking for a cup of joe?

For those of you who don’t know Mr.
Brohn, he is the genius behind the orchestrations for some of modern Broadway’s
greatest hits.
  Ever heard of a
little musical called
Wicked?  Brohn’s orchestration earned this
crowd-pleaser a Tony Nomination and the trophy from the Drama Desk for Best
Orchestration in 2004. But the Wicked Witch of the West was certainly not
Brohn’s first taste of success.
His other original orchestrations have been hits with both crowds and
critics, earning him awards for
Miss Saigon and the dazzling Ragtime.  His
help bringing classic musical revivals, such as
My Fair Lady and Oklahoma, back to Broadway have shown that it is possible to spice up the music of older shows!

But Broadway is not the only way
for Mr. Brohn.
  The great musician
has created arrangements for some of today’s most famed ballet companies and
some of the dance world’s most noted directors.
  He has also written for artists as varied as the fabulous
Liza Minelli and the renowned Sir James Galway. This Michigan boy has even
managed to hop successfully back and forth across the Pond to London’s West
  In fact his most recent work,
an adaptation of the classic American novel
Gone With The Wind opened this spring at the New London Theatre.  Although British papers did not give
the most favorable reviews – there was more disappointment with the problems of
squeezing an epic war novel into a sugary musical – I can’t wait to see his
next show stateside.
  So lets all
keep our fingers crossed that Alex saw the genius at work and we’re sure to be
in for some stunning music very soon! 

*This did not actually happen but it would be cool if it did…


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Bill Brohn

By Asher Brown-Pinsky

Bill Brohn is one of the most
accomplished arrangers/orchestrators of Broadway and West End musicals today,
working on such productions as Miss
, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, and, recently, Wicked. These productions as well as some
19 others in his 35 year long career as an arranger and orchestrator have
garnered him accolades in addition to a Tony Award for Orchestration for Ragtime in 1998 and Drama Desk Awards
for his work on Crazy for You, Miss Saigon and The Secret Garden.

Brohn studied Music Theory at
Michigan State University in 1955, Music Composition at the New England
Conservatory in 1958 and received further instruction at Tanglewood,
Massachusetts and at Salzburg. During this time Robert Russell Bennet,
considered by many to be the father of the modern sound of the American
musical, mentored him. At the beginning of his career, Brohn served as a
conductor for the Royal Ballet and Robert Joffrey Ballet Companies and various
Broadway musicals before contributing orchestration for Rodgers and Hart, Rockabye
, and Timbuktu! and
providing the sole orchestration for King
of Hearts
and the plays that followed.

His modern orchestration is characterized
by his use of Electric Guitars particularly with the E-Bow device, and the
mixture of live and synthesized instrumentation. He has also been known to
exhibit Pop and Jazz influences in his arrangements, a holdover from his
student days, when he played bass in dance bands. This sensibility would come
in handy when the instrumentation for musicals began to change.

Besides working in Musical Theater,
Brohn has also provided arrangement and orchestration for several Hollywood
films including the classic 1983 Ally Sheedy/Matthew Broderick vehicle, WarGames (“Is it a game or is it real?”).
In addition, he has also arranged numerous ballet scores and the orchestration
for Liza Minelli’s “Minnelli on Minnelli” concert.



His most recent credit was for Gone
for the Wind
at the New London Theatre beginning last April.

More WarGames:

*You may notice the abundance of WarGames (Not to be confused with its lighter, derivate, Val Kilmer starring Real Genius) related content and the paucity (absence) of content relating to Mr. Brohn's work in theater. This is no way testimony to the quality of or fact that I've seen the entirety of said film,  but, rather a statement regarding my feelings toward Wicked, the obvious choice for visual content/youtube links. I was subjected to the score to Wicked for days and days on end, inflaming my nascent antipathies towards the play and musical theater in general. This is no way a critique of Mr. Brohn's abilities, but rather an indictment of the play's writers and the institution of musical theater as a whole. So you guys can hear Brohn's work and I don't feel dirty about linking to a youtube video for the trailer for the Wicked touring production ( There, look what you made me do.

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James Shulman, ARTstor and more (Caroline Lampen)

Wassily Kandinsky, Circles in a Circle, 1923

James Shulman is Executive Director of a prominent online
digital library of images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities,
and social sciences.  This
expansive database, ARTstor, is comprised of almost 1 million images that are
used by scholars, educators, students, and museums throughout the world.  ARTstor was founded in 2001 by The
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and became an independent organization in 2004 with
the objective of implementing advances in technology to support education and

Does ARTstor sound familiar?  While many students who study Art History or Humanities use
this database, the rest of the student population is probably more familiar
with JSTOR as a tool to search for academic articles.  JSTOR, the older brother of ARTstor, was also initially
sponsored by the Mellon Foundation. 
While their names sound alike, they are different in the respect that
ARTstor deals with primary materials and JSTOR mostly provides secondary
sources.  In an interview with
EDUCAUSE, James Shulman stated that ARTstor should be used as a tool to “bring
community together to work with content owners and providers and users”,
reflecting the goal of the digital library to succeed in developing pedagogical
and scholarly resources to serve many different groups of people.

While James Shulman has been integral in the progress of
ARTstor, he is also a man whose interests have taken him beyond the scope of
arts.  In the last ten years, he
authored several books on the changing face of college education with regard to
race demographics and college sports. 
His books are an outgrowth of the research work he did at the Mellon Foundation,
prior to his position at ARTstor, on the development of the College and Beyond
database.  He co-authored with
William Bowen, The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values, in which they assess the ways that athletics
influence the educational policies of highly selective and prestigious
universities, like Duke.  James
Shulman is a great example of an individual who has pursued various passions
throughout his career!


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