Talking About Theater! Yay!

You’ve Cott Mail is ALL ABOUT theater today, and I love it!

Let’s definitely have this discussion about enhancement funding, and the practice of sending shows to Broadway, and for-profit subsidiary production companies. Let’s talk about New York as the bastion of professionalism in the theater (sigh). Let’s definitely talk about hybrid models for producing, let’s talk about risk, let’s talk about experimentation. Let’s talk about maximizing profits in the theater. God, can I have a job at the Center for Theater Commons, please?

But can we take a minute to reflect not just on the practice, but why this is happening? Doesn’t this all just indicate how broken the regional nonprofit theater business model is? Do we send plays to Broadway because they are aesthetically important? Or because it (might ) make a sh*t ton of money for the regional theater? Seriously?  If you sell tickets on Broadway does that mean you can sell fewer tickets at your home theater? Isn’t this all about money?

But money for whom? And at what aesthetic cost? And do we all (I guess I mean artists) have to move to New York to make a living in the theater? And if regional theaters become extensions of the Broadway producing model, who will innovate the form?

The article that is not included in this missive today is a recent LA Times article about how Broadway has once again gone crazy for revivals. Let’s all look past the utter weirdness of an LA paper complaining about Broadway shows, and respect the fact that they are engaged in this discussion. I wonder if it is because they know that many of these shows will be touring to an Ahmanson Theater near them in the coming years. I love revivals. I love Shakespeare, the most revived playwright of all time. When I listen to people attack revivals, I hear people saying two things: 1) Classic texts are boring, and 2) we should focus on developing New America plays. I reject the first, and I agree with the second.

Let’s get hyperbolic!!! It’s Monday and I had coffee from the coffee cart.

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