Thursday, June 24, 2004

THE GUARDIAN CORONATES CHICAGO AS OUR NEW THEATRICAL HUB

I have long tried to tell my compadres here in Boston that you don't know what a real theatre town is, (and what we are missing,) until you have been there.

I experienced a little of the energy of a dynamic theatre town in Seattle in the Mid to Late Nineties. And in speaking to Chicago Theatre Alumni, they seem to have similar fond recollections.

Michael Billington is making the Chicago aura almost official in his column in the Guardian.

An interesting observation in the piece is that Chicago sits so far away from the two magnetic poles of New York and LA that they are, in a way, freer.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

LONG WHARF NETS 30MIL FOR A NEW SPACE FROM...GUESS WHO?

I must credit my wife with this link...

Read all the details here. Apparently this is something that has been in the works for years.

From the article:

"We have proven across the state that this formula for urban revitalization works. We are proud to be continuing our investment in the future and the people of New Haven. It is New Haven's time." - Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland


Friday, June 11, 2004

Ouch!

Those of you in the theatre community who don't follow Brendan Kiley of the Stranger in Seattle should really check him out now and then.

He is a strange amalgamation of critic and artist. Sometimes maddening, always truthful, and mostly entertaining.

Check out his experience in performing recently....with a group of theatre artists he had previously given bad reviews to. Read the column here.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

HONORING NON-EQUITY COMPANIES

Chicago has awards that honor "bold and productive" non equity companies...The Jeff Citations.

Baliwick Repertory Company, the creators of Sin; A Cardinal Deposed took home a number of awards.

Coverage is here in the Chicago Tribune

Caroline Ellis posted a quick Mere Opinions to Larry's site regarding Subscriptions.

She doesn't provide a link to the article she references in the Wall Street Journal but she does provide the data from the article.

She ends her entry by saying: "Anyway the research seems to indicate that the sacred cow of season subscriptions is not sustainable. I guess that means theaters might do better putting their resources into promoting single shows. (The promotion of "Three Penny Opera" at the New Rep this year comes to mind.) It's interesting. I know a lot of people would disagree with this."


Season tickets provide the steady influx of cash needed to support theatre. Marketing and banking on individual shows would destroy any hope of perpetuating new work or innovative theatre. Without subscriptions the theatre company is left to the harsh conditions of an entertainment and arts marketplace that is incredibly hostile to any risk, chance, or attempts at innovation.

Shows like Threepenny Opera, or Scapin at the New Rep can only come with a subscription audience. In an article in American Theatre about the Circle Rep (or maybe the Roundaboout?) in New York City, the artistic director said that his financial strategy is, "Screw the single ticket buyer." Basically, the philosophy is, "Why should I give you a discount, or go out of my way to please you if you are only coming to see this one show?" It is a simple strategy that comes from a confidence that you are doing good work. If the single ticket buyer likes your show they will want to see more, and the way to get discounts is to become a subscriber.

The serious problems arising from subscriptions seems to be the aging and conservative subscriber bases of some of the primary LORT theatres in the country. Younger ticket buyers are less likely to buy into a subscription series which contain 2 Warhorses, 2 Chestnuts, a "forgotten masterpiece", and maybe only one new play.
Bill Marx comes swooping down from his highbrow perch to slash the celebrating Ruby Sunrise.

Middelbrows Unite

I can't comment specifically because I haven't seen or read the play.

I think that highbrow critics such as Marx get a real charge out of thinking of themselves as the last bastion of defense against mediocrity. However, I think he has a point here. The corporate onslaught of popular entertainment faces its last hurdle..."critical acceptance"....before it takes over completely.

His article seems free of political ideology.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

NEW WORKS WATCH

In the past month or so I have been looking at some of the leading Regional Theatres around the country as they announced their 2004-2005 Seasons. Here is how much some of the larger and more influential Regionals are devoting to new work:

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

2 World Premieres

Lost Land by Stephen Jeffreys (featuring John Malkovich)
The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris

The Goodman Theatre

1 ½ World Premieres
Finishing the Picture by Arthur Miller
(Adaptation) A Doll House by Rebecca Gilman


Seattle Rep….
GOOSE EGG!

South Coast Repertory Theatre

4 World Premieres!

Brooklyn Boy by Donald Marguiles
Vesuvius by Lucinda Coxson
On the Mountain by Christoper Shinn
One World Premiere to be Announced

La Jolla Playhouse

4 World Premieres!

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal
Jersey Boys (Musical) Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise, Music by Bob Gaudio
The Scottish Play by Lee Blessing
Paris Commune (Musical) by Steve Cosson and Michael Friedman

Arena Stage (Washington)

GOOSE EGG!

Here is how the Major Boston Regionals are doing along the same lines:


Huntington Theatre Company
2 World Premieres

Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez
Culture Clash in America – Collaborative Work


American Repertory Theatre
GOOSE EGG