Scott Walters follows up with more thoughts on his own blog:
When, during the Q & A session, she was asked a question that had a preamble something like "In college, we're often encouraged to go to Chicago or New York after graduation..." she cut the young man off with "Really? Chicago? I mean, I don't know much about Chicago, except there are some important rep theatres there. I suppose you can make a living there. All I know is that if I want to work in Chicago, I have to be in New York; if I want to work in Seattle, which is a great theatre town, I have to be in New York; if I want to work in my home town of Raleigh, I have to be in New York." I started to think she was working on commission for the NYC Tourist Bureau. It was like a drumbeat. And these kids were eating this up, getting that imaginative high that eventually leads to the kind of addiction characterized by narrowed vision and lowered standards.
Not surprisingly, nobody ever asked, and clearly Beth Leavel never considered, the utter insanity of such an arrangement. Nope, it was all about New York, and Beth had made the leap from SETC to Broadway, and you can too. You just have to want it badly enough.
It isn't that no young artists should think about NYC (as if that were possible), but rather the fact that Ms. Leavel and the SETC organizers are so fixated on that place as the one and only worthy destination that all other alternatives are ignored entirely. From an early age, young theatre geeks are fed a steady diet of Broadway musicals, Tony(tm) Award broadcasts, and musical cast albums so that they emerge with brains addled and critical thinking abilities impaired to such an extent that 4-1/2 years in 42nd Street sounds like heaven rather than the hellish nightmare it truly is.