Friday, May 22, 2009

Kushner 24/7

The Guthrie Theatre has made a significant investment in their Kushner festival. How do you calculate the success of such a project?

Dominic Papatola takes a go at assessing it in the Pioneer Press:

They've tied up all three stages for the better part of the spring with the work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. They've provided time, resources and shelter to allow him room to wrestle his newest play into shape: The kid-glove treatment includes a week's delay of opening night and a down-to-the-wire rehearsal period that had actors reading from scripts during preview performances 48 hours before opening night. There are Kushner seminars, Kushner speeches, Kushner continuing legal education seminars; everything but Kushner knishes at the theater's restaurant.

Tonight comes the capstone of all this Kushner-mania: the world premiere of "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures," a drama set in Brooklyn but peppered with Minnesota references and centering on an unorthodox family reunion. To say the world is watching is an overstatement, but in the world of American theater, this is a big deal.

Guthrie officials declined to put a public price on the festival's cost, but the endeavor easily runs into seven figures. How does that significant investment pay off for the theater, the playwright, the local community and the national theater scene?

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