The Playgoer: Regional Theatre dispatch

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Regional Theatre dispatch

More testimony from the front lines, in Nicholas Martin's exit interview from Boston's Huntington:

Until now, the production budgets have never been cut in any way. On the other hand, a lot of staff has necessarily been cut, which makes existing staff work very, very hard. . . . I don't mean we're hurting badly, either, but the single ticket has become the event. [The purchase of a] subscription by and large is over.... If Nathan Lane [who starred in "Butley" in 2003] is going to appear in something here, we're going to sell out in a second. It's a fact, there's nothing wrong with it, you know. What's wrong is when people expect him to be singing songs from "The Lion King" instead of acting a really serious part.

Yet more evidence that as subscription renewals go down (and the subscriber-class passes on) the pressure for each show in a company's season to be a bona fide hit increases.

Mike Daisey makes much the same point in his must-see How Theatre Failed America. (Which you now can see in an extended run at the Barrow Street, starting this Friday.) There he tells how a lit mgr previously encouraging of him now lets him down easy by saying something like, "Sorry, but this season we need every show to be a 'home run.'

More on the Daisey show anon...

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