The Playgoer: Obama's Best Arts Policy, Leading by Example?

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama's Best Arts Policy, Leading by Example?

The First Couple take in some Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center earlier this month.

So suggests LAT's Culture Monster.
According to Katie McCormick Lelyveld, the first lady’s press secretary, the Obamas plan “a spectrum of activities,” both official and on family time: “Getting out to dinner when they can, getting out to theater when they can, and bringing arts inside the White House and using that as a tool for education.”
Omigod, she said theater!

And they actually have a track record:
In Chicago, theatergoing was at least an occasional Obama pastime. In 2002, officials of the Goodman Theatre say, Obama attended its production of “Drowning Crow,” Regina Taylor’s recasting of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” in an African American milieu. And in 2005, the Obamas journeyed to the Chicago suburb of Skokie for a Northlight Theatre production of Thomas Gibbons’ play “Permanent Collection.” The play, based on the real-life art-and-race controversy at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, starred Harry J. Lennix, a friend of the Obamas.
Now Northlight, that's hardcore. No glamor in Skokie.

DC Shakespeare king Michael Kahn puts it simply: "It’s just about [creating] an awareness that, if the first family appreciates and participates in arts events, it’s something that is part of American life. It sends a good message that the arts count."

God, let's hope so. Because the nation's bottom line will, to many, increasingly suggest otherwise...

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