The Playgoer: Friday Roundup

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Roundup

-As summarized by WaPo, an NEA survey has just concluded that folks really do like their internets. Not a problem--but will it affect the arts? "Americans are increasingly choosing the Internet and other new media to enjoy the arts, a new national survey has found. While many adults still like the intimacy of live theater, particularly musical theater, over the past year an estimated 47 million of them chose to watch or listen to music, theater or dance performances online at least once a week. ...[W]hile many arts disciplines remain popular, the mode of delivery is rapidly changing." I recommend theatre co's start looking at this model, and fast.

-Speaking of the NEA, I recommend they look at this report by British Equity, faulting regional theatres in the UK for doing smaller shows and hiring fewer and fewer actors per season. Memo to Rocco: if you're serious about the arts as an engine for employment, tie future NEA grants to actor-quotas. Incentivize bigger plays, for a change, not smaller.

-Buzz of the moment: Broadway-bound Addams Family musical "preems" in Chicago. Read the tealeaves in Chris Jones' Trib review. My only interest here is in the unusual choice directing/design team of Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch--a.ka., the Shockheaded Peter guys. Let's hope they survive the out-of-town tinkering. Meanwhile, Riedel raises a good point about Bebe Neuwirth's 11 o'clock number: "her dramatic crisis ("I'm getting old") makes no sense since Morticia is a vampire."

-Finally, for more on yesterday's Theatre District shootout, it's always good to go to the NY Post for the nitty gritty on stories like this. (One bullet shot through to the Marquis Theatre box office, and another "slammed into the window of the souvenir shop Broadway Baby, tearing through a 'Wicked' book.") And dig this eye-witness report!

By the way, come someone explain what is so dangerous about that "scam" these guys were running? Charge you $10 to put your name on a blank CD? This is so hard to resist??? Or have tourists really gotten that dumb.


Joshua James said...

It's really about intimidation, the CD scam ... they ask you your name, write in on a CD and tell you that you just bought it ... you got two big guys there looking like they're gonna give you a beating if you don't pay for the CD they just defaced at "your" request, according to them.

Yeah, you can keep walking, say no ... you or I would probably just laugh and go, get the fuck outa here ... but bear in mind, they also pull this on people they believe can be intimidated ... tourists from Japan, Europe ... senior citizens, anyone they believe they can physically intimidate. And they say "they" bought the CD from them ... so it could feel legal to the mark.

Playgoer said...

Thanks for the Scam 101, Joshua. I see your point.

I also draw your attention to another photo from the Broadway Baby store that David Cote has posted of a bullet hole right in the bullseye of the Wicked book. Joke is, that's Cote's book!

I should say, of course, that despite my having some laughs at the expense of the "New" Times Square, something really disturbing happened here and a guy was killed. No matter how mean a scammer he might have been, there's probably a sad story behind that. And so far we're just taking the NYPD's word that the pursued man shot first before the cop did.

To me the broader significance of the event is to remind us what a bubble the Broadway Theatre District has been living in ever since the gentrification of the 1990s. (A shooting in plain day is NOT so unusual in other cities around the world. ) At some point that has to have an effect on what's ON the stages themselves.

Joshua James said...

It sure has changed, that's for sure. It's always terrible when someone dies (actually what's been more common the past few years has been cars or cabs losing control and plowing into pedestrians, that's happened a lot more than shootings) and I agree ... it is a bubble.

I honestly don't like going to Times Square anymore, even though it's a lot safer than it used to be ... too much like a theme park.