WaPo's Peter Marks tells us:
In less than a decade, the architecture of Washington theater has undergone the most radical revision in history. Every sizable theater company has either moved into a new complex, extensively renovated or added to its capacity. The result has been some nifty new houses and a hefty uptick in the number of stages and seats. In 2000, just six of the companies that have built new theaters -- Studio, Shakespeare, Arena, Round House, Olney and Signature -- accounted for nine performance spaces. By the end of this year, they will be operating 16, in some cases having doubled or even tripled the seats they can sell on a particular evening.Exhibit A: Shakespeare Theatre plays host to the touring production of Avenue Q.
While the physical expansion has given the theaters of Washington more flexibility, it has also upped the pressure, compelling boards and artistic directors to consider new methods of putting the spaces to work. In many cases, that has meant including in their seasons more plays by visiting companies.
Can the local talent really not fill these spaces? Are these fancy new structures too expensive to rent? Or did these companies just go on a building spree that way oversupplied demand?