The Playgoer: the Vegas revolution, continued

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Friday, August 26, 2005

the Vegas revolution, continued

The Vegas incarnation of Avenue Q is already in previews this week, and opens Saturday. Here's a good chock-full- o'-info survey on the burgeoning theatre biz there from USA Today. (Courtesy of the indispensible ArtsJournal, of course.)

How to explain Playgoer's almost giddy fascination with this story? Perhaps there's a secret fantasy I harbor: that Las Vegas will just suck up and overtake all commercial theatre properties, leaving New York to get on with the business of art. Perhaps such bifurcation will do "us" good? Leave the commercialism to the people that really do it best!...Look, if nothing else, Broadway (recent home of such sub-Vegas spectacles as Lennon, Good Vibrations, and Dance of the Vampires) could certainly use some competition. Not that I care about "fixing" Broadway, of course. (As covered here.) But for these producers's own sakes (and it's their personal well being I care about) they need to be shaken out of their insular complacency.

It's also astounding and just cool to me (as a self-styled theatre historian) that Las Vegas seems to be remaking Broadway anew, formulating a new business model for commercial theatre just as the one in Times Square is so obviously faltering. The USA Today piece makes a great point about what it means to be able to build new theatre spaces for these shows, instead of forcing new product into the quaint obsolete real estate we're familiar with. Huge stuff.

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