The Playgoer: Arts & Leisure Watch 4/23

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Arts & Leisure Watch 4/23

Appropros of our discussion below on the collusions involved in privileging Broadway over all other New York theatre...

Check out this item on the user-friendly "Directions" page of the Arts & Leisure section today.

"Small Things Come in Good Packages." Okay. Sounds nice, I guess, at first? Some nice free press for some mini-"festivals"at EST, Theatre for the New City, and Williamsburg's Brick Theater.

But between the lines is clearly the sense of alternative theatre as quaint freakshow. Where the value is still only as great as its entertainment potential.

A word of caution, though: For every "Urinetown" that shot from a festival in a dark black box downtown to the bright lights of Midtown, there were far more clunkers that might have been better off left alone. Assume a similar ratio here, and proceed with fun-loving caution.

Note two uses of "caution." How did that get by the copy editor? Unless NYT Arts is that extremely "on message" these days.

Ticketbuyer: Proceed at your own risk. Most downtown theatre is kinda like Urinetown--remember that wacky show?--but if you're looking to get $100 worth of quality, say a Julia Roberts vehicle or a revival of "Barefoot in the Park," stick to B'way.

As you'll see the promos for the shows come complete in consumer guide form, covering just three points for each: "What"; "Sounds Promising Because"; and the all-too-cautionary "But..."

Must the Times be a cheerleader for downtown? Of course not. But would they ever run a piece in advance of a Broadway show implying reasons why not to buy a ticket?

If I were one of these theatres I'd say, Thanks for nothing.


Anonymous said...

the kicker is "$100 worth of quality, say a Julia Roberts vehicle or a revival of 'Barefoot in the Park'"...

yes, that's money well-spent, and for non-theater-types who, at the behest of nyt theater coverage, decide to splurge for $100 worth of theatrical "quality," that's 100 reasons not to consider plays as a viable (worthwhile) entertainment option.

Larissa said...

This is disgusting--to suggest that there are proportionally more "clunkers" in small off-Broadway houses than on, and that a show making it to the "bright lights of midtown" is somehow a guarantee of it not being a clunker--I could just spit. Spit, I say!