The Playgoer: Fun with Quotes

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Fun with Quotes

As obvious as the problem may be, I'm glad Charles Isherwood has fought back at the quote mix-'n'-matchers of the Broadway PR industry. I'm surprised he doesn't mention the obvious instance of how the words of his colleague Ben Brantley were sneakily enlisted in the "Drowsy Chaperone" campaign, which I reported here.

Sure it's an old practice, and Isherwood goes into some of the delicious David Merrick tricks of old. But Merrick was an acknowledged madman. Have these "respectable" firms really lost any sense of standards? Forget about the english language...

As Isherwood puts it: "advertising copywriters are becoming bolder, more inventive, more inspired — which is perhaps to say more desperate — in their revisions of critical history."

The end effect may very well be glut and numbness. As producer Liz McCann has recently said, after you see your 100th "Incredible!" or "Amazing!" on a marquee the words kinda lose their impact, no matter what they were originlly referring to.

Yet another way critics are becoming less and less relevant on Broadway? or on B'way business?


Art said...

In Boston, we had a situation that was complicated even more by a theatre pulling the quote of a blogger who was authorized to blog for a media outlet.

The Theatre company pulled a quote from the blogger and kind of fudged the attribution by not listing exactly where it came from. Instead, they used the name of the media outlet.

I posted about it here, with links to the details:

Anonymous said...

As usual, it never occurs to Isherwood to notice how he, himself, and his newspaper feed the problem he points to. Reminds me of when he complained about the small number playwrights whose new works get done around the city when he seems to have made a sport of squashing almost every young writer whose work he sees. A little awareness of the power of the NYT -- and of his own flagrant brandishing of it -- would make him more convincing. Or at least more honest. Do you think it occurred to him to ask what role the NYT plays in producing an environment that encourages theaters to resort to dishonest quoting? What if the NYT gave up free press seats in exchange for a no-quotes policy? That would be a start.