The Playgoer: Whither niche theatres?

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Whither niche theatres?

The Sun-Times reports on the woes of two Jewish-themed Chicago theatres. One may be a lesson in how not to manage a budget crisis--as in, try not to take your subscribers' money down the toilet with you.

But the bigger lesson here has less to do with mismanagement or Jewish theatre than with the fate of the niche company itself in an age of bigger and bigger expectations, even for nonprofits. Is it possible these companies overextended and overdreamed their budgets, rather than sticking with their original modest mission? I'm always happy to see a small company do well, but also sad when they then "raise their profile" and start looking like every other boring dinner theatre across the country.

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