The Playgoer: Broadway in the Schools

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Broadway in the Schools

According to Campbell Robertson in today's Times, some producers have gotten some big corporate sponsorship to give public school kids a big exposure to theatre. But by framing all the activities around Broadway they're really just promoting their product in the schools.

Other organizations, like Theater Development Fund, have programs to involve students in Broadway theater, but this one, which started last month at 10 high schools and junior high schools in the city, aspires to be the most comprehensive. It is a seven-month course involving big-name theater professionals, trips to Broadway shows, playwriting and play producing classes and, for 10 students, a Broadway stage on which their plays will be performed.
I have three questions:

1) What can these students possibly learn about writing plays from going to Broadway, where, as we all know, there are no plays?

2) Yes, the children are our future, and the future of the theatre, but what's the point of whetting their appetite for something they will not be able to afford. By the time they grow up, a $250 ticket will be the norm, the way things are going.

3) Wouldn't it make a whole lot more sense for the profession and for the art of theatre for concerned corporations to conceive a similar program built around our nonprofit Off Broadway theatres? You know, the ones actually doing plays?

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