The Playgoer: "First Look"

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Monday, February 26, 2007

"First Look"

From Jesse Green's Ars Nova profile in Sunday's Times:

But Ars Nova has nothing financial to gain. It doesn’t even ask playwrights to grant the industry-standard “first look” option. As a result the playwrights are not hobbled with obligations to anything except their plays.
Anyone know of any theatres claiming "first look" rights in exchange for a reading?

Other notable quote from the piece, from Jon Steingart, Ars Nova co-founder:
“A lot of not-for-profit theaters are driven by middle-aged women buying $100 tickets....But you can’t build a younger audience that way. And you can’t support younger artists if you charge $50 a ticket, because no one knows who they are."

Amen, brother.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe Jesse Green takes Ars Nova at their word that they could run that flop AT LEAST IT'S PINK for three years at $75 a ticket if they so chose.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm confused about the phrase "first look," but many theatres that do readings of new plays get the right of first refusal on the world premiere. As a literary manager, I've requested many a script only to hear that such-and-such a theatre did a development process and reading of the script, and so they have to pass on the premiere before the script will become available. YMMV.

Ken said...

“A lot of not-for-profit theaters are driven by middle-aged women buying $100 tickets...."
There's got to be some way to approach the issue of the average age of theater audiences that's not age-ist. I have nothing against people of any age going to the theater, but when I attend a play and see that 80-90% of the crowd are silver haired and in need of those amplification devices, my heart sinks. Logic, if not experience, tells us that this audience is going to expect (if not demand) the familiar, the safe, the pleasant, at the expense of the bold, the dangerous, the unexpected. How can new artists be expected to courageously charge into the unknown, when the purse strings of many an institution are controlled by this demographic?