The Playgoer: The New "Patrons"

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Friday, April 27, 2007

The New "Patrons"

Variety claims the straight play is far from dead on Broadway--even commercial Broadway--thanks to that handful of maverick producers who seem to have figured out how to make it work for them.

A few years ago, when Roundabout and the MTC increased their Broadway presence, conventional wisdom had it that new plays would soon be the province of the nonprofits. So far, the taxpaying theater hasn't brought down the curtain....

"Right now there are a large number of investors who want to be associated with quality product and are not investing because it's a great return on their money," says [Bob]Boyett.

He recalls what veteran producer Emanuel Azenberg recently said about such check-writers, calling them "patrons of the arts," in the New York Times. "That was amusing," Boyett says of Azenberg's sly riff on well-heeled producers. "But also it's a little bit true."

Or as [Scott] Rudin puts it, "Because plays are not my only business, I have the luxury of doing plays that I like and believe in."

Of course, when you look at the more successful output of these producers, their strategy may be simple: go British. Or, to use the preferred code: "quality product."

In a related story, Cara Joy mourns the fading of the visionary and committed producers of yore and calls for a new crop.

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