Results tagged “christopher rawson” from Drama Queen

Maybe you thought the muted furor surrounding the Tony Awards' decision to eject critics from its voters' ranks died away. After all, it's not like it was such an important decision anyway, right? And it's not like it affected that many people, right? Well wrong. It affects all of you, and by you, I don't just mean those of you who clicked through to this blog. I mean you as consumers of American culture. 

Today, American Theatre Critics Association Chairman Christopher Rawson sent a letter to the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing alerting them that we will not go quietly (though we're pretty polite, considering). Our ranks might be thinner, but if there's one thing critics know how to do well, it's bitch loudly about something we don't like. I'm a member of ATCA, and if you're a critic, you ought to be too. There's strength in numbers, and--being a bookish lot, who've spat out an awful lot of bully sand lately--we could really use those numbers to help the cause.

If you're not a critic, you know you read our reviews, and there might even be a critic or two whose opinion you respect. Send your own damn letter here and here and tell these chumps that a bunch of directors (or producers, or whatever you're not) voting for their friends does not a credible award make. After all, when your mommy told you you were the best one onstage, it was nice, but you didn't really believe her, did you? Did you?

As goes Broadway, so goes the nation, at least within a few years, when national tours begin hitting the road. Without critics slipping through the Tonys' highly entrenched voter ranks, plenty of editorials on the subject assert that the plays and musicals you'd get out here in the hinterlands would be an endless parade of Wickeds, and Legally Blondes--which they are anyway, and p.s., I liked Legally Blonde--but with no hope of a Rent or Spring Awakening surging forward to help electrify regional audiences and expand our dramatic expectations. 

Listen, don't do it for me, I only get to New York once or twice a year anyway. Do it for the benefit of our theater. Because that's what's really hurt by this decision.
August 7, 2009 4:35 PM | | Comments (3)

JohnWaters.jpgOn Thursday I'm heading down to Baltimore for Theatre Communications Group's National conference. However, I'm not attending just to have cocktails with opening speaker John Waters (though that would be nice), or to spy on the show folk (though I probably will). I've been invited to participate in TCG's "Press Summit," which will place a whole bunch of artistic directors in a room with a whole bunch of theater critics, on camera, for two hours. If that sounds a little like an aesthete's version of a cage match, well, don't get your hopes up. You don't really want to see us in unitards, do you?

The good/bad news is, we're all meeting for a common purpose, because these days critics and the critiqued are neighbors on the same leaky, uncomfortable, storm-tossed ship. With theater companies and newspapers closing at roughly the same rate, we're all looking a bit green and hoping for a cabin with an ocean view, if only to get some fresh air and see what's ahead. TCG hopes this summit will be that cabin.

Joining me on the panel will be--among others--Bartlett Sher, who just enjoyed the pleasure of Mr. and Mrs. President's company at his production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone; Lou Bellamy, artistic director of St. Paul's Penumbra Theatre Company; Raelle Myrick Hodges, a former Philly homegirl, who founded Azuka Theater and for some reason left to go somewhere else not half as cool (Okay, fine, she won a NEA/TCG grant and is now artistic director of San Francisco's Brava Theater Center. Congratulations. Whatever. We miss her.); and Emily Mann, artistic director of Princeton's McCarter Theater. There are other, equally esteemed directors attending, along with plenty of rising and established critics (Okay, fine, the New York Times' Jason Zinoman; Time Magazine's Richard Zoglin; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Christopher Rawson, among others), and the whole thing will be moderated by Judy Rousuck, former theater critic for the Baltimore Sun, and current critic for WYPR, Baltimore's NPR station. And sorry for the extreme editing--I've been told blog readers won't stay focused for very long, so trust me, there are about 20 of us and we're all pretty good at what we do.

We're charged with discussing the present challenges and future adapt-or-die strategies of theater and its media-based parasitic twin, as well as hopefully coming up with some answers. I'll blog and Twitter from the event and give you a link to TCG's video when it appears, but know this: if Mr. Waters joins me for cocktails, you're gonna have to wait.

June 2, 2009 7:14 PM |
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