Q: “You’ve said the theatre was in trouble [when you arrived in 1986]. How did you save it?”
A: “It was about stabilizing the programming. I don’t think there was anything magical. We were in crisis, so we had to pick some titles that people would respond to.”
In addition to mobilizing civic engagement at a grassroots level, the plays also act as an indelible record of the largest loss to public lands our country has ever seen. They document a community’s unique history and culture at a particularly urgent moment in that community’s journey. Because they are based on true stories, the plays are marked by an authenticity of character and voice, and a sometimes-disarming honesty. They are very real and very accessible, and have the rare power to touch people on a deeply personal level, galvanizing communities to take action.
Liz Durand Streisand’s online platform — which is, in fact, called Broadway Roulette — is basically the Hotwire of theatre: producers, like airlines, may be willing to release discount tickets in order to sell seats, but they don’t want the whole world to know that they’re resorting to cutting prices. So the customer will specify a date and order tickets, but the actual show will be a surprise.
The job of policing the morals and decorum of play scripts had been centered in the Lord Chamberlain’s office since 1737, but by the 20th century postwar period, a new generation of playwrights had had enough. Nick Smurthwaite looks at what theatremakers had to go through before 1968 and at the artists who campaigned to change it.
Despite its passionate fan base and access to Broadway’s high-wattage talent, “Theater Talk” has come to close. Its last show aired in July. Susan Haskins, the show’s host and executive producer and a co-creator, said the show ended after a change in leadership at CUNY TV, which broadcast the program, led to a dispute over editorial control.