Monday, April 11, 2011

Mondays are Dark

Another busy week behind - and ahead!  Here's your Monday reading list:

The NEA: An Investment, Not a Give-away.
Congress continues to work against the interests of Americans by chipping away at items that enrich our citizens in so many ways.  The Seattle Times starts its coverage with Kevin Spacey speaking out on the steps of Congress, but delves much deeper:
Robert Lynch, president of the lobbying group Americans for the Arts, said many new lawmakers in a rush to cut budgets fail to see the jobs and economic boost that arts organizations provide as small businesses. The $166 billion nonprofit arts sector includes 5.7 million jobs and generates nearly $30 billion in tax revenue, he said.
It's that $30 billion in revenue and those 5.7 million jobs that Congress is really killing.

Actor Tim Robbins weighs in on, making much the same point:
Economic impact studies have shown that for every dollar invested by our government in arts programs an average of  nine dollars of spending is generated in communities where these arts programs exist. The arts are an engine for economic growth.
Imagine that each dollar spent on the arts is like the grain of sand in an oyster; itself worthless, it accrues the wealth and beauty of a pearl around it. 

You can watch Kevin Spacey talk about it with Chris Matthews on

A Safer Spider Play
Florida Stage will wind up it season with The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider, by Carter W. Lewis - read about it in BroadwayWorld.  Hopefully, this one won't send cast members to the emergency room, like certain other plays with "spider" in the title.

Beth in Blithe
Beth Dimon steps into the role of Madame Arcati in the Gulfshore Playhouse production of Blithe Spirit, and The Naples News Stage Door has the story.  If you find yourself on the Gulf Coast, be sure to stop in.

Production Looms Large
The Miami Herald fills their story about the Playground Theatre's upcoming production of The Red Thread with every weaving metaphor it can.  And, so, apparently, does the show itself.

The Producer's Perspective says quit yer bitchin' and see more plays.

It's All About the Packaging
The Minnesota Playlist talks about how to lure college students in to see plays
Collegev students are busy, and they think about that fact often. In order for them to voluntarily chisel a play into their iceberg-ian schedules, the process must simplify, not complicate, their lives.
Nobody Minded Tin Pan Alley
South Florida Theater Review discusses the realities of theaters that use canned music.  (Be sure to check out the comments below the article).

Witch Switch
BroadwayWorld reports that a new Glinda is going into the national tour of Wicked, currently playing at the Broward Center.

Come Tumblin' Down
The Miami Herald talks about local theatre productions that reach through - or knock down entirely - the "fourth wall," the invisible barrier between the audience and the actors.

Down for the Count
Buzzfeed has photos of 75 theatres from around the country that have been abandoned.  South Florida's empty theatres are not in the collection - but they could be.

... The Coconut Grove Grapevine reports that the Coconut Grove Playhouse is still closed., despite a Miami Herald story saying things are moving along.
They say that the County Commission has come up with a recovery play, but as far as we know, the current board is still not budging.
It's not so much that they aren't budging, but more a matter of they are failing to pay of the massive debt they ran up.

A story in  Miami Today sums up the problem:
To save the cash-strapped theater and strengthen the arts, former County Manager George Burgess had recommended dissolving the theater's board and handing ownership to the county.
Of course, there's a catch:
But before the property's ownership can transfer, playhouse officials must resolve all outstanding debt.
Which really means that the members sitting on the board at the time of its closing must cough up the dough, because it's impossible to raise money simply to pay off old debt.  They should have been on top of the debt situation all along, and they weren't.

Then the Grapevine goes on to reveal its dismal understanding of the world of theatre:
Larry (ed. - we don't know who they mean, either) needs a lesson in artistic credibility. The Coconut Grove Playouse name is known world-wide and has been a real name for 50 years, the GableStage has been around for about 13 years. Not many people know of it. Just the mere announcment of the Coconut Grove Playhouse reopening would be world-wide news, using GableStage as a come-on is not needed.
Grapevine, here's the facts: nobody is going to give money to the Coconut Grove Playhouse because they used to do good plays thirty years ago, especially in light of how badly managed it's been.  Theatre is not about a performance space: it's about the people who put the plays in them.  If all you have is the Playhouse name for fund-raising, you've got nothing.  You need an artistic director with an exciting vision that will entice support. 

GableStage has an artistic director who has taken an obscure and ragged and indebted company and taken it to national prominence, winning more awards in than span than the Grove ever did.

If the Grove does not have an artistic director of at least equal stature, putting any effort into it is a complete waste of time an money - because it will fail.

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