Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To expound upon a recent, surprisingly common debate

So lately I really really feel like I'm starting to hate Broadway. Like, hate everything about it and don't want to go near it. And I don't think I'm alone in this.

And yet, how can it be avoided? New York is slowly exerting a very powerful pull on me when I try to think seriously about post-graduate plans - it's just one of THOSE places for someone looking to go into theatre. So much going on, so many options. And once you're there you want to shoot for the top, right? And what's higher than Broadway? I have a lot of anxieties about the conflict between artistic integrity regardless of finances and the necessity of living expenses (and I'm REALLY bad at living frugally) looming its head in my near future. Broadway is a business. Some people get lucky I guess but they still have to cater to what's ultimately going to make them money.

The thing is, this thing sort of stretches to all theatre when you think about it - well, almost all. But there's a difference, say, between Arena Stage or Woolly Mammoth and the folks who brought The Little Mermaid to the stage. (Don't get me wrong, I loved that flick as a kid, but ... really???)

Anyway, I didn't even mean to go on for this long - I really wanted to open this one up to general discussion, because I'd love to hear anybody else's thoughts on this conundrum.

1 comment:

  1. Lately, I've been hearing a lot of people saying "I hate Broadway." And everyone always has valid reasons for doing so. Such as the ones you bring up here. For a community that is considered the pinnacle of theater, a lot of really strong theater is not put up- and usually it doesn't last. The fact that "The Norman Conquests" has closed after a fairly short run, but "Cats" was at one point the longest running show in history is sad and frightening.

    But, I still champion Broadway and try to defend it. Not that I don't see issues like this as a concern, but because I think that Broadway still does more good than it does harm. This is because Broadway is the only live theater community that is known worldwide. Without Broadway, live theater would be threatened to completely disappear in the puiblic consciousness. The fact that the Tonys are still Broadcast is a testament to this.

    Even people who know nothing about theater often want to see a Broadway show if they are in New York. Were they to go to London, I doubt the excitement would be as present concerning going to West End. Broadway is keeping theater alive in any circle outside of us "artsy" types, and that is a benefit that I don't think anyone can overlook.