By Tim Smith
As in "The Great White Way," and "Along The Street Of Dreams," both names for Broadway and its environs and another yearly anniversary celebration.
Returning to the summer of 1968, actually it was on Saturday, August 24th at 2 p.m, when I sat down next to a dear friend in seats D-106 and D-108 at the Biltmore Theatre for a performance of the original production of “HAIR,” my first Broadway musical, and the beginning of a lifetime commitment to the art form.
It was also the start of an ongoing friendship with a man of the Broadway community who began as our host/guide during our stay in New York and today, we share an active email correspondence. I'm smiling as I enter this as he occasionally forwards me items from the Arts And Leisure's section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times.
Some things never change, and that has been a blessing for the past 51 years. Happy golden, plus one anniversary Otis.
Another smile comes across my face as I look at a picture that I took of Otis and Peter, my “HAIR” seat mate, as they are nearing the box-office of the theatre. Peter's face indicates that even then, he knew that I was a 'saver,' and yes, our ticket stubs are in a frame next to the aforementioned photo. Hey, its just who I am.
Part Two of comments from Teresa Eyring, the executive director and chief executive officer of Theatre Communications Group in her recent American Theatre Magazine column. In review, last week she shared thoughts and stats on the 'state of the union's' live theatre impact in 2018. She continues:
"While the bulk of growth in Broadway attendance may well be attributed to a fraction of all productions running, the more-or-less steady attendance in the resident theatre field represents a mix of theatres where attendance increased, temporarily declined, or simply stayed flat. Indeed a pressing topic in the resident theatre community this year has been audience unpredictability. Productions that once would have been surefire hits are often selling poorly. One leader described audiences as increasingly fickle; another noted the first subscription decline in years – with no obvious reason."
Ms. Eyring adds: "Shows that receive great reviews and word of mouth are struggling to sell. A number of possible causes have been raised by leaders facing these trends. They are: 1]. The rise of on-demand streaming content, 2]. The decline of arts coverage in the mainstream press, 3]. The Hamilton effect, 4]. Recession fear, and 5]. The Zeitgeist."
Next week: Reflecting on the first of those five trends from TCG, in a capsulized way, and the first part of a salute to Harold Prince.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Picasso.
Celebrating important creative milestones, in our towns. Play, ahead!
Welcoming you into the room and provoking conversation, and thank you, Mr. Prince, since '06.
See you in the paper.
t A s