Chris Jones wrote this about a week or so ago and I’m just now getting around to responding to it. He says about a couple of theatres “there is no fall marquee show.” And “We are seeing some significant retrenchment among some Chicago theaters: fewer productions, smaller productions, more restagings." I don’t think I’m disagreeing with Chris – I think he’s just noticing the phenomenon, but I say Yippee. I also say Finally. I have many times wondered (sometimes aloud) why so many theatres stick to a model developed a long time ago for regional theatres. Why in the world would everyone open their seasons at the same time with their big blockbuster? I love that it creates so much buzz about theatre but it is very difficult to claim any space with so many blockbusters going on at the same time. Plus, sometimes, the critics can’t get to your show because there are so many opening at the same time.
I’m jumping for joy that ATC is touring Columbinus. It has long been my fervent wish that more Chicago theatres would tour their shows both here and abroad. It brings more recognition to Chicago, to the theatres themselves and I believe that a new business model can be developed around touring.
Re-mounting a show? – more whooping. A whole new generation of kids gets to see FROG AND TOAD. Awesome. Kids theatre is different. New audiences are coming along every year because kids get old enough to go. And, as a total aside, how come operas can remount shows all the time but not theatres?
And don’t get me started about chasing after subscribers. It takes so much time, energy and money to get a subscriber. I would much rather see those resources spent on developing a community around a theatres work. It sometimes feels like we aren’t in the business of creating theatre at all but we are making theatre in the service of this model that, in my opinion, is not going to work for a small company anymore. I think there is a place for subscribers but not for a small company in Chicago. Energy and resources are much better spent elsewhere.
Resources are scarce and we all need to find new ways to make it work and I applaud thinking that goes beyond we must do x number of shows and we must have subscribers and we must have a blockbuster Fall show and we can’t do a remount…why is that again? Yippee.