Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Real Theatregoers of New York

A comment on the brilliant Time Out New York review of Wonderland...

The real theatergoers of New York will prove you Communist homosexual perverts who hate wholesome family entertainment wrong--AGAIN!

Now, I assume this person ("Anonymous - Unverified" - if that is their real name), means Broadway theatregoers, in which case, probably correct- most of them are tourists who've come for "culture" and expect to be as bored by theatre as they would be by a museum. The guy texting next to me at Wonderland clearly didn't speak English, there were people crackling bags of whatever food they brought in... The families who are desperate for something they can bring their children to, something they won't have to explain or talk to them about. People who can afford Broadway prices, but don't really care about the shows they see beyond the spectacle all that money can provide. These are the real theatregoers.

Charles Ludlam said in the 1980s:

What's wrong is that Broadway is not the pinnacle of achievement that it should be. It should be something that you long for, that you should want to be on. We all should want this, because it represents achievement and accomplishment and is a fair measure of our talents. Unfortunately, it is not that.

But there should be a wonderful place where you're crowned with laurels if you achieve something in art. That's not good enough in the commercial theatre. It has to be an idea you're sure you can sell, and sell a lot.

I've personally abandoned any hope or dream that a play of mine will actually be on Broadway one day. The "real theatregoers" can keep it.