Monday, March 29, 2010
Charles McNulty, theater critic at the LA Times, wrote an article on Sunday about regional theaters in Southern California and how they've become too profit-driven and less focused on artistic innovation. Both The Old Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse are mentioned in the article.
McNulty actually cites the Cambridge Guide to Theatre when outlining the mission of regional theaters: "a focus on the art of the theater, the development of theatre artists, craftsmen and administrators dedicated to establishing a new American theatre, and the production of classical and innovative contemporary drama."
What are Southern California theaters producing, according to McNulty? An "orgy of mass-musical frivolity and star-struck casting in plays that seldom spring from the next generation of playwrights."
McNulty notes that many of the region's theaters are in a state of leadership transition and therefore poised to change course and innovate.
I'm curious to hear what readers want from our local theaters. Do you agree with McNulty's premise about what regional theaters should be doing? Or do you think that they should be doing whatever the audience wants - and if that's big splashy musicals, then so be it?
Are you looking for pure entertainment when you go to the theater? Do you want provocative theater? Do you want to see work by emerging playwrights? Do you want a balance of these things? Are San Diego theaters producing the kinds of shows you want to see?
Let me know what you think.