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Tuesday Morning Roundup


by Stephen Becker 16 Dec 2008

THE STATE OF THEATER: The National Endowment for the Arts released a major report Monday on the state of American theaters, just in time for it to be largely irrelevant. The survey of 2,000 theaters compiles data from 1990 to 2005 that “indicates broad growth and generally positive fiscal health” for nonprofit theaters. That’s likely […]

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THE STATE OF THEATER: The National Endowment for the Arts released a major report Monday on the state of American theaters, just in time for it to be largely irrelevant. The survey of 2,000 theaters compiles data from 1990 to 2005 that “indicates broad growth and generally positive fiscal health” for nonprofit theaters.

That’s likely not the case with many nonprofit theaters these days given the current climate, something the report anticipated in saying that the theaters show “vulnerability during economic downturns.”

There is some data in there that speaks to audience trends. In summary: they like musicals more than plays. In 2005, 37 million people attended musical theater, up from 32 million in 1992. That trend heads the opposite direction for plays, as 21 million people saw one in 2005 – 4 million fewer than 1992.

Despite the upward trend for musicals, many of Broadway’s most successful shows are closing early, according to The New York Times. And producers are having difficulties securing funds for new shows.

You can read more about the NEA report here and here.

AN INTERNET STAR IS BORN: After the requisite daily dose of doom and gloom, how about a little pick-me-up? For those of you who have visited the Art&Seek Flickr page and considered entering our Flickr Photo of the Week contest, I have proof that Flickr can lead to stardom for budding photographers.

Chrissie White is a 15-year-old photographer living in Seattle who receives hundreds of comments on every new image she posts. And deservingly so – her highly conceptualized narrative photos are attention-grabbers. Seattlepi.com picked up on her growing stardom and says that she’s already selling 8X8 inch prints for $40. Who knows – one day you might enjoy bragging to a friend that you picked up “an early Chrissie White” for 40 bucks?

The takeaway here is: keep those photos coming for our weekly contest. Maybe we’ll help make a star out of you, too.

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  • And whatever good news the NEA had for theaters, it also had bad news. In another report, it found that interest in stage dramas (as opposed to musicals) is declining. And the figures had nothing to do with ticket prices (otherwise, the decline probably would include musicals).

  • Theater like most of the other arts needs a healthy dose of democratization !
    When theater is available like a megaplex film theater, then it will revitalize.
    What we need is theater for $10 that is as easily accessible as film theaters.
    Maybe even sharing the same building complex.
    Musicals are safe entertainment for kids. We need theater that is more than Disneyfied fodder.
    New century, new arts!