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May 02, 2007


Joshua James

Great frigging post, David.

I'd like to try and engage you in discussion, but damn it, I seem to agree with almost everything you say, so other than to cheer, what can I do?

Well . . . I could say that you are too easy on LEGALLY BLONDE . . . but I haven't seen it, nor could you pay me to.

So there is that.


Great preview piece -- but I think you overlooked something important. All the talented playwrights you name who aren't getting picked up have something else in common: They are women. Look at the numbers. Way more men get produced in the bigger theaters than women -- the numbers have hardly changed in 25 years -- even though the women are just as good (or have just as right to be fledging or mediocre as so many men who get produced.)


2 bucks says Will Chase plays Peter Parker for the Spiderman Musical.


Melissa James Gibson, mentioned in your article, has finally received a Boston Premiere of her play (sic). The play is getting universal critical praise in the press here, as is Will Eno's The Flu Season.

With regards to your article, and similar things I have read lately, I have a question: What evidence do we have that these plays and playwrights will bring in a younger demographic?

I guess I am saying that while I agree that larger regionals should be producing more of this work, I am little hesitant to argue that they should do it because will bring in the next generation.

Tim Errickson

Great post, David. I take some umbrage with Fowler's article, as many new playwrights male and female are being produced in New York City all the time, to artistic (and occasionally, critical) success. We know how to develop playwrights in the Off-Off/Indie theatre. Just because Fowler doesn't look there (nor it seems does OBway or Bway) doesn't mean we aren't doing it, and doing it well.


I saw God's Ear last night and can confirm David's props for Ms. Schwartz. The images and ideas are still rolling past my inner eye. I find it really hard to take on such tragic subject matter, but Jenny found a way to do it without making me want to step backward in my seat.

I laughed, but it wasn't a comedy; and although the source material of her dialogue wouldn't be my choice, her use of rhythm, repetition, irony and wit kept my head in the game. The emotional range of the leading characters is confined (in that currently trendy indie way - thank you Mr. Foreman) to a point of thinking they might explode, so I'd definitely rather play one of the fun supporting roles.

All that is to say, God's Ear is not a pulitzer winner (thank god); but, while the Roundabout does what they have to do to keep their cruiseship afloat, I stand by my comment to an earlier post on this blog that New Georges is one schooner on my list from where the future prize-winners will sail away. ahoy!

Joshua James


I looked there, I lived there, so trust me when I say, Off-Off-slash-Indie ISN'T doing it well, the majority of the time.

Robin Rothstein

"What we lack is a culture of new-play promotion and appreciation. No one seems to know how to nurture and produce new playwrights, or find an audience to care about their plays."

The Summer Play Festival helmed by Arielle Tepper seems to be striving to create an arena where new American plays receive worthy productions that are well-publicized and financially accessible to just about everyone. It seems to me that if this, or a similar paradigm, were to be expanded upon that new American plays might have a better chance of one day becoming a more visible and indispensable part of our culture. Am I wrong?


Robin: good point. SPF, Soho Rep's reading series and various other programs around the city do offer a chance for playwrights to develop works. What I think these outfits lack is a direct connection to the major producing houses and a will at those houses to cherry pick the best, even if unknown work.

Jason Grote

Thanks for the shout-out to Soho Rep, David; we like Jenny there too.

Mac Wellman is find of saying that America doesn't know how to build institutions, and he's got a point - maybe smaller theaters like Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, PS122, P73, and New Georges are filling the role that Off-Broadway used to but probably can't anymore, due as much to astronomical real estate prices as anything else. Still, there are some bright spots; Playwrights' Horizons has a great upcoming season, and regional theater continues to be underrated, except when the Ish ventures out to trash the Humana Festival or a Les Waters project at Berkeley Rep.

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