That, in my opinion, is what the Denver theatre scene could really use.
I have been mulling over John Moore's recent article about the strengths and weaknesses of Colorado theatre, and I must say that he echoes many of the sentiments that have kept me away from my blog here. That is largely because, well, I don't think I would have put things as nicely as he has. If you've not read the article yet, I highly encourage you to do so. John has a good deal more access to facts and figures than I would have. If I could add anything to the article, it would be to point out that, in addition to seasons becoming "progressively more banal" (to use John's well-chosen words) I believe that there is a lot of "copycatting" in that banality.
Can we not rest until every theatre company in the area has mounted their very own production of Escanaba in da Moonlight?
I do also agree with much of John's praise of this theatre community, though, as he pointed out the many strengths of theatre in our state. The support for theatre is here. The talent is here. However, 97 companies in the state all mounting at least one production in a given season leads to:
1) a lot of repetition
2) unnecessary competition for audience
3) a "thinning" of the available talent pool at any given time
Last year I saw somewhere in the neighborhood of seventy plays or musicals -- that's more than one per week on average -- and I barely saw a quarter of what was produced in town, if that.
The less ambitious theatre-goer won't be able to see anywhere near that many.
The 97 producing theatre companies in Colorado need to, I believe, take a long hard look at just why they exist.
As with non-profits (which a great majority of theatre companies are) the question should be asked, "Are we filling a need that is not already being filled?"
Yes, every baritone wants a crack at playing the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and every ingenue wants to play Belle, but after how many separate productions do we acknowledge that it is now merely a vanity production. Now, I'm not pointing the finger at any particular productions of that show that have been or are about to be produced. I'm simply using it as an example. At the same time, for the intensely curious, it might be interesting to count just how many productions of that particular show have been (and will be produced) inside of five years and inside of 100 miles of the Front Range.
Just a thought.
And speaking of a shot in the arm, check out this trailer for Performance Now's upcoming production of Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical: