Monday, June 11, 2007

Tony Toni Toné

Reviewing the Tonys for The Los Angeles Times, Robert Lloyd writes "Though the awards honor only a fraction of what makes up even New York theater, they nevertheless seem to stand for the art as a whole in a way that the Oscars, Grammys or Emmys don't — they represent a community rather than an industry."

As much as I can enjoy a Broadway show, it certainly doesn't "stand for the art." Many seem to forget that Broadway is not theater in New York, and theater in New York is not just Broadway. It would be a very depressing state of affairs if this was the case. Once in a while, Broadway delivers a unique jolt of electricity. But too often, it means art by committee, shrewd calculation, and obscene, naked greed—don't get me started on the subject of premium seats or the extra charges tacked on to ticket prices. And no, I don't pretend to know how to fix those problems. With the kind of large sums involved, producers play it safe—it's not surprising that the two big winners on Sunday evening were nurtured Off Broadway (Spring Awakening) and in England (The Coast of Utopia). Projects that initiate directly on Broadway tend to recoil from audacity like vampires facing the threat of garlic. If this stood for the art, American theater would be well and truly screwed.

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