Mr. Walters,I would like a little time to consider my response to this thoughtful and fair comment. If the signature is any indication, and judging from the fact that I sent my original email to Jim O'Quinn, it seems that the staff of the magazine as a group were involved in addressing this question, which is very flattering and, to my mind, shows great willingness to be open to discussion.
Your concerns about expansive coverage for theatres across the country, regardless of urban proximity, are valid and something we struggle with in every issue. We work to balance a range of diversity over all our issues, including geographic, stylistic, racial, age and size of theatre, while still telling compelling and timely stories. Does it come out evenly in every single issue? Of course not. Does the ongoing reporting in American Theatre show an honest breadth of the work that exists? We hope so.
Still, breaking our national theatre community into reductive statistics is complicated. I doubt an accurate tape measure exists. So many stories reflect national issues and transcend so-called regions. Should we be ghettoizing our writers or training programs because they have a specific address, when their plays or students fan out across America and often internationally? In our April issue is an essay by Wallace Shawn on his writing process; he’s obviously a New York writer, but he reports that his favorite production of his work was done by Rubber Rep in Austin, Tex., whose productions are prominently featured in the issue. Is that a New York story? What about profiles of Julie Marie Myatt and Craig Wright, both playwrights based in Los Angeles, but who have had important productions in Ashland, Ore.; Louisville, Ky.; Houston, Tex.; Washington, D.C.; and Minneapolis, in addition to New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Our March issue features the text of a play by Tarell McCraney, who lives in New York, but whose play premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre and takes Louisiana as its setting. He’s interviewed by a Miami-based journalist. Our December cover features a community-oriented production in Arkansas.
That said, I do wonder which features you were counting and which you weren’t; my tabulations come out differently for the January and February issues.
We are eager to receive pitches and press releases from writers and theatres all over the country--from you or from anyone who might read your blog. The more theatres are in communication with us, the more we can look for the right ways and times to cover them.
Sarah Hart, Managing Editor, American Theatre
with the American Theatre staff
Let me clarify my method for delineating the articles, which I also must admit was done fairly quickly. If an article was written by a NY/LA/Chicago-based writer, it went into the Nylachi pile. This included articles by staff members. If the article was about a Nylachi-based artist, or seemed to be receiving attention because of a Nylachi production (regardless of the location of the premiere), that went in the Nylachi pile. As far as the News-in-Brief numbers, I used the datelines as the arbiter.
While I consider my response, if any of my readers would like to communicate with Ms. Hart, please feel free to use the comments box for this post.