Friday, May 15, 2009

A Final Thought on the NEA Chair

One more thought: having someone serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts whose name is Rocco is worth its weight in gold.
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Theatre As Baseball

Travis Bedard hits one out of the park with his latest post "Is This heaven? No, It's Iowa." Give it a read.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fingers Crossed

This gathering of sixty artist-activists from around the country recently at the White House, perhaps timed to coincide with the nomination of Rocco Landesman as Chair of the NEA, is an excellent sign that the Obama Administration understands the role the arts could play in our nation. I am pleased to see Dudley Cocke (Roadside Theatre / Appalshop) and Linda Frye Burnham (Community Arts Network among the gathering. Read about it at in the article "Forget Tech for a Sec, How Will the Arts Help the Obama Administration?"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rocco Landesman as NEA Chair

Apparently, theatre producer Rocco Landesman has been nominated as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an interesting choice, and one that I have mixed feelings about.. I remember reading Act Two: Creating Partnerships and Setting Agendas for the Future of the American Theatre, and he seemed to be one of the few voices who saw the increasingly snuggly relationship between the regional theatres and Broadway as disturbing. Isaac notes a similar orientation when he was on a post-How Theatre Failed America panel and Landesman said ""I realized when we were doing Caroline or Change on Broadway as a commercial production and a non-profit was doing Barefoot in the Park that something was deeply wrong." I have a sense that Landesman has a clear and strong opinion of how the regional, non-profit theatre ought to be different than a commercial production. Furthermore, many of the plays he has brought to Broadway have been excellent, including the aforementioned Kushner musical and Angels in America.

My uneasiness, perhaps predictably, is with his seeming NY-centricity. It is my sincere hope that Dana Gaoia's support for geographical diversity for the arts will continue to be championed by Landesman. If the NEA is going to receive the funding it deserves, it will have to reach out to all of the states and districts in this nation, and not only those in the Northeast and in the urban areas. I also hope that Landesman will use his bully pulpit to lead both the public and the arts themselves. I hope he will speak and write extensively, and provide a sense of direction for the arts in the country.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Congratulations to Dennis Baker!

From Dennis Bakers' Facebook page: "

Caroline Grace Baker. Born 6:32am, 5lbs 1oz. Mom and Baby are going well. Caroline is breathing on her own, but hanging out in the NICU for fun."

Welcome, Carolina, and congratulations Dennis and Karen!

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Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

Every once in a while, I think I'll post a link or two to posts written earlier in the life of Theatre Ideas that seem worth revisiting ...