Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Media-Theater Madness

Got home a little bit ago from the Community Dish meeting. Not sure whether I did any good or not. I must either look like some sort of cockeyed idealist or some sort of brilliant rabble-rousing theoretician. Either way, I was alarmed that the conversation veered away from my central point so much -- that if OOB is so concerned about the depth of press coverage, it must act in a proactive way to effect change. One person actually said she feels OOB doesn't have trouble getting press, which frankly shocked me. Whatever.

Anyway, coming home I read Mark Adams' piece in New York on the upcoming revival of Grease. This is a classic case of snark masquerading as journalism -- and putting a bad face on the theater, which is already besmeared with the reality-TV nonsense behind this show in the first place. (To those of you who would now attack me for prejudging the show, drop dead.)

Anyway, here's the story. And here is the paragraph that just made me want to wretch, concerning something Kathleen Marshall, who is directing the revival and appeared on the reality TV program that found Max Crumm and Laura Osnes, did:

Marshall rushes to her stars’ defense when the question of their validity to play these roles is raised. “When people say, ‘Won’t this reality show take away from actors who’ve paid their dues?,’ I’m like, they’re 21, how many dues are you supposed to pay to play a high-school student?” she says. At the same time, she was clear at lunch that for them to soar, she was going to have to push them out of the nest. Soon. “Once we open, I go away, and you guys have the hard part,” she told them. “You don’t just have the responsibility to deliver from 8 to 10:30. You have the responsibility of leading the company.”
Stupid, reductive apologist for having degraded the American theater. I mean, "I'm like, they're 21, how many dues are you supposed to pay to play a high-school student"? Doesn't she realize there are plenty of 21-year-olds that have paid their dues -- who, by dint of sweat and training and skill and networking, are far more qualified to play the leads in Grease than a few media whore kids? I'm siding with the casting directors on this one.

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