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I was chatting with a long time friend, I try not to call actors “old” friends, about different types of theaters.

She wanted to make a distinction between commercial theater and nonprofit theater.

I think it is a very good distinction to make.

If you haven’t heard, the most expensive production in the history of Broadway is currently in previews and will probably open next month, maybe. Previews means that there is an audience but the show isn’t officially ready.

Spiderman Turn off the Dark is reportedly costing $65 million. The music is by U2’s Bono and Edge. The director is Julie Taymor. Taymor won a Tony for her direction of The Lion King musical.

Just this week, Spiderman took over as highest grossing play on Broadway.

Most of the reviews have been about actors being injured. There have been a few that talk about the story but they’ve all expressed confusion.

MTV.com lists the top five things they liked about Spiderman. 1. Set Design. 2. The Costumes. 3. The Aerial Work. 4. It’s Family Friendly. 5. Splash Page—the opening musical number.

MTV.com also listed the top five things they hated. Here are the top three. 1. The Story. 2. The Acting. 3. The Music.

Spiderman is a product of commercial theater.

On Broadway, right now, the top grossing show is one where the worst things about it are the story, the acting, and the music.

What about nonprofit theaters?

Here are the mission statements from a few local companies.

Moxie Theater: “MOXIE's mission is to create more diverse and honest images of women for our culture using the art of theatre. Through the production of primarily female playwrights and the special attention given to plays which defy the stereotypes of what women are writing about, MOXIE expands the idea of what is feminine. Our dedication to finding work that is under produced means we're discovering the classics of the future.”

North Coast Repertory Theater: “North Coast Rep's mission is to create a platform where artist and audience thrive through the intimacy of live theatre, recognizing the power of theatre to challenge complacency, revitalize the imagination, nurture the unexpected and embrace the variety and diversity in our lives.”

Mo ‘olelo: “Mo 'olelo Performing Arts Company's mission is to create, produce, and educate. Through all three aspects, we seek to broaden the scope of San Diego's cultural environment by offering professional, socially-conscious theater that provides a voice for diverse and underrepresented populations, aesthetics, and issues on stage; generates participation and dialogue between local communities; and creates paid employment for local theater artists. Our commitment to paying artists union-level wages reflects our strong belief that professional, resident artists will make San Diego a nationally-competitive destination arts scene, thus improving the quality of life for all people of San Diego County. Mo 'olelo serves the diverse general public, from youth to seniors, with particular focus toward providing a forum for those who are typically underserved in mainstream American theater. Mo 'olelo means story in Hawaiian, and is a reflection of our vision to present powerful stories that are as diverse as the Islands of Hawaii.”

I don’t have anything to add.

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nan shartel Jan. 11, 2011 @ 12:50 p.m.

Spiderman has it's web falling down way 2 often

i guess the audience are the type who go to demolition derbies and other high risk events to see the blood and carnage

even the Lion King was mostly popular because of the spectacular staging events

would it have stood on it's own otherwise

i'm not knocking it tho...just using it as an example of commercial theatre


Homer Hesse Jan. 11, 2011 @ 1:13 p.m.

I agree about Lion King. I was tempted to take a shot at it in the post but decided not to. I was bored to tears while watching it.

I had just seen South Pacific in L.A. and was blown away. The direction was fantastic. Emile and Nellie actually fell in love instead of just singing about it and Cable acted with the authority of a Marine Corps officer who'd just come from combat in Guadalcanal ala the Mitchner book. For once they played it as a show with literal life and death choices to be made.

Then I saw the Lion King and just wanted to puke.


nan shartel Jan. 11, 2011 @ 1:44 p.m.

SP in LA sounds great...but in future a barf bag may be de rigour when going to he theatre....LOL....

who acted in the LA production???

i find unknowns or newbies work harder at it when it comes to off Broadway Productions

we need an off Broadway critic here to steer the public in the right direction...going to these events cost BIG bucks...that could really make u puke!!!


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