19 January 2006

Good to have my opinion back by competent authority ... I guess

Kojo Nnamdi did an hour on the (professional) theater scene in Washington, DC and Linda Levy Grossman, Executive Director of the Helen Hayes Awards called in. She pointed out that the Helen Hayes organization (which is the DC professional theater awards program and known casually as the "Helens") tracks audience sales. From 1999 - 2004 the DC area filled approximately 2,000,000 theater seats per year. The numbers had started to fall in 2005 and are expected to continue to fall for 2006.

Potomac Stages announced that there would be about 500 productions in the 2005-2006 season in the DC area. WATCH is adjudicating 99 of those shows for their 26 member companies.

Which confirms my impression that the reason that so many theaters are complaining about trouble selling tickets is because there are more theater companies in the area than theater goers will support. There are also more companies in the area than there are staff (producers, stage managers, running crews, etc) to build and run their shows. Which is why I get a sinking feeling every time I hear about a new company starting up.

Want a glance at the theater companies in our area? Check out Potomac Stage's Master List.

Oy. I guess I'd better get busy and start drawing up the list of which theater companies should disband for the good of all.


Anonymous said...

Here is a start to your list. Most are here becuase they are vanity Compnays. Others becuase well they do crap. :-)

Saint Ormond

AccokeekCreek Theatreco

Black Box Theatre

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

Firebelly Productions

Fountainhead Theatre

Keegan Theatre

Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre

Natural Theatricals

Theatre For The Community

Vpstart Crow Productions

2nd Star Productions

American Music Stage

Anonymous said...

Of course, that doesn't include GG&SS ... which is school affiliated, so may not completely qualify for the list even though it is 1/2 community.

How does the one get on the Potomac Stage list? If GG&SS wanted to add its presence to the thundering hordes ...


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Guess my timing's off again. I'd hate to think my company might be classified as a "vanity" space, but still.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Too bad the time machine can't turn me back 20 years...

Anonymous said...

Mind you, there is a difference b/w Black Box Theatre, (http://www.floatingtheatre.org/), located in Indian Head, and OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company [remember to run the letters together] (http://www.outoftheblackbox.org/), located in a cloud of uncertainty centered on Bowie.

Maureen said...

I don't know about 2nd Star being a vanity company - they'd probably fit at least some people's definitions - but I wouldn't put 2nd Star on the list of companies we could do without. I've been to several of their productions lately and they generally do at least a good job, if not a very good one. Their 2004 mame won a Ruby Griffith and Dtheir Damn Yankees was the best community production of a musical I've ever seen. Period.

I don't mind a "vanity company" if they do good work. It's the ones that don't that deserve to fold. I can think of one, in particular, which I worked w/ once. That was enough.

Maureen said...

I wouldn't call Goddard's Music And Drama club (MAD) a community theater group, since you have to either work at Goddard, be a family member of a Goddard employee, or maybe manage to insinuate yourself into their good graces.

Anonymous said...

Opps. I am so sorry. I was thinking of 2nd Flight Productions in Manassas.


Anonymous said...

Hey Leta,
Lori here, I'd have to agree on the comment about the oversaturation of pro theatre in DC.
For the longest time actors & directors were saying how "great it was" with all these new facilities (RHT, Olney, Woolly, Studio, & down the road, Siganture, Arena, Stage Guild, Shakespeare Thtr), everybody will just get "bigger pieces of a bigger pie."
"Oversaturation? Never!"

Well 5 days a week I see many discount tix on the Ticketplace website. I belong to 1-2 listservs where we get notices of free & discount tix or PWYCs at least once a week, usually more.

If the saturation point has not been reached, then there'd be no use or point to having tix available at discount (except for seniors, students, the military & kids)
Tix would be in such a demand all over that they wouldn't have to offer them at discount.

As for that master list of DC theatres, some of them are very small & only do 1-3 shows a year in very small facilities (like DCAC, Theatre on the Run, Writer's Center, or the Warehouse on 7th St)

Out of curiosity, I saw a show last year done by the vanity group Fountainhead (founded by husband & wife from TX, they give themselves the best roles just about every show & sometimes direct it. Le Neon Theatre used to be this way too) at Theatre on the Run in Arlington. Fountainhead's show was subpar & all the reviews I read afterwards said the same thing. How many in the audience? About 15...

Anonymous said...

Keegan is the same as Fountainhead. I know season subscribers who quit going to Keegan's shows becuase the Artistic director is in everything. They got sick of watching him.


Anonymous said...

Oh God, get rid of some of these awful community theaters that scare people off from live theater. Chevy Chase Players, The Providence Players and Rockville Community Theater are particularly awful.