Saturday, August 20, 2005

Outlook for 2005-06

Bobo's not the only one who's noticed the irony. Interplayers has been around for 25 years; the Civic, for nearly 60. And yet, starting just its second year, Michael Weaver and Grant Smith’s ARt seems just about the most stable theater in town.

Interplayers’ season started with a couple of turkeys -- Painting Churches and Dracula -- and, with the possible exception of True West and Othello, never really recovered to the level of previous seasons. Meanwhile, with Dirty Blonde and The Drawer Boy, Actor's Rep had the two best productions of last season.

As for CenterStage -- we're all happy that it has survived its financial crisis, but let's face it ... the place nearly closed down entirely. Nunsense II will revive its fortunes.

At the Civic, dependable warhorse musicals (My Fair Lady at the start of the season, The Music Man at the end) will pack houses and bring in money.

But Weaver's mantra -- that Spokane audiences want three playwrights above all others (A.R. Gurney, Alan Ayckbourn, G.B. Shaw) is not only warranted by his 17 years' experience at Interplayers, it's also borne out by three of his five play choices for this coming season.

But hope springs eternal during spring training -- which, for theaters, arrives right around this time of year. The Civic has its management team in place, Nike Imoru (having collected a year's valuable experience) is trying new and exciting things, and new life has been breathed into CenterStage. And ARt has the added pressure of trying to maintain its momentum.

All that talk of Spokane not being able to support more theaters after years of Interplayers/Civic dominance seems faulty now.


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