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Letters to the Editor (April 2013)

Readers wrote in to quibble with or praise our stories about entrepreneurship, nudity, and selling tickets.

Kick the Can
I’m disappointed in your January ’13 cover, which depicts (in the form of Warhol-like cans) nine collaborators who participate in delivering the theatrical performance. You left out the producer.

American Theatre January '13 Cover.
American Theatre January ’13 Cover.

I am not surprised, because you’ve only confirmed what I’ve discovered in my limited experience as a producer: It’s a role that’s underrated and frequently under-appreciated. The theatrical community should be reminded: The show doesn’t happen until a producer writes a check.

Edmund S. Burke

Chapel Hill, N.C.

 

Necessities First
I was very intrigued in your coverage of “The Artist as Entrepreneur” (Jan. ’13) by the emphasis on entrepreneurship in various fine arts departments and arts management programs throughout the country. However, I noticed that there was no mention of the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management program (AEMM) at Columbia College in Chicago. As one of the first cross-disciplinary stand-alone arts management programs in the U.S. (established in 1976), AEMM considers entrepreneurship a foundational necessity to students as they begin and continue their journey as artists and arts managers.

Unlike most of the programs mentioned in the article—most of which seem to be offering courses and programs solely as a reaction to the current economic landscape—AEMM has the experience of having taught entrepreneurship for almost two decades. The AEMM program offers comprehensive preparation for managerial and entrepreneurial careers in the key industry segments: live entertainment and the performing arts, music business, visual arts, traditional and new media, as well as professional and collegiate sports. All AEMM faculty are actively engaged professionally in the subjects they teach. The AEMM program is the largest arts management program in the U.S., and continues to provide students with the skills necessary to be leaders in the arts and creative industries.

Thank you for bringing attention to this critical and timely topic.

Philippe Ravanas, chair

Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Department

Columbia College

Chicago

Nude Again
Thanks for Ken Kaissar’s great article “Baring It All” (Jan. ’13). Of course you can’t mention every play that involves nudity, but Jodie’s Body, written and performed by Aviva Jane Carlin, really should not be missed. She tells her life as an artist’s model and so much more, and is nude for the performance. My friend David Greenwood, when he saw it in a very small venue, felt uncomfortable until he realized, as he put it, “Oh, that’s her costume!”

As an actress who has had to decide if and when to use nudity in performance, I can vouch for the fact that you captured the variety of reactions very well.

Margaret A. Flanagan

New York City

Toughness and Tickets
Naomi Wallace’s “Let the Right One In” (Jan. ’13) is an absolutely brilliant, inspirational and compelling article. The challenge, as always, of course, is how to write thought-provoking plays in such a way that they also (as Ms. Wallace states) “entertain,” plays that can still sell tickets. Otherwise, we have provocative, challenging plays for which there may well be only sparse audiences, and few producers willing to take the risks to produce them, except perhaps in “the” major cities. I would hate to think that the impassioned and important ideas of our more political and social-activist playwrights are destined to be conveyed only as dramatic literature. How do we awaken audiences in this country to actually desire to see (and buy tickets to) potentially controversial yet meaningful activist works?

William Grivna

St. Louis, Mo.

Whale of a Play
When I got my February issue of American Theatre, I skipped right to the interview with Samuel D. Hunter and his play, The Whale. When I finished reading it, I had my own sharp intake of breath at the end, and my skin went cold. Incredible! Thank you for printing these amazing new plays.

Amy Hillgren Peterson

Fostoria, Iowa

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