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Three on the Aisle: Great Actors Struggle. Audiences Pay a Bundle

On this podcast, the guest is Holly Twyford, a celebrated D.C. actor who talks about the challenges of making a living outside New York. Also: a critics’ discussion about what to do about runaway ticket prices.

Critics Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal; Elisabeth Vincentelli, contributor to The New York Times, Newsday, and the New Yorker; and Peter Marks of The Washington Post get together regularly on their “Three on the Aisle” podcast to address the major issues brewing in the nation’s theatres.

First, they interview Washington, D.C.-based actor Holly Twyford, who reveals the joys and hardships of committing to a stage career in an American theatre town other than New York. Twyford is an actress of estimable range: her acclaimed work in just the past year includes performances as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Ford’s Theatre, and Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music at Arlington, Va.’s Signature Theatre.  She explains how that even with a stack of choice roles and glowing reviews, she still cannot support her household on an actor’s salary. It’s an eternal conundrum, it seems, and according to Twyford, is a reflection of the low priority in this country given to ensuring artists a living wage.

On the other side of the curtain, there’s a different sort of evergreen problem—with the accent, again, on the green. That is the escalating prices for theatre tickets almost everywhere. And nowhere more than on Broadway, where front row seats for Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! go for $998 each and tickets for Springsteen on Broadway sell on the secondary market for thousands more than their top face value price of $850. Is this rising tide good for the theatre’s long-term health? Or are some measures required, by thoughtful producers, to diminish the impression that theatregoing is a pursuit chiefly for the elite? Marks, Teachout, and Vincentelli consider the complex factors and suggest some possible remedies.

Then, from their varying geographical beats, the three critics also talk about some of the work making an impact on the national theatre scene. You can find all this, and more, on Three on the Aisle.

Have comments or requests for what the critics should talk about? Email them at

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