I first started reading American Theatre in the early 1990s, not too long after its founding in 1984, and began freelancing for the magazine from my home on the West Coast not long after. Like so many theatre workers and fans I’ve met and spoken to over the years, I clung to American Theatre as a news source and a lifeline, my connection to a U.S. and global theatre scene which was ephemeral and far-flung, as theatre is by nature, but which, by being lifted up and held together in the pages of American Theatre, was seen to exist and to matter. It has been the magazine of record for the countless shows and artists and movements that didn’t make it into The New York Times, let alone to New York at all. The introduction of our full-time website, AmericanTheatre.org, in 2014 has allowed us to expand our coverage and sharpen our responsiveness to a quickly changing field, and to give an even more panoramic reflection of the American theatre’s sprawl and multiplicity.
Now comes another dramatic change—one we couldn’t have foreseen even a few months ago. For the first time in its 36-year history, we at American Theatre have made the difficult decision to forgo printing and mailing hard-copy issues of the magazine for the next six months, or the remainder of 2020. Like everyone in our field and our world, we have been hit hard by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. But also like many in our field whose work inspires us and our coverage, we are already busy finding other ways to continue to connect and inform you about the art form and field we all love. Over the next six months we will continue to publish special online issues on themes and trends (like our recent one on costume design), as well as reporting the news, keeping up with interesting artists, gleaning important analysis from theatre leaders and observers, and giving a platform to a multitude of voices, particularly at this time of necessary upheaval and reexamination. Our popular podcasts, Three on the Aisle and the Subtext, will continue to debate the issues of the day and profile fascinating writers, respectively. If you don’t receive our popular AT Weekly newsletter, you should rectify that right now (go here and look to the top left). And please stay tuned for live virtual events hosted by AT staff, as well as dynamic listings of virtual online offerings from theatre companies throughout the U.S.
Apart from staying tuned, there’s another role you can play: To make sure we are there for you throughout and at the other side of this crisis, we need to ask you to be there for us. If you’re not already a member of TCG, our publisher, please consider becoming one now. And if you already are a member, please consider a tax-deductible donation. Your dollars not only make our essential journalism possible, but as a member of TCG, you will be supporting the organization that connects and advocates for a more just and thriving nonprofit U.S. theatre field. TCG members also have full access to the job listings service ArtSearch and deep discounts on new plays published by TCG Books.
I often say that American Theatre is only as good the people it covers, and that’s never been more true. Please join us in our mission to keep the dream of theatre alive until it can return as a reality on our stages. Till then, let this screen be your ghost light.