Friday, March 16, 2007

A Matter Of Taste

A Matter Of Taste

The latest issue of Forbes includes its annual listing of "The Tastemakers" for "affecting the way we read, eat, listen and live."

Fortunately (no pun intended, of course), the publishers know their well-heeled demographic includes a higher number of theatre lovers per capita, so they've devoted one of their top ten lists to those individuals whom they deem as having had the most impact on Broadway.

While the selection process may seem a bit dubious -- they "chatted with producers and professors, critics and industry experts; studied media coverage; and looked to see who lined their bookshelves with the most awards" -- the results are certainly interesting:

Does it really matter that exactly 40% of the above list walked home with Tony Awards last year? Or that the producer (Marc Platt) behind last year's biggest and ever-expanding hit Wicked was excluded? Or that the playwright (Tom Stoppard) of the year's most talked about drama The Coast Of Utopia was nowhere to be found? Or that the producers (Barry and Fran Weissler) of the Chicago revival that celebrated its tenth anniversary weren't even provided an honorary mention? Of course not. It's Forbes' list and their editors can write it up anywhere they please.

To their credit, the Forbes editors were careful to note Broadway's banner year that attracted nearly 12 million theatregoers who collectively shelled out a total of $906 million. That's an average ticket price of $75.50.

But it's more than the Great White Way's big money that's attracted the magazine's attention. The writers of the "Tastemaker" list provide an appropriate nod to theatre's intrinsic and lasting allure: "[W]hatever the thrills of the small and big screens, there is a special magic and immediacy of live performance that continues to draws theatergoers to the hushed houses on Broadway." I can certainly live with that definition of taste.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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