It’s been brought to my attention that this post seems to have rubbed some folks the wrong way, which was never my intent. Because this is a personal blog where one of the very reasons it exists is for me to be open and honest about how things work on the inside, I may have been flip with a few of my comments. They were not pointed at a particular person or group, and if anyone was offended or felt attacked by them I apologize.
As I said, there was hub-bub regarding the fact that both Jobsite and American Stage would be performing All the Great Books (abridged) not only in the same season, but a mere few months apart from one another.
I’m going to stick it out here and acknowledge the fact that people in our industry like to gossip and talk trash. The gossip/trash I also believe changes dependent on who is around at the time. I hear more than I ever lead on to, and more often than not I ignore what I hear. The absurd thing is how much people talk without thinking that the person they’re telling won’t pass it on to someone else and include the source while they’re at it.
This talk comes from individuals – not organizations – but everyone knows everyone in these parts, so fires spread quickly from ship to ship. When I posted that blog I was trying to help clear the air by stating the facts before anything got out of control.
I wanted to let folks know we did in fact know about the situation. We also wanted to make sure that people knew it wouldn’t be us out there performing Books at AS, and we also wanted to make sure that people knew we would be doing it later in the season. That’s just protecting our reputation and our product. We’ve had confusion before.
I took great care to point out that the fault was on the publishers, who issued two contracts for the show. I recognized we don’t own the material or the right to produce it, how the publishers have a responsibility to the writers they represent to make them the most money possible, I faulted myself at how angry I got at the situation and how I flew off the handle. The reason? As I’ve noted, by the time our production of Books goes up we will have been working on the (abridged) shows for six years. We’ll be pushing 10,000 audience members served and the productions themselves couldn’t be more decorated or successful. We are exceedingly proud of what we do with them. I can’t apologize about that, we’ve invested a lot there.
The shows are such sure-things for us in large part due to how inexpensive they are to produce, but also in part to the reputation we’ve developed with our work on them. They help fund the rest of any season they’re on. We rely on that in terms of our budget. November’s weekend of Shakespeare (abridged) alone has provided a safety net that will last all season and will also allow us to purchase an LCD projector that will be vital to several upcoming shows. So did we feel like a toe had been stepped on? Of course. We don’t yet have what we need in regards to corporate or individual support, so the worst way to hit us is at the box office. This was not just a situation of us getting mad because another company got a premiere of a show we wanted.
Let me be clear: no one at Jobsite wants a combative or unfriendly relationship with any of our brother or sister companies. We’re still very much a “little fish” when you look at the budget and the almost 30-year history that a company like AS is operating with. We won’t make excuses though, we feel we produce at a very high level and put together what we feel is the strongest season we possibly can.
We’ve always had good relations with folks over there – at a certain point we even shared a few staff members. A big credit to AS: they didn’t have to allow us to announce the show on our season or even sell tickets to our subscribers until their production closed since they were granted the premiere due to their higher gross potential. They are even loaning us the extensive collection of fake books needed for the show, which was an incredibly generous offer. That’s important to note – there’s no battle here. None. We’re very thankful of the support and the courtesy shown us, and we hope we can extend the same back to them.
As companies with common goals and the same critical needs in what I still consider to be a developing market for theater – we all need to work together if we want to survive and make this area a better place for all of us to work. I’ve said that over and over again in regards to every other theater company in the region. We borrow from one another. We complement one another. We challenge one another. We share, and yes – we compete. We can do all of those things and still remain civil and professional. We can embrace one another as colleagues while maintaining pride and confidence in our respective company’s work.
We’re all hoping to avoid a situation like this again as representatives of the region’s professional theaters attempt to meet every few months to share, discuss ideas and challenges, and go over potential programming well in advance.
So here’s to all of us working together better and towards the common good in the coming year and beyond. We’ll all benefit from that.
Happy New Year, everybody. I can’t imagine I’ll have a reason (or the time) to post til 2007.