Grabbed this off of BigCheap, an open letter from the CEO and President of Footlights, Peter Finlayson.
Footlights is the company that makes the high quality theatre programs you see around town. A very valuable service, in my opinion, that definitely adds a touch of class to the Los Angeles theatre experience. Peter is a staunch advocate of all things Los Angeles Theatre and always deserves a listen.
Here’s what he had to say:
An open letter to The Los Angeles Theatre Communiy:
Last night, The LADCC awards were held at the new facilities for A Noise Within. Rogue Machine, one of the intimate companies in town won enough recognition to essentially call their production, Small Engine Repair, the show of the year. Congratulations on their efforts and accomplishments.
What was really sad however, is how few of the members of The LA theatre community were present. It would seem that most of the people were there because either they were nominated, or were in a show that was nominated, or they were with someone that was nominated.
Folks, if we as a community don’t respect the work of our fellow thespians enough to attend the awards shows, how do we expect the public to take notice, let alone takeinterest. If we are a community, then we should celebrate the accomplishments of the community. If we are only interested in our own successes, than we are missing one of the best parts of theatre, and that is collaboration.
Amongst other awards, Ron Sossi of The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble received an award acknowledging his 43 years of commitment to theatre in LA. If you haven’t worked with Ron, and you weren’t there last night, you missed the opportunity to meet him. If you haven’t worked at the Odyssey, well, that speaks for itself.
Awards shows, be it the Oscars, or Tony’s, or Ovations, or LADCC, offer opportunity to celebrate the effort of artists, If we’re not willing to celebrate the accomplishments of others, why do we expect to be celebrated ourselves. If you weren’t there, and you know who you are, think about it. The Oscars are watched by millions of people, not because they care about the winners, but because it’s an opportunity to see all of the players together, that becomes news.
And folks, the reason nobody knows that we have one of the most dynamic accomplished theatre communities in the world, is because we as a community don’t take the time to show it.
If I’m reading the letter correctly, it seems that Peter is implying the main reason for the low turnout is a general selfishness on the part of the theatre community. A kind of, “I wasn’t nominated so I’m not going” response. I believe the reasons are far more practical and more about the LADCC than the Los Angeles Theatre Community.
These are my personal reasons for not attending; the $40 ticket price and the fact that the LADCC, in my opinion, simply doesn’t carry the weight that it once did. That’s it. I simply could not afford $40 for an award that I don’t have a lot of respect for, hell, I couldn’t afford that amount even if I DID have more respect for the particular award.
It’s also possible that the LADCC folks just didn’t do a very good job of reaching out to the community at large, including them, making it a community event, offering a compelling reason to attend. In my travels around the LA blogosphere this certainly was my experience with anything related to the awards. All I saw was a basic bland press release. This seems to be the consensus building over at BigCheap, where Artistic Directors of local theatre companies are saying they never even HEARD about the ceremony. This from the supposed “Los Angeles Theatre Critical body of note”? Pretty poorly.
Anybody else have a comment on Peter’s letter? It’s a fair question to raise. Why was the turnout so low at last night LADCC Awards Ceremony?
About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.