Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Guess Who Was an International Theater Authority?

In June 2008, the second year of this blog, I wrote a post about Chicago theater based on a performance I had attended the night before, and on an article that day in the Chicago Tribune.

As it happened, the artistic director of the theater company that put on that performance was searching for such things, discovered my post, and quoted, favorably, part of what I wrote in his blog. The weird part is, he discovered it on the web site of The Guardian, a British newspaper. It was a link in the Theater Blog of Chris Wilkinson that used me as a source for the claim that Chicago has eclipsed New York as America's primary city for legitimate theater.

For the record, I am in no way an authority on international theater, Chicago theater, or any other theater. I enjoy live theater and live in a great place for it, so occasionally I am moved to write something.

About all I can say to support my claim about Chicago is that it was said to me by Allan Havis, an old college buddy who said it 30+ years ago, when we were attending a Steppenwolf performance together. Even though he found that night's offering a bit flaccid, he said Chicago had a more vital and important theater community than New York. 

Allan has a bit more standing on the subject than I do, as an internationally-acclaimed playwright, theater scholar, and native New Yorker. We had a good laugh. (See comments, below.)


Unknown said...

Dear Chuck,

The aesthetic links around the globe leap faster than sub-atomic particles in a super-collider so it is little surprise that a UK newspaper grabbed your witty articulation on theatre vitality in the USA. The challenge, of course, is reeling in the big royalties from your intellectual property.

Congratulations on your future earnings.


Chuck Cowdery said...


I was going to say I remember when you didn't care about such things, except I don't.

- Chuck

Tom Johnson said...

Back when I had a blog, I did a math exercise calculating the cost of Ronald Reagan's funeral, which included not just the funeral itself but a national holiday given to federal employees. I did a conscientious job on it based on Googling average salaries and whatever else I could think of to add into the total. In the end I cam up with a big number -- a couple of billion dollars, I think. (Reagan died in 2004. I can't remember stuff that happened last week.) For a couple of months after that I kept seeing my figure cited in newspapers and on television.

I ended up writing a newspaper column about how irresponsible it was that grown-up media were quoting my half-hour, tongue-in-cheek coat breakdown as if it were authoritative.

Chuck Cowdery said...

That reminds me of the time I wrote a press release for a major Louisville non-profit and saw it verbatim the next afternoon on the front page of the Louisville Times, under some reporter's byline. "Wow," I thought. "I guess I know how to write press releases."

Chuck Cowdery said...

Also, this.