Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

A couple nights ago, I was heading home from work in midtown a little before 11:00, and on my way I kept passing groups of people who had just come from the theatres. You could tell they had just seen a performance, because they were giving off that energy that you can only get from live theatre. I had to squeeze past the stage door of the August Wilson Theatre, because a couple of the cast members of Jersey Boys had just emerged, and the sidewalk was clogged with their adoring fans. Seeing that made me feel all fuzzy about Broadway -- and I don't even want to see Jersey Boys!

Anyway, Happy New Year's Eve! I know what I'll be doing tonight. (Watching on TV, that is. And yes, it is a little silly not to be there in person, when I live so close... but I can't go to every Audra performance. And I'm grateful to be able to see it at all. Growing up in my hometown, I used to read about programming like this, and then discover that my local PBS affiliate was showing The Lawrence Welk Show instead.) See you in 2007.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

So, why "Restricted View"?

I'm glad you asked!

The "view" part is obvious: Blogs are for opinions, and when it comes to theatre (not to mention many other topics that may or may not find their way into this forum), I have plenty of opinions. But why "restricted"?

First of all, whether a critic admits it or not, he or she is restricted in his or her outlook at any given time by his personal history, her valid or arbitrary biases, his personal acquaintances, her urgent need to use the restroom, etc. "Legitimate" critics are expected to do their best to overcome such impediments to objectivity, or at least to write as if they didn't exist, but one nice thing about the blogosphere is that a blogger's idiosyncrasies are more or less the point. Deep down, I think I'm more intimidated than most by the nagging feeling that I might not know what I'm talking about, and the consequent impulse to withhold judgment until I've researched a subject as exhaustively as possible. But this is the cyber age, and research is so last century! So I'm jumping into the blogging thing with an admission that I might get things wrong. I might revise an opinion when more information comes to light. And if you think I'm full of crap, I trust you will let me know. I'm here to learn! Well, okay, I'm primarily here to sound off. But I wouldn't mind learning a little something along the way. And I'm always up for a lively discussion where theatre is involved.

The second way in which I'm "restricted" is financial. Theatre in general is a pretty expensive habit (just ask the people who are trying to make a living doing it!), and Broadway, in particular, costs too damn much. It's bad for the art, and it's certainly bad for the would-be patrons. If I had my druthers -- or unlimited financial resources -- I would see everything that opens. Instead, I can only afford to see a handful of Broadway's offerings (and a slightly more generous handful of whatever's happening Off-Broadway), and even then, obtaining a ticket usually involves much fretting and/or finagling on my part. Sometimes it means settling for a suboptimal seat ("restricted view" isn't just a clever title, folks), even though I'm usually sorry when I do, because few shows are directed to give the folks in the cheap seats their money's worth. It's all very discouraging, really: it's a bigger sacrifice than it ought to be for me to see any show, and that means, if I don't like it, I'm that much more put out, and that much more hesitant to spend the money on the next show that comes along.

I'm hanging in there, because I love theatre, even though being a fan can seem like more trouble than it's worth. Because when it's good, it's really, really good, and when I'm sitting in a theatre and everything comes together, even just for a moment, I am transported back to the enthusiastic days of my adolescence, when I used to listen obsessively to original cast recordings and squint at the tiny photos in the CD jacket and imagine what it would be like to be there, experiencing it live. I like to get back in touch with that geeky part of myself from time to time, whatever it costs me to get there. Thus, Restricted View: a place for me to work out my complicated feelings for the theatre. Thanks for coming by.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Favor me, favor me with your glance

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to Restricted View. Here you will find lots of talk of theatre, and probably some talk of other arts as well. There will definitely be geeky musical-theatre referencing, and there will probably be some mooning over stage stars for whom I have a weakness. There will be much bitching about the inflated cost of a Broadway ticket, and some sneering at what passes for entertainment on the Great White Way these days. I may occasionally catalog the odd things I see on the subway, and I will probably forget, from time to time, that there is a world outside of New York City. Other than that, I'm not sure what the future will hold. But I can make a few promises to you, my hopefully loyal reading public.

I pledge that I will never:
  • write entire entries in pseudo-verse.
  • tell you what I'm "currently listening to," unless it's relevant.
  • refer to myself in the third person (e.g., "The Restricted Viewer missed her chance to see The Times They Are A-Changin'...")
  • write about my cats (I have no cats).
And really, what more can you ask?