Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 27, 1975 · Page 103
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July 27, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 103

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 27, 1975
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Page 103
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Page 103 article text (OCR)

Is the Great White Way soiled? By Martha Smith WATERFORD, CONN. - The deterioration of Broadway as the epitome of American theatrical endeavors has been a gradual, continuing process for some time, according to George Thorn, treasurer of the O'Neill Theater Center here. Thorn, whose career in theater includes'work as a stage manager and producer for many Broadway productions, lays the blame for Broadway's decline on the demise of the professional producer. The producer, he explains, ultimately makes the artistic decisions and choices. That's largely because the person who controls the money in a show can manipulate the artistic level. "More and more, people making these final artistic decisions aren't qualified,"-Thorn maintains. The artistic producer or producing director, is a vanishing breed, he says, except for a very small creative ensemble led by Hal Prince. "There are so many pressures, so much riding on each show that it simply i.sn't worth it for people to become professional producers anymore," Thorn says. Thorn's opinion is shared, for the most part, by designer Fred Voelpel, who also heads the National Theater Institute. Voelpel is the man who designed the original production of- "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little," and who designed the latest Edward Albee play "Seascape." The producer has control over all the artistic elements: playwright, director, stars. The director worries about hiring the other personnel like stage managers, designers, costumers. Sometimes, Voiel'pei says, there is a very high risk involved in becoming associated with a show produced by certain big names in the business. A frenzy level usually accompanies David Merrick enterprises, he says, because Merrick has been known to pull the rug f fbm under a show at the last minute. Remember the ill-fated production of "Breakfast at Tiffany's"? That one starred Mary Tyler Moore and it was amputated before it could get out of the off-Broadway house. That was a Merrick enterprise. This is not to say that the producers are the bad guys all the time. But they are the men at the top, the ones who make the big decisions. In one ear. Burl Lancaster, as Moses, expresses anger against his people, the Israelites, by destroying the tablets on which their laws have been written, in the final presentation of "Moses -- The Lawgiver" at 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2 on CBS-TV. ' ,S HO. W TIME. ./»,/· 27 ( 19 75. And, according to top level professionals in residence at the National Critics Institute here, there is a dearth of artistically knowledgable producers working on the Broadway stage. Ironically, Thorn says "the" place to open a show these days is Washington, D.C., not New York City. Is the Great White Way becoming a little soiled? »· CRITICS Institute director Ernest Schier, critic of The Philadelphia Bulletin, was openly surprised to learn that there is a wide variety of decent quality cultural entertainment in West Virginia. Schier says he has little time to worry about places other than Philadelphia, New York and D.C., but he seemed intrigued that West Virginia is more than coal mining, povery and anti-textbook preachers. To his everlasting credit, Schier has a wonderfully open mind and I'm doing my best up here to serve as press agent for West Virginia acts. The actors, designers and playwrights I've met are surprised -- but pleasantly so -- to encounter a West Virginian in this setting. Who knows? Word may get around that the arts are more thriving and alive in West Virginia -and better supported financially -than they are in New York City. Question Box Q -- Is Brenda Vaccaro married to super star Kirk Douglas? I read about bout the two of them. -- Mrs. G. W., Stamford, Conn. A -- Brenda Vaccaro is Michael Douglas' girl friend; and, as you probably know, Michael is Kirk's son. Incidentally, Brenda and Kirk Douglas can be currently seen in the film, "Once Is Not Enough." Q -- I have a bet with a friend that George C. Scott was in the movie, "On the Waterfront," with Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint. Is this so? -- J.C., Newton Square, Pa. A -- George C. Scott was not in the cast of "On the Waterfront." The chief supporting roles in the Academy Award winning film were played by Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb, and Karl Maiden. SWIMMING POOLS--1975 BELOW 6ROU8ID POOL KITS STEEL WAILS ·40ftx20ftxgftDeepRect S 2785 M ! 36 ft x 18 ft x 8 ft Deep Rect S 2378" 32 ft x 16 ft x 8 ft Deep Rect M888- POOLS MCI. EASY TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS (INSTALLATION AVAILABLE) ABOVE CROUND DOIT YOURSELF ^30ftxl5ftx7ftDeep M3W 32ftxl6ftx4ftDeep ''288" 20ftxl5ftx4ftDeep 4«"l OOLS NOW ON DISPLAY! WARRIOR SWIMMING POOL CO. 21141 MacCORKLE AYE. ST. ALBANS W. VA. 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