At Howlround, David Dower posted a compelling insight into a theater’s season planning called How a Season Comes Together. Of course, not every theater has the same priorities. Accordingly, my colleagues at the Rust Belt Repertory Theater have similarly shared a glimpse into their season planning process.
|Play that everyone’s heard of but nobody’s seen||White||OMG nobody’s seen it this could be a disaster||Google reviews from big cities for press release. If not stellar, abort mission. Or use ellipses.||Timid||Yes|
|Play that everyone’s heard of and everyone’s seen fifty times||So white||What if those other productions were better?||Do we still have that kitchen sink? Check storage||Craven||O yes|
|Play from New York that every regional theater is producing this season||Affluent/ Brooklyn||Fear factor low||Now that we’ve programmed it I should probably get around to reading it||Desperate||God yes|
|Play that can use pretty much the same set as the last play||So very white||Kevin’s couch may start to disintegrate||Marketing angle: The Living-Room Series! Come to the theater, feel like you’re still at home…? Rethink.||Penniless||Yes|
|Jokey musical that trades on familiar ethnic, cultural or gender truisms without offending anybody I hope||White-ish||Afraid that I’m not equipped to assess whether jokes about Jewishness or menopause are funny or offensive||Find a woman and/or ethnic person, ask them questions||Pandering||Yes b/c we’re edgy|
|Shakespeare thing||Ecru||Fear factor medium if we can get it down to under two hours||Check on supplies; swords and codpieces have a habit of walking away||Elitist but, like, safe-elitist||Verily|
|Neil Simon-y thing and/or something that plays like it could be on TV||Like a sugar cube in a snowstorm||Relaxed||Already sold out||Surrender||YES YES PLEASE YES|
|New play that’s only been produced once before||Exotic||Off the charts||Check anxiety meds for refills||Certain destruction||You’re kidding, right?|
For a more intimate window into their programming process, take a look at this.