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Tony Times and Beyond: New York's Theatre of Desperation

  • Glenn Loney

Abstract

Declarations that the ‘Fabulous Invalid’ on Broadway is, at last, terminally ill tend to be subject to the law of diminishing returns – or to claims that wolf has been cried once too often. Yet environmental symptoms are now added to a chronic economic condition, as the ‘theatre district’ loses its distinctive character in a pincer movement between large-scale speculative developments and the sadly familiar signs of inner-city decay. In an earlier article, in NTQ22 (May 1990), Glenn Loney, a widely published theatre writer and teacher, clarified, with special concern for a British readership, the many ‘Factors in the Broadway Equation’. Here, he takes a closer look at the productions of the season just past, with its glut of musicals, from the lavish to the just plain lousy, economic ‘single-person shows’ – and the sometimes more challenging products of the Off-Broadway and not-for-profit sectors. He concludes that civic subsidy, even for the commercial theatre, is now the only way of saving the Invalid's lingering life.

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