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April 25, 2009

We Will Survive -- Theater Critics Say So

NEA Fellows.jpg

Don't believe what you read, Romenesko and Roman Holiday notwithstanding. Look carefully at the smiling faces attached to the exhausted bodies above. These are this year's 23 USC Annenberg Fellows of the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater Program. (Plus Sasha and Doug. I, tears in my eyes, had just left the Los Angeles farewell breakfast.) The bad news about the operatic demise of arts journalism somehow had escaped them, and all of us:

"What do you mean? Of course people want to read about theater! Of course we want to write, blog, video, do anything to say why ..."

And the voices diverge, because they come from different geographical and personal places. But after 10 days in their presence -- and I spent every single day of the program with these dogged folks -- I had my caution handed to me on a Salome platter. These journalists worked and talked in an atmosphere of pure optimism. I was floored. How could this be?

I think it's because they possess a blunt faith in the art they go out every day and night to watch and then redact, refine, recreate. I'll tell you, as someone who has felt the same way for decades but was beginning to flag, this is a very welcome tonic. 

Sheer optimism, driven by love of art and effervescent talent. Exactly what we need. 

Just wanted you to know. 

Photo: Captain Freckels

April 25, 2009 11:10 PM | | Comments (0)

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