Monday, July 16, 2007

Only Wallets Make Wishes Come True

Posted by Bruce Miller

September is a ‘comin, which means the opening of Richmond’s newest theatre, Henley Street Theatre Company, named, we’re told by founder Alex Previtera (pictured), for the street address of Shakespeare’s birthplace. Alex seems like a dedicated and serious young man, and we wish him all the success in the world.

Henley Street’s first production is The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, which hasn’t been seen in Richmond, to the best of my knowledge, since the 70s, when it was produced by both TheatreVirginia and the University of Richmond. Thoreau is by the late playwriting team of Lawrence and Lee, the same guys who wrote Mame and Inherit the Wind, two Barksdale hits of seasons recently passed.

Everyone I know is wishing the new company well, but we need to put our wallets where our wishes are. I remember what it was like to start a theatre—it’s only been 32 years. Those of you who think the words “only” and “32 years” should never be in close proximity of each other can stop laughing now. Bottom line—it’s next to impossible to start and maintain a new theatre. So everyone who’s wishing Henley Street success needs to buy at least two full-price tickets to their first production. It’s as simple as that.

Theatre people are notorious for not going to theatre, and for demanding heavily discounted tickets when they do. Let’s all give Alex Privitera a break. He’s shelling out more than you’ll ever know to get his show on the road. The least we can do, and should do, is buy a pair of tickets.

--Bruce Miller

1 comment:

Frank Creasy said...

Very well said Bruce, and of course you and Phil can no doubt relate very well from your early, lean years at Theatre IV (something I knew already, but your recent postings here have given me more insight into those humble beginnings).

While I earn a few paychecks here and there as an actor, the money I make from my day job goes to the mortgage, groceries and other necessities first...and then, to recreation, primarily theatre productions when I'm not ON stage.

Right now I have tickets for two Barksdale shows, and Carol and I have made tax-deductible donations to Barksdale/Theatre IV and other local non-profit theatres. We'll be supporting Henley Street as well, along with other local theatres we patronize regularly.

Alex and the Henley Street organization have gotten off to a good start before they've even put on a single production, but it will be an uphill battle. Thanks for publicly supporting them and other theatres in Richmond. This is a vibrant theatre community and has enriched many lives with quality productions for many years now...and I have to think there's still room for more. Let's hope so!