The first live-audience taping of the popular "Theater Talk" program, held March 13 at CUNY's television studios in Manhattan, will be broadcast on Channel Thirteen/WNET, March 23 and 30. Designed to benefit the show's parent company, the special segment featured a paying audience and a panel of theatre experts discussing "The State of Theater, 2000.” A question and answer period followed the panel discussion.
The event will be edited and presented in two half-hour installments, the first airing March 23 at midnight, the second March 30, also at midnight.
Featured on the panel were Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes, Tony Award-winning Side Man playwright Warren Leight, New York Times theatre columnist Jesse McKinley, Wit, How I Learned To Drive and Bomb-Itty Of Errors producer Daryl Roth, New York Magazine theatre critic John Simon and Tony Award-winning 1776 and Titanic librettist Peter Stone. The panel was hosted by Theatre Talk producer Susan Haskins and New York Post columnist Michael Riedel.
Among the topics taken up in the often lively, occasionally heated debate were: the high cost of producing theatre; the dearth of new American plays on Broadway; the waning influence of critics; the dwindling power of the playwright; the continuing power of The New York Times; the recent renaming of the Selwyn Theatre as the American Airlines Theatre; and the Tonys. Concerning the last subject, most panelists agreed the Tonys commanded too much attention, and that the barriers between Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theatre should be demolished, making way for a field simply known as "New York theatre."
--By Robert Simonson