Thursday, July 29, 2010

Letter to the editor: "Menopause The Musical"

 Editor's note: The following is in response to Joseph O. Patton's article titled "The Night They Drove the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Down," published July 20.

Hi Joseph,

  I enjoyed your post and wanted to take a moment to comment on your thoughts.

  Our Artistic Director recently spoke to a group of hospitality professionals at a lunch meeting. He discussed this year's season, which also includes a world premiere by author and playwright Pearl Cleage which ASF commissioned, an encore production of the Broadway musical Peter Pan, two world premieres co-commissioned by the Department of Tourism based on little-known, real Montgomerians living here at the beginning of the Civil War, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing and an American comedy about the making of Gone with the Wind called Moonlight and Magnolias. He also spoke about his reason for bringing back Menopause the Musical, despite its obvious, un-apologetically populist nature.

  He described the energy that he observed in a number of sold-out performances of the show at ASF. Around 800 women and men of various ages, social classes, racial backgrounds, and religious views were dancing and singing together and having more fun than they'd had in years. That energy is different than the energy in a brilliant performance of Shakespeare or some other "classier" show, but it is no less valuable to those who are experiencing it. It is still that communal experience that only happens when humans gather with other humans in a theatre to watch other living, breathing humans tell a story or share an experience. Creating that unique, shared moment is what ASF is here to do.

  We know that producing this show is important to many of our patrons, even some who also enjoy those "classy" shows, too, because we've been getting the request to bring the show back since the day the first production closed. We know there are some who will agree with you, and it’s great that people love theatre enough to voice passionate opinions about the quality of art. Thanks for keeping the conversation going. When we stop talking, writing and disagreeing about art then we all really are in trouble.


Meg Lewis
Director of Marketing & Communication
Alabama Shakespeare Festival

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