(I thought I published this way back when, but it doesn’t look like I did.)

That’s what Terry Teachout is suggesting as a cure for what ails Broadway:

Nothing wrong with Noël Coward or Frank Loesser, but if producers are longing to stroll down memory lane, why not play it smarter — and cheaper? Like most theater buffs, I know plenty of high-quality small-cast plays that never made it to Broadway or haven’t been seen there for decades.

I think there’s an erroneous and really problematic assumption at the heart of this: that producers and audiences are somehow calling for revivals over new plays. When you remount a new show, it’s not the fact that it’s a revival that sells — it’s the name recognition of the show and/or the creators. Guys and Dolls is safe because it’s famous and beloved, not because it’s old.

If you’re a producer and you want to do a cheap play, do a cheap NEW play. Create stars. Market in new ways. Find your audience, give them something they haven’t seen before, and have them on your side for the future.

If you don’t know where to find those plays, e-mail me. I’m serious.

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