the more important part of the mission
Posted by: steven_carter 09:03 pm EDT 03/18/20
In reply to: It's gone - Ann 09:55 am EDT 03/18/20

I'm still a part of Theatre World, and I was John Willis' asst. for many, many years. After John passed, it became clear that although collectors and library systems still purchased the annual THEATRE WORLD books, so much of the same information was immediately available online (in fact much info used in many databases was taken from old Theatre World volumes).

We had to make determination, and those of us on the Theatre World Board agreed the more important part of the organization's mission was recognizing and encouraging promising talent in what, we all know, can be an unfair and extremely challenging field.

We chose to keep the annual awards (which started with the 1944-45 season, predating even the Tony Awards), going and reluctantly stop doing the publication. John Willis had told me many times that when he returned from WWII, and he and Daniel Blum started Theatre World, it was the awards to encourage promising talent that were their main mission. The books were a lovely and wonderful thing....and before the internet, with Burns Mantle focusing on the notable SCRIPTS of each season, and Theatre World focusing on the TALENTS and giving a pictorial history of what made up each season, one could still follow the NYC theatre, even if one were far away. Ben Hodges worked tirelessly and published some volumes of Theatre World; and Barry Monush kept SCREEN WORLD going for many year too! No one was ever paid for compiling those books, which -especially pre-computer- were massive endeavors.

Before he passed, John again stressed that he hoped the encouraging of promising talent (6 women & 6 men every season) would live on far beyond him. And thanks to many caring people, and with Peter Filichia as our host, we have kept the awards a part of every season. Still keeping performers from turning around and giving up, and getting back on the bus.

Tom Lynch (steven carter)

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