re: Idina and Goldsberry are inspired choices
Posted by: Singapore/Fling 11:09 pm EDT 08/14/22
In reply to: re: Idina and Goldsberry are inspired choices - Chazwaza 08:31 pm EDT 08/14/22

As the Artistic Director, she has a few simple remits:

- Make the series money (check)
- Make the series culturally relevant (check)
- Make the series talked about (check)
- Make a hit musical (check, check, check)

You want to parse her work on ITW into "directing", but she not only programmed it, she programmed it for an unheard of two weeks... and then sold out that entire run and moved the show to Broadway where it has already extended its run once. (And yes, we know that was a bit of a trick, but non-profit is all about these kinds of tricks).

Her job isn't to make a hit out of Baker Street starring Chad Kimball, her job is to bring Encores! the kind of success it hasn't seen since "Chicago". And while this "Into the Woods" won't turn into one of the longest-running shows on Broadway, it has gotten rapturous reviews and is talked about weekly in the press. It's the first Broadway transfer of a strict Encores! show in over ten years, and it is the most buzzed about Broadway transfer since "Chicago". That's her job. She has done it.

This kind of success makes everyone forget the misfires, and her season next year shows a much more cautious approach to the programming, one that is in line with the Encores! tradition while also fulfilling her activism. She's bringing us a recent beloved musical with color-conscious casting (and, let's face it, a lead who is going to generate all sorts of articles in the press about returning to New York in the role of a mother dealing with the guilt over not being able to save her daughter from a terrible accident, which is worth its weight in non-profit gold). She's bringing us an obscure Jerry Herman musical with a beloved Broadway star. And she's bringing us the first new production of "Oliver!" since the original, which will run for two weeks and which you know also has its sights set on Broadway.

She is doing her job perfectly. She's taken the rights kinds of risks, and she's generated the right kinds of rewards. She made some missteps last year in terms of how she messaged and how radically she steered the ship in a new direction, but she's found her bearings. And, all due respect, you don't seem to understand what matters to non-profits, and you are 100% underselling the success of "Into the Woods" by somehow suggesting the mark of an Encores! AD is to make an obscure musical a Broadway hit. Jack Viertel never did that, so why would you expect Lear to do it?

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