The New York Singer's Theater

by Barry Drogin

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Here's a fantasy: It's 1999, and dumb, inexperienced bozos all over the United States are seeking gullible investors to sink millions of dollars into their independent films. One of those investors actually has taste, and realizes that for a much lower cost (only half a million), he or she can endow a theatrical institution in New York that will live forever. Or, for only $50,000, that investor can launch a single trial season.

This institution I will call "The New York Singer's Theatre." It is devoted to presenting three works a year: one older work by deceased creators, one revival of an older work by established creators, and one new work. The works will all belong to a genre I call "The New York School of Opera." These works are for singing actors, were written by New Yorkers, but fall outside of the Broadway/Musical Theatre tradition. They form their own tradition, which up until now has not been recognized as such.

Each work will be given a three month run, at least four performances per week, in an Off-Broadway size house. Here's my fantasy schedule:

First Season:

  • Marc Blitzstein's "The Cradle Will Rock" with the original full orchestration
  • Eric Salzman and Michael Sahl's "The Passion of Simple Simon"
  • Leonard Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" in a double-bill with my completed "The Couch"
  • Second Season:

  • Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's "The Mother of Us All"
  • Richard Peaslee and Richard Foreman's "Doctor Selavy's Magic Theatre"
  • New Work to be announced
  • Third Season:

  • Kurt Weill and Langston Hughes' "Lost in the Stars"
  • Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins"
  • New Work to be announced
  • Fourth Season:

  • Marc Blitzstein's "No for an Answer"
  • Eric Salzman and Michael Sahl's "Boxes"
  • New Work to be announced
  • Fifth Season:

  • Leonard Bernstein's "Mass"
  • Polly Pen's "Goblin Market" and/or a work by Ricky Ian Gordon
  • New Work to be announced
  • Of course, this is a first draft. I'd love to do a Blitzstein work every season. And a Weill work every season. And a Salzman and Sahl work (their work together and apart) every season. If there was room, I'd include some of the more operatic and Broadway work of both Sondheim and Bernstein (especially "West Side Story"). I wouldn't mind seeing William Finn's "In Trousers." There might even be reason to expand to works of Menotti or Britten.

    What would you include? Back to guide - Next item in guide - Back to index - Next item in index

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    A Musical Contrarian 1999-2007

    Last Updated: August 4, 2007