I'm apparently supposed to be thrilled and ecstatic that the North Shore Music Theatre has re-opened its doors.
And I'm trying REALLY hard to care. I really am.
But I just don't.
First of all, it's in BEVERLY.
Secondly, I don't really like the dusty old chestnuts that they produce again and again (they've opened their new season with "Gypsy"...)
I enjoy new work, but NSMT will not be producing ANY, according to a recent Globe article.
So, I probably won't be going there to see anything.
Frankly, it just doesn't sound very interesting. And why should I trek all the way to Beverly to see a cheese-ball musical from 1945, when there are excellent ones being produced here in Boston?
And if I really wanted to see a corny New York-style musical, I could also just plan a trip to New York. It's not that far. Just ask the actors that NSMT hires.
Which brings me to my next concern: when a new theatre opens, or even when an old theatre RE-opens, it's usually good news for the local actors and designers and directors; for the artistic community of that area.
But it's not really such great news for any of us.
North Shore has, traditionally, not hired ANY theatre artists from the Boston area, as far as I know.
Many, many years ago, they used to do scaled-down Shakespeare every now and then, primarily for high school students, with Boston actors: I remember my friend Bill in their production of "MacBeth" and Neil Casey as a bowler-hat sporting Horatio, Natalie Brown as an alcoholic Gertrude and Bob Saoud and Mark Carver as a romantically involved R&G in "Hamlet".
But that was a LONG time ago.
(Note: I just went to the NSMT web-site, and these Shakespeare productions aren't even listed as part of their past seasons. So apparently I dreamed even this all up...)
Even their "Christmas Carol", which used to employ a handful of local actors, was cancelled, to make way for "High School Musical VII" or something like that.
Now, I know, I'm being a crank. It's a MUSIC theatre, after all, what should I expect?
Well, I guess I would expect a theatre in my community to actually ENGAGE its community and support local theatre artists, even in a small way. You can't tell me that Kathy St. George isn't good enough to perform there. Or Leigh Barrett. Or any number of excellent musical theatre performers that chose to live here in Boston.
Why should I attend a theatre that has no dialogue with the place where I live, that only hires artists from out of town, that doesn't even ATTEMPT to do those things?
I even recall Jon Kimball, the former grand pooh-bah of NSMT, addressing that issue in an interview a while back. I remember him saying that NSMT had an un-written policy of only hiring New York performers because New York was the capitol of musical theatre in the country, so if you didn't live there, you weren't really a serious artist or a professional.
Personally, I think that's one reason why NSMT failed in the first place.
It's why I didn't notice when they closed, and why I don't care so much that they've re-opened.
They alienated the artists living in their community, and totally trashed them.
Why should I support that?
Perhaps this will all change, with their re-opening.
But I somehow doubt it.
North Shore Music Theatre has re-opened.
And I should care because...?