Monday, January 28, 2008

Broadway Musical Heading to Hill District

A local arts organization is expected to announce at an early morning press conference tomorrow that it has attracted a world renowned Broadway musical to Pittsburgh's Hill District.

The Pittsburgh Opera has been in negotiations with an unnamed third party for the last three seasons. Late breaking news indicates that the musical is, in fact, Lerner and Loewes' 1960 classic Camelot.

The Pittsburgh Opera General Director Mark J. Weinstein said that the organization had been working for "quite some time" and independently of the City, County, Penguins, the One Hill Coalition, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and the August Wilson Center to bring quality musical theater to the Hill District. One of the minor demands of the proposed Community Benefits Agreement has been ongoing theatrical entertainment, in order to complement the planned Penguins hockey arena.

Hill District leaders expressed reservations about Camelot. One Hill Coalition Chair Carl Redwood said "it's a good start, but it is probably not what the community wants... especially since both Richard Burton and Robert Goulet are dead."

Dan Martin, Director at Carnegie Mellon's Center for Arts Management and Technology, says that the community's expressed desire for quality musical theater may not be met by Camelot.

"I mean, you have a community looking for and demanding Les Miserable or a Phantom of the Opera, but based on market forces, chances are they'll be lucky if they can get Taboo [a Boy George inspired musical] or the Pittsburgh Center for the Deaf's performance of The Sound of Music."

The Hill District has been under-served by the musical theater community since the departure of Shop 'n Save's long running productions of the complete Rogers 'n Hammerstein catalog. Attempts were made to replace these shows with Rogers 'n Hart, Guilbert 'n Sullivan, and even George 'n Ira Gershwin. Despite such efforts, musicals in the Hill died approximately 10 years ago.

In any ironic twist of fate, the Mellon Arena, the destruction of which has been the source of contention for the Hill, was originally supposed to be used to house the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.

A recent study by the Pitt School of Drama shows that the community is currently being served only by back alley recitations of August Wilson's plays and the Kuntu Repertory Theater.

Mr. Redwood, however, remained adamant in the community's desire for quality musical theater. "The Hill deserves The Producers or, at least, Monty Python's Spam-a-lot."

Representatives of the community, City, County and the Penguins have been invited to tomorrow's press conference.

1 comment:

MrGS said...

This is some pretty insightful information on Broadway musicals. I haven't seen one in what seems like forever. I kind of wish that "The Santaland Diaries" would appear on Broadway. It's a great one-man show.