Magazine article American Theatre

For Us on the American Theatre Staff

Magazine article American Theatre

For Us on the American Theatre Staff

Article excerpt

FOR US ON THE AMERICAN THEATRE STAFF, ONE OF THE year's most informative exercises comes in late summer, when we lob a question--sometimes a pretty silly-sounding question--out into the theatrical ether and wait, with bated breath, to see what answers get lobbed back at us. The point of this annual exercise is to ferret out treasures in the season-to-come, and whatever form the question takes--in keeping with this Season Preview issue's focus on diversity, this year's was "What's in the mix?"--it serves as a surprisingly reliable mechanism for detecting Things That Are Not to Be Missed.

Admittedly, this once-a-season survey may be utterly unscientific and statistically insignificant. But we're gratified, year after year, to discover how well it works. Which plays, which projects, which artists, which theatrical initiatives on the new-season horizon have infused theatre professionals around the country with anticipation and enthusiasm? Compile 50 responses from theatre folk in a range of disciplines, from various parts of the country, from theatres large and small, and the picture that emerges is revelatory.

The final step is to weave those responses into a running commentary with images--the what's-in-the-mix thread starts on page 60 and runs intermittently throughout this issue's 46-page Season Preview 2011-12 special section. You may find yourself nodding in offhand agreement with the choices some respondents have made--but we figure that at least some of their picks will trigger a fresh thrill of expectation, a why-didn't-I-think-of-that finger-snap, a gotta-see-that fervor. …

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