The Playgoer: Will Theatre Outlive The Newspaper?:
So my question is: how will (and I say "will" not "would" since it is now accepted this will happen) the disappearance of serious daily newspapers in major cities affect the life of the theatre in said cities?
And I don't just mean critics.* I mean without the newspaper itself. So not only no features, but no listings, and no ads.
These regional theatre folks better get web savvy real fast...
I'm going to break with tradition and answer this briefly--it will affect them CATACLYSMICALLY, because mainstream American theater is tied to the newspaper intimately. We're now at the point where most of those theaters do understand that there is a "web" out there, and that they can sell tickets there...so they've begun doing web promotions, but they are always partially baked.
That's not all their fault--in each market where all the papers die, it will be a massive upheaval and the ground will change very quickly. Until that moment NO ONE really knows how things will change. My issue is that the American theater industry I know so well has these consistent traits:
A) Is very slow to react.
B) Is cranky, old-fashioned and out-of-touch when it does start reacting.
C) Has very little sense of zeitgeist or cultural indicators of any kind.
In this climate they are going to fail. Not forever, but they will certainly not adapt well to the change--I bet there's 2-3 years until they find a footing of some kind, and that is assuming that cultural delivery and reflection instruments evolve in that particular city. I believe this change will be the next great crisis of the American regional theater.
I don't think it's going to wait for us to deal with the current crisises, so I fear it may just be overwhelming for many to have no map whatsoever.