Monday, February 9, 2009

The Drama Drop -

On a day when President Obama is out trying to gain support from the American people on his Stimulus Package, I wonder if Congress is going to provide much needed relief for the Arts. We need investment in that which could be a great source of national pride, but seems to have been forgotten. Where is the Secretary for the Arts?

The Drama Drop continues...

* We need jobs and Obama wants to provide them. Well... According to the New York Times, if the mantra of the Obama administrator is “jobs, jobs, jobs,” the mantra of the New York City Opera had better be “funds, funds, funds.” The company is grappling with a $15 million deficit and enduring a nearly moribund season devoid of staged productions. Despite it all, Mr. Steel exudes determination as he takes on what he called “the opportunity of a lifetime” in a recent interview.

* More cuts and changes are on the horizon...  The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, in response to the economic climate, has cut the number of performances for each of its four productions in the 09-10 season.  In addition, it has frozen administrative salaries.  These measures are said to help cut about $500,000 from the budget. “Some operas are simply more expensive to do,” General manager Evan Luskin said. “Other operas are less expensive. It doesn’t mean they’re not as good. We’re not doing the season we originally thought we were going to do when we looked at this last fall. We just decided to be more financially prudent.”

* More performances have been axed... Connecticut Opera's 2,000 subscribers will get letters today informing them that "Daughter of the Regiment" in March and "La Bohème" in May, the remaining two productions of this season, are canceled. The decision was made by the opera's board Wednesday night. "Last night's decision did not come as a surprise," said Linda Jackson, the opera's managing director. "We've been watching the numbers decline for a couple of months.

* Investing in the future is key... On a passageway above the new quarters of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts here are the Latin words “Limes regiones rerum.” They are a classical rendering of the school’s insouciant motto, “Reality ends here.” In its way this institution long known for close ties to Hollywood’s movie and television business is demanding its place in the academic tradition. A formal unveiling of the school’s new home is set for March 29. Even in our economic downturn, George Lucas, an architectural hobbyist, laid out the original designs for the project and donated an initial $175 million to build and support it. Industry benefactors like Warner Brothers, Fox and the Walt Disney Company have contributed another $50 million.

(Photo: Marissa Roth for The New York Times)

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