I listen to Broadway show tunes all day (such luxury), and I have some kind of relationship with a lot of the songs I hear. I was in the show/lit the show/stage managed the show/directed the show…well, you get the idea. I was an active participator in producing the magic. So that explains why I love the productions I was a part of, but it does not explain why I would spend three hours of my life watching other people accept awards for shows I will never get to see in their original form. But watching the Tonys on Sunday night, I felt free to cheer, clap and occasionally sneer at what I was watching, and I had no obvious skin in that game.
How is it that we who love theatre have such a stake in it? We watch it, discuss it, read it, plan for pilgrimages to Broadway like the most rabid Cardinals fan waits for the Series. We OWN this slippery stuff, that disappears as soon as its created, and appears different to everyone who watches it. We know that whether the show is free or costs hundreds of dollars it”s still going to say something about us as human beings in a way that makes us feel. We try to explain to the unchurched that they can own it too and they just politely allow us our eccentricities.
We need to figure out a vocabulary that extends this sense of a relevant, living art form that is meaningful to everyone.