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Drama Obama

posted by Robert Sweibel on Tue, Jun 2, 2009
in General theatre talk

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It would be too simple to compare the fact of President and Mrs. Obama's attendance last night at a performance of August Wilson's contemporary masterpiece, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, in New York City, with the patronage habits of his predecessor. I can only suppose that President Bush #43, were he a playgoer, would have attended only matinees. Hard to make it bed by 9pm if you've got an 8pm curtain.

Maybe it's my short memory -- I don't know what I had for breakfast -- but I don't recall hearing much about W in the Theatre. What I remember is all the drama surrounding "No Drama" Obama:

  • Discovering a year ago that then-candidate Obama had clinched the democratic nomination from actress Eisa Davis. I was backstage in New York City after a performance of Passing Strange. Eisa came charging down the spiral staircase from her dressing room, yelling, "We did it! We did it!" I wouldn't have imagined that the backstage area, already electrified by the post-show buzz PLUS the presence of not just Alec Baldwin but Denzel Washington, could become even hotter! That was June 3 -- a year ago tomorrow -- and I'm sure of it because it was (and is) my birthday.
  • Thinking, back in November, how prescient Berkeley Rep was to have programmed its very own production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone for the period surrounding the presidential election. I remember reading the stage manager's report following that particularly memorable performance. Here's a link to our blog post about it: An Historic Performance.

Anyway, I'm just glad that our president appreciates the Theatre. And not just musicals!

Congratulations to our peers at Lincoln Center Theater for attracting the support of America's First Patrons. Congratulations to (most of) the rest of us for electing them to that position.

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