Then they got this idea to build this Stage Center structure with the theater in it. Away from the fact that it was uneconomical to operate, the reality is that it was designed for a type of theater that basically isn’t executed anymore.
What’s happened is the same problem we had with Rupel J. Jones Theatre, which was built about the same time at the University of Oklahoma. In those days, the regional theater directors wanted something they thought was new, inventive and exciting. It has its momentary period, but it’s not a place audiences feel comfortable anymore and plays aren’t performed in those spaces.
There’s a wonderful line in the musical “The Producers” I’d like to paraphrase from Nathan Lane: A lot of people invented theater-in-the-round, but I invented theater-in-the-square.
Stage Center doesn’t serve the purpose of the modern theater as it exists today. The modern theater is the same as its always been, which is the same as Broadway or the West End. It’s basically a traditional proscenium theater, and for smaller productions, a black box, and that’s about it.
Weitzenhoffer, a prominent Broadway and London theater producer, serves on the OU Board of Regents.
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