Playing Through

Letter to patron: It's hard to operate in such little gravity

Speaking of Mitchell, what'd you think of the farewell speech he gave before the curtain went up? Were you even aware, before that night, that he'd been artistic director of Phoenix Theatre for seven years, and that he is leaving to go operate a playhouse somewhere in New England? (Maybe he's leaving because he's tired of trying to please thankless theatergoers like yourself. Or maybe, given your discontent, it's high time he left.) Well, his pending departure was in all the papers. Anyway, it was nice of Mitchell to ask all the actors and other theater workers in the audience to stand, even though it revealed just how many tickets he'd given away to his cronies that night (in show business, that's called "papering the house").

I hope that Mitchell's replacement will try courting a hipper audience than Phoenix Theatre has in the past. If we're lucky, they'll hire actor/director Matthew Mazuroski, who I hear is interested in the job. Mazuroski's in town right now, directing a stunning production of a play called Before It Hits Home for the Black Theatre Troupe. At the matinee performance of Before that I attended, people were crying as they left the theater.

Maybe you should have gone to see that show instead. In any case, I hope your experience the other night won't cause you to give up on live theater altogether. You had a lousy time at this show, but you might enjoy, say, Blithe Spirit. Or The Big Radio Broadcast of 1941. (Steer clear of any adaptation of a Disney cartoon, and, remember that if it says "revue" in the title anywhere, there's no story, just a bunch of songs.) Theater probably won't ever excite you as much as a Suns game, but chances are pretty good that it won't bore you as much as Golf With Alan Shepard did, either.

Robrt L. Pela

Golf With Alan Shepard continues through Sunday, January 31, at Phoenix Theater, 100 East McDowell.

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