Don Jordan is Founding Artistic Director for City Rep since 1998. Don has extensive experience in the craft, and his bio is posted below.
I was asked to contribute a few thoughts to the blog for OKLAHOMA ARTS: SCENE AND HURD, so this is what is on my mind in the way of starting a discussion in this new virtual green room.
50 years ago this month President Kennedy inspired us with the challenge to “Ask not what your country can do for you but rather, what you can do for your country.”
Those of us who love and recognize the value of the arts in our nation owe so much to the President’s vision and leadership. For those of us who love the stage, the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts was the catalyst for our national professional regional theater movement. In the last half-century we have seen enormous growth and accessibility of the arts in hundreds of cities, available to hundreds of millions of Americans fot the first time in our nation’s history.
I want to paraphrase President Kennedy’s challenge now in the context of our economic challenges of the last 3 years. What can you do to help foster and support our theater scene?
Like the dramatic folks we are, we often fume and complain about theaters that don’t pay enough (or AT ALL), ticket prices that are too high, design budgets that make it difficult if not impossible to realize the creative requirements of our art, etc, etc, etc (as Yule liked to say).
But what are WE doing about it? I ask you bluntly, do you support our arts institutions as a donor? Do you at least have season tickets to theaters in town who are doing worthy work and who (and in this I KNOW whereof I speak) really need your support?
Yes , I know you can usually get a friend to slip you a comp, but how can we expect our “real world” patrons to buy a ticket to the theater if we do not value the experience enough to lead by example and pay our own way?
At this point in the discussion there might well be a chorus of voices in 12 part harmony belting out “We can’t afford it —We are starving artists!” like a shouting match between Merman and Lapone.
To you I ask, have you bought a cup of coffee or a coke this week? We think nothing of paying $4 bucks at Starbucks for a cup of java, $2 for a soft drink with lunch, $1 for a candy bar from the vending machine.
We go to the movies and pay $9 for admission and that much again for popcorn or a pretzel and that coke.
Heck, a double dip of ice cream will run you $3 bucks…
Suppose we put our money where our mouth is (instead of in our mouths?) and supported our local theaters and other arts organizations with a mere $2 bucks a day…what would that mean in real numbers?
Well it would mean you make a $60 dollar donation to an arts organization every month of the year and still have $10 bucks left over to give!
At CITY REP that would buy you a season ticket! At the OKCMOA you would have a membership. You get the idea…
One less cup of coffee, one less coke or candy bar, skip the popcorn at the movie and help OKC have a vibrant and thriving theatrical and Arts scene!
If you are reading this, you are almost certainly interested and involved in our amazing theater community. We have grown so much in the last decade, which has seen the addition of ambitious community theaters like O.C.T.C., the Ghostlight Theater, Reduxion, not to mention, ahem, a certain small professional theater with a regional theater profile (CITY REP) to our community’s long time members like Lyric, Carpenter Square, Shakespeare in the Park, The Pollard and others.
We have added spaces including Lyric at the Plaza, the CITYSPACE and Reduxion’s new Broadway theater.
But for this exciting trend to continue,YOU must make the difference. I know you think you will die with one less cup of coffee, coke or Hershey bar, so think instead of trading that two minutes of caffeine/sugar buzz for two hours (or 3 hours in the case of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) of artistic inspiration when you are watching a show that you are really enjoying…and if you can’t find a show you enjoy in our thriving and diverse theater scene, you are too broken to fix!
So volunteer, serve on a board (or 3), buy a ticket and DONATE—–put your money where your heart is!
And I will look forward to seeing you at the theater with your season ticket, volunteering, or at a board meeting!!
While my tone is light, I want to close by earnestly telling you that I feel privileged to be a part of our theatrical and creative community and I believe it is up to us to see that it survives and thrives for the next generation, and I want to share one of my favorite quotes
“I regard the theater as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre
Founding Artistic Director
P.O. Box 1913
OKC, OK 73101-1913
214-454-7676 direct line email@example.com