Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Defense of Millennials

This special guest post was written by Impact Theatre artistic director Melissa Hillman. Learn more about Impact Theatre at

The dust has settled from the latest embarrassingly naïve post Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser slapped together for his HuffPo blog, but many in the theatre community are still burning with curiosity over how a man who clearly has very little understanding of the contemporary arts scene and even less understanding of young audiences has become the head of one of the most prominent arts organizations in the world and has been handed millions of dollars to program for Millennials.

If you want to see what I’m on about, the latest in a string of tone-deaf Kaiser posts can be found here.

You can read the best of the crop of eloquent, well-informed smackdowns here, here and here.

Michael Kaiser is, like me, a former opera singer. Unlike me, he didn’t leave opera for theatre, but for—what else?—business. He promoted himself as a “turnaround king,” taking huge, lumbering arts organizations on the brink of beaching themselves and making them profitable. Evidently, he’s damn good at it.

I have nothing against business people. My father ran a small business my entire life. I do, however, question the wisdom of allowing a business guy with little experience in the arts a national sounding board with which to discuss what is wrong with the arts. He displays an embarrassing lack of knowledge about the contemporary arts scene and the topic of young theatre audiences. (Need more proof?)

Apart from the boringly obvious—old guy popping off about what assholes young people are, an activity old guys have enthusiastically enjoyed since Ancient Greece—there’s a much bigger issue on the table here. Kaiser is asserting definitional authority over what is and is not important in our culture. And what’s playing at the Kennedy Center this season? Follies, at $45 - $150 a ticket. What else is playing there? I’m so glad you asked. Shear Madness. Wicked. Next to Normal. Uncle Vanya. Les Miserables. Billy Elliott. La Cage aux Folles. Memphis. The Addams Family. I’m certain these are all excellent business decisions. I know that many of these pieces are wonderful works of art that deserve a place on stage. But they are not, by anyone’s measure, comprehensively reflective of what’s currently happening in American theatre, nor are they reflective of what would be, by any theatre professional’s standard, critical for (ugh) “culture IQ.”

Do not define for me what we, as artists, should deem culturally important while simultaneously displaying, in multiple ways, your complete ignorance about the current state of the arts. Yes, opera is important, musical theatre is important, but so is the art that’s currently being created, in an explosive burst of creativity all over the country, by these very Millennials you seem to think need your artistic guidance. Stop talking and start watching. Their art is everywhere, and a lot of it is glorious, brilliant and breathtaking. All you need to do is look.

Here’s another idea: stage the Millennials' work! Put your considerable millions where your mouth is. Why don’t you pull one or two of the titles on your mainstage that everyone has already seen six times at a community theatre and replace them with a new work by a young playwright? You have the money. Why not take a risk and stage something new? If you purport to want to increase your under-40 audience, as well as foster the new generation of artists, why don’t you stage their work? Is Follies really more important for “culture IQ” than a world premiere by Steve Yockey, Young Jean Lee, or Marcus Gardley? What are those Millennial Project millions for? John Legend and OK Go? Really?

All of this begs the question: Why is someone like Michael Kaiser, who has likely never even heard of Young Jean Lee, being given a national media platform, a million dollar salary (no lie), control over one of the most prominent arts organizations in the world, and millions of dollars of federal funding? The answer is depressing, and simple: Because we, as a culture, think business people should be in control of every damn thing. This is their cultural moment. Eventually, it’ll pass, and we’ll put education back in the hands of educators, arts back in the hands of artists and music back in the hands of musicians, but it’s not going to happen while we’re listening to people like Michael Kaiser tell us what should and should not be culturally and artistically important.

There’s no shame in being a businessman who knows a lot about making an arts org profitable without knowing a lot about the arts. There is, however, a careening truckload of shame in standing on a soapbox to chastise an entire generation for being artistically ignorant when the real issue is your own ignorance.

Young artists: seize control of the narrative! In other words: Keep doing what you already do. There are many of us who see you.

Michael Kaiser: Leave your office and go to an arts event that doesn’t have valet parking.

Labels: , , , , ,


«Oldest ‹Older 201 – 227 of 227
At January 28, 2019 at 10:39 PM , Blogger Mike Rock said...

thanks for sharing it i found it so amazing VPN For PC

At January 29, 2019 at 9:57 PM , Blogger Ankita Singh said...

Nice and valuable post. I really like this amazing and interesting blog. Really cool and wonderful blog.

At January 29, 2019 at 10:39 PM , Blogger Ankita Singh said...

Nice post!!.. Thanks for sharing your wonderful post. Informative and very entertaining. Thanks a lot.

At January 30, 2019 at 2:35 AM , Blogger Theresa Delcas said...

My Assignment Services, is well-known for its 24-hour online Assignment Help on the WhatsApp platform. Students can reach out to us with their queries at any point of the day or night and get the most effective solutions for them. University assessments have to follow specific referencing and citation styles like Harvard, APA, Chicago and MLA. Also, they should be referenced only from credible academic sources. Our best online academic help experts talk about how to select and evaluate the right academic sources, which will help you clear all your academic-related doubts. Assignment Help Indonesia by My Assignment Services has been trusted by millions of students worldwide for over a decade. We have been providing complete academic assistance to students struggling with their college and university tasks. We have a team of dedicated subject matter experts who maintain a 100% record of submitting orders well before the deadline. This also gives the students some time to review them and ask for revisions, if needed. You can trust our academic ghostwriters completely to get best quality write-ups including case studies, research proposals, dissertations and Australian Assignment Help, and more.

At January 31, 2019 at 4:04 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Nice Post
My name is Joseph Wong and thanks for sharing this information.
Get the best Finance Assignment Help in Australia.

At January 31, 2019 at 4:29 AM , Blogger JohnSmith said...

Finally, when you are done with your dissertation writing services UK, make sure you have sent it to the respective source or saved it in your drive. It’s always better to follow these assignment helper tips rather than moving around with guilt of unfinished work hanging over you. We know that every student faces this situation during their academic life and when you have lots and lots to do, a proper way to manage your Dissertation Help Online you spend less time getting more adept.

At February 1, 2019 at 12:28 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

time clock is an automatic work hours tracker. Using your device location to calculate how much you should be earning. All without having to remember to clock in or out. Designed for contractors, hourly employees and freelancers that go to various locations to work. If you have to write your work log and hand in time sheets, this is the perfect time sheet app for you!

کلاهبرداری اینترنتی
کلاهبرداری تلفنی
کلاهبرداری پیامکی

At February 1, 2019 at 3:00 AM , Blogger Gagan said...

Thanks a lot for sharing and I hope you will update it :)

Mobile Repairing Institute in Delhi ABCMIT
Mobile Repairing Course in Delhi Abcmobileinstitute
Digimanthan Digital Marketing Institute in Delhi

At February 2, 2019 at 3:06 AM , Blogger Sharon Wood said...

Norton Tech Support Number
Avast Antivirus Phone Number
McAfee Customer Service Number

At February 3, 2019 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Barry Allen said...

Cartoon HD APK is an entertaining application for the two main mobile operating systems in the world; Android and iOS. It is compatible with Windows platforms as well. This app is originally developed to entertain you with high definition quality movies and TV shows.

At February 5, 2019 at 4:28 AM , Blogger Dylan Eales said...

Thanks for this informative content. It’s really good. Actually, I want to share some thoughts and reviews about an assignment help Australia company and the brand name is SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT. Here, I am working as an Academic Expert. To look at our online academic assistants who provide reference assignment including Accounting, Management, Finance, IT, Economics, Computer Science, Nursing, Marketing; all Academic subjects to University Students all over the Australia or even worldwide, Here is a big online assignment help providers who help students to get HD grades according to assessment guidelines and instructions. Those who are searching for assignment help Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide etc. get a touch with Sample Assignment - the No.1 Assignment provider. Any student really wants to buy an assignment at the cheapest price goes to our branded website and has a look and opts our amazing and informative services, you can avail of our convenient online assignment help and samples available on our website for free. You can download it if you want. Are you ready to get 100 out of 100 in your university assessment? We assign the best writer according to the subject for your academic problems and provide support in assignment writing services. Our Customer Care Executives are available 24*7 hours to assist you in the best possible manner. Phone calls and emails are the best methods used by assignment provider.

At February 5, 2019 at 4:52 PM , Blogger FloridaVacation Rentalsbyowners said...

Islamorada Vacation Rentals
Fort Lauderdale Vacation Rentals

At February 7, 2019 at 12:16 AM , Blogger zaved khan said...

"I’m really loving the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?
A handful of my blog visitors have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome."
Regards: Eve Hunt

At February 8, 2019 at 1:19 AM , Blogger Siena William said...

This is because there are a multitude of online academic help services and picking the best is always going to be a trial and error method. However, My Assignment Services is a well-established and prominent name in providing high-quality assignmenthelp to students since almost a decade. You can trust our academic ghostwriters completely to get best quality write-ups including case studies, research proposals, dissertations and theses, and more. All students looking for assignment help Sydney can reach us and avail the best online assignment help Sydney from our academic experts. Our primary motive is not only to provide you with the best help but also to make your academic journey smooth. students often have to prepare multiple documents, quizzes and surprise tests. This is the main reason why most students search for Australian assignment help over the internet and choose only the most proficient and trusted academic writing experts. A Nursing assignment help students understand new policies and analyses existing ones, to learn how to manage the community healthcare system efficiently.

At February 11, 2019 at 10:01 PM , Blogger shaihemraj77 said...

Great post share with us.
how to jailbreak firestick

At February 12, 2019 at 3:29 AM , Blogger Dale Morris said...

Click here |Norton Tech support number
Click here |McAfee support phone number
Click here |Malwarebytes support
Click here |Hp printer support mac
Click here |Canon printer support help

At February 12, 2019 at 10:03 PM , Blogger demon smith said...

Give Opportunity to our experts to help with writing homework.Students assignment help is well known brand in assignment writing field.send us email at

At February 12, 2019 at 10:59 PM , Blogger Nikki Heysen said...

Our writers always keeps masters and Ph.D. degrees from the eminent universities across the world. experts are here and they are working to help. Our expert will easily reduce your academic pressure and give the best Assignment Help services online.

At February 12, 2019 at 11:26 PM , Blogger Trakingpro said...

It was a very nice post thanks for sharing such good blog post here! keep update more here

At February 14, 2019 at 2:00 AM , Blogger Students Assignment Help said...

Receive assignment helper UK services at Students Assignment Help. Our expert assignment writers have gained their degrees from the most reputed universities of the UK, Australia, and Singapore. They are expert in homework writing with the standard quality.

At February 15, 2019 at 3:53 AM , Blogger Maria Garcia said...

A great read that I am sure will help the students a lot in their assignment writing process. I am assignment help expert at an organisation called My Assignment Services which is one of the oldest and most popular assignment help provider. Thousands of students have taken the help of assignment expert like me to get guidance in their assignments, professional mentoring in academics and live session tutoring. One of the most prestigious service that we offer is of corporate law assignment help that law students can take. Our team has written more than 1000 law assignments in the previous year itself where approximately 94% of assignments secured a high grade. Get a personalised guidance from assignment expert at My Assignment Services today and get on an academic journey of quality assessment answers, 100% plagiarism free assignment and well-researched answers. We offer a pre-booking feature as well!

At February 15, 2019 at 5:34 AM , Blogger seo Reputeinfosystems said...

this is really nice post and i would like to add some thing similar so the user can also get the benefits of this. Check Here

At February 15, 2019 at 2:30 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Mobdro For Smart Tv
Mobdro Apk

At February 19, 2019 at 9:14 AM , Blogger Priyanka Jindal said...

Very Informative! This blog is great source of information which is very useful for me. Thank you very much for sharing this! seo service in gurgaon

At February 20, 2019 at 11:46 PM , Blogger SEO wurfel said...

HY! nice post. thankyou for sharing the article.
Can you people tell me that if anyone ever tried the
krogerfeedback? If someone had tried then help me in form filling thanks

At February 21, 2019 at 11:41 PM , Blogger johny parkar said...

There are many antivirus software on the market and while making a choice of the perfect antivirus software you need to be very careful. An antivirus solution should be capable of protecting your device against a large number of malware activities. Antivirus Support Phone Number +1-844-534-8410
McAfee antivirus service provider to clarify each and every issue within stipulated time period.
Antivirus Support Phone Number
Avast Customer Support Number
AVG Support Phone Number
AVG Customer Service Number
Norton Toll free Number
Norton Customer Support Number
Mcafee Help Number
Mcafee Phone Number
AVG antivirus Support Number
Avast Antivirus Phone Number
antivirus tech service

At February 22, 2019 at 2:11 AM , Blogger quickbookshelps said...

You would be surprised if you get an opportunity to witness yourself the way and steps which are involved to fix your issues. By providing 24x7 all time services we try our best so that our customer will feel more comfortable while talking with the technicians and with our services and can get our services at any time they feel like Which is basically set by keeping all the needs and requirements of our customers in our mind Our QuickBooks Toll Free Number +1-888-499-5520 is available on our website which gives you many other important information’s related to our services as well

«Oldest ‹Older 201 – 227 of 227

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home