Some New Year's resolutions for arts and entertainment

January 5, 2014 

I'm not sure anybody actually makes New Year's resolutions. Anyone who does make them keeps them private, because they've learned that the odds of adhering to a significant change in lifestyle is slim.

I've certainly never stuck to one myself.

So for 2014, I'm making resolutions for other people. Theoretical resolutions for theoretical people involved in one way or another in arts and entertainment. They still won't be kept, but at least I won't be the one who fails to keep them.

As an artist, I resolve to stop using such words as "deconstructed," "reimagined," "interactive" and "multi-disciplinary" to describe my work. I realize that those words have been so over-used and misused that they don't mean much of anything anymore, if they meant much of anything to begin with.

As the artistic director of a theater, I resolve never again to subject the public to an Andrew Lloyd-Webber show. Sir Andrew's mix of plagiarism and pretention may have fooled all of the people some of the time, but there are too many great musicals available, and too few reasons to produce bad ones.

While I'm at it, I'll just resolve to refrain from staging any musical from the 1980s, with the possible exception of "Les Miserables." That was a nasty era for musical theater and audiences should be allowed to forget it.

And as someone who runs an Equity theatre company, I resolve to try to cast locally more often. The Bradenton/Sarasota area has tons of great actors, and St. Petersburg has tons more just a half-hour away. Just because an actor lives in New York doesn't make him or her better than one who lives here. Every time I cast local actors I help them make a living and encourage them to stay here, and I make the performing arts a little stronger.

As an audience member, I resolve to take the plastic wrap off my candy in the lobby before the show starts, or to wait until intermission. If I really can't wait, I'll at least have the courtesy to unwrap it quickly so I'll only bother people for a second or two.

And, if I'm attending a play and everyone else laughs at a line I didn't quite hear, I resolve not to whisper "What did he say?" to the person sitting next me and then

have that person whisper the line back to me. It's annoying to the people seated around me, and I'm probably not going think the line is funny when it's told to me that way.

As a touring performer, I resolve to put forth a little effort when I'm talking to a local journalist. I will remember that he's not the idiot who misquoted me 15 years ago or who wrote that nasty review in my college newspaper, and that he just wants to write a good story so that people will read it and buy tickets to my show. Since my publicist practically begged the journalist to interview me, I'll try to be nice. Maybe I'll even have a joke or an anecdote ready for him so that when people read the story he writes I'll seem like I'm, y'know, entertaining.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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