One theme that comes up over and over again in conversations about the State of Musical Theater Today is the tragic lack of original musicals on Broadway. The way everything is an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation. No one's having new and creative ideas anymore!
Well, to be blunt, I kind of think this is bullshit.
I was twelve or thirteen when I first started reading and writing fan fiction, and I can't see myself stopping any time soon. Fan fiction is not only creative, I haven't simply been a part of great communities, but there are some really interesting dynamics going on with feminist refiguring of literary icons.
Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Brown at Birdland, photo by Marcel Fleiss
So, the good news, as I see it anyway, according to a recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA),
is that a third of Americans reported making art themselves. We're
making it in the form of music, photography, weaving, sewing, painting,
etc. Hooray! The bad news is that Americans are attending fewer
art-related events put on by professionals, like musical concerts,
plays and dance performances. Audiences are getting older and fewer
(for example at classical and jazz music events).