« "The Ending Gate": Chapter 12 of THE STARTING GATE at St. Andrews | Main | Official Finisher! "Gateless" - Chapter 13 of THE STARTING GATE at St. Andrews »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Matt Sweeney

"As producers, theatres are looking for Great Plays, Great Artists to work with, and "angels" to help pay the bills. If you can get all three in on person, why on earth is this a bad thing?..."

Because by all accounts, even from those who support this "experiment", he is not a great artist and this is not a great play.

Tell me again why on Earth this is a good thing?

Sam Longoria

Paul, no offense, but you are not old enough yet to have retired from anything. No offense meant, and I hope none is taken. No offense. Really.

I'm a born Seattleite, and a Filmmaker, and a Los Angeles Stage Impresario. I Produced 3,125 stage shows in Hollywood, 6 shows a week for a dozen years 1985-1997. Since 2001, I Summer in Seattle, and Winter in LA.

You think the theatre racket is poor in Seattle? Try absolute zero, in the heat of LA. I tell people I made a small fortune in the theatre business. I started with a large fortune, is the problem.

LA has only the TV and Movie business, and aside from a few corporate and sponsored subscription houses, there's no live stage theatre.

Only a handful of sad, insane Indy stage people exist. Either building new little theatres from failed tattoo parlors, or being pushed out by new and more robust businesses, mostly offering tattoo removal. Oh, it's an ugly game.

If somebody does a revival of "Guys And Dolls" in New York, it will go up at the Winter Garden Theatre. If somebody does it in Los Angeles, it's in somebody's garage.

(I actually saw a fine Broadway show, at a converted garage. They hung sets and props on the hydraulic hoist, the cast performed around a spinet piano, and the "conversion" consisted of spreading newspapers over the oil pit). But I digress.

When somebody gets a show to last a whole weekend in LA, it's cause for celebration. If more than a couple weeks, there's talk - it's a HIT!

Newspapers are called, Agents are notified, somebody papers the house in case there's a review, and somebody else brings in a video camera. Cast and crew are excited - We're shooting a Pilot!

The resulting bad video and unintelligible sound is messengered, mailed, or pushed under the door of anybody who works at ABC. Receptionists, Janitors, and Security Guards receive "Pilots."

One in a hundred productions bothers to make follow-up calls, or scans email, mail, and phone for any "interest." There is none.

The entire LA Theatre game is revealed in these episodes - What we think as the LA theatre business, is really only the flaky edge of TV. Everybody wants to make a video of a stage show,
to sell to TV, to make yet more TV.

That's all preamble, so I could ask this - You guys get Angels who want to pay for a show, but somehow you feel accepting Patronage would be unethical or beneath you, because they'd be in the show?

My question is, and don't take this the wrong way - Are you crazy?

Say yes to the nice Angel, take the money, put him on the stage and do the show. Do a good job, and maybe he'll ask to do another show. If he isn't any good, I'm sure that will get mention by reviewers, and that generally takes care of the problem.

I know plenty of Producers who started by spending their inheritance on their star turn, and either were successful, or stuck to Producing thereafter. Sometimes it works, too!

Or, if you can't in good conscience let the Angel have his turn onstage, give me the nice Angel's name.

Best to you,

Sam Longoria
Theatre / Movies
Seattle / Hollywood


"If I were still writing plays I would be deeply tempted to write one about a rich CEO who thought he could write a play aggrandizing his own hero’s journey, and “leave the theatrics” to be provided by the theatre folks. It’s just such a richly absurd commentary, all by itself, on the state of our art form that it really doesn’t need much embellishment."
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, write this play. Please.

Thank you for writing this.


I'm going to ACT tonight to see a play written by a child. She was my student seven or eight years ago when she was in preschool. ACT fosters/harbors/promotes such a variety that it reminds me of a mutual fund (to keep the rich theme running)--diverse investment with the hope of staying afloat. I would love to see the play about the CEO too. It could also make a fine novel or movie. Think about it, please.

Lyam White

There is probably a serious discussion about "patronage" as a model for funding theater, a profoundly expensive art form if one makes even a pretense of paying artists for their time (which is why I'm happy to work for nominal stipends if the project is worthy, but am also grateful when UMO gives me an opportunity to make new, innovative, highly personal work for a reasonable hourly wage). Given how often the work I do has been subsidized by grants, I'm ultimately rather sanguine about the notion of receiving money from a wealthy individual, provided the individual has the good sense and impeccable taste to leave my collaborators and me to the work we do and the choices we make. And if it's naive to imagine that generators of wealth will have that good taste and good sense, well, it's probably also naive to imagine that the state would do so, but we've managed, so far, to act in good faith without compromising our vision, and to receive the grants offered. In many ways, an individual benefactor might be preferable to a corporate sponsorship, given the capital-focused groupthink of corporations ... but then, my own flavor of work could probably find kindred spirits in independent record labels and such, so maybe there's even a way down that path that doesn't suck.

The problem is, there isn't much point in a serious discussion of patronage v. other models of funding here, because by all accounts, "Seven Ways to Get There" isn't an example of patronage, really. It has some of the hallmarks (rich benefactor, artists getting paid), but this doesn't because there was an artist or group of artists that Clark wanted to subsidize in doing their own work. It exists because a generator of wealth felt (apparently because he's never seen a contemporary play) that a story about the inner turmoil of a generator of wealth, as told by way of light drama disguised as dark comedy, is something urgently needed on the American stage.

There has been some rumbling about our misgivings being about Clark not being the "right kind of people," another example of our effete/elitist snobbery, and I'm sure there's some of that happening. But I think we can reasonably object to wealth being the deciding factor as to which stories are told.

Though I must say, Sam's argument amuses. I don't know how instructive it is, but I imagine there might be something to it.


I do not recognize Sam Longoria's description of Los Angeles theater. I'm sure it's out here, somewhere, but what he's doing is kind of like describing Pioneer Square solely through anecdotes about its homeless population. It's a very "New York" hot-take on a world I spend a lot of time in.
At the moment, I'm working on a new play by well-known writer Octavio Solis. It's a world-premiere that will be performed site-specifically, at a local horse ranch. It's very relevant, about the struggle for water between northern California's ranchers and the native Americans there. After its run here in LA, we're taking it north to Siskiyou, where the events of the story are set. I am being paid for my work, and among the cast and crew, I have yet to identify a single "sad, insane Indy stage person."
If Mr. Longoria is looking to revivals of "Guys and Dolls" for artistic satisfaction - well, perhaps that his first mistake.

Paul Mullin

Thanks, Billy. I appreciate the alternative perspective, as, of course, and as you know, the Greater Los Angeles area has been home to more world premieres of my plays than any other city.

And I like to remember myself as pretty good at writing plays while I did it.

Self-indulgence of the senescent, perhaps, but I'll put any one of my plays against Mr. Dwayne Clark's any day, anywhere.

And John Langs should know better.

Ima cut him some slack and assume he HAS learned better since. But since I don't go to theatre any more, I really have no way of knowing.

Love and gratitude always to you.


Ezra Buzzington

Hey, Langoria. Stick to uncredited work in film. You clearly know absolutely nothing about LA theatre.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

TypePad Profile

Get updates on my activity. Follow me on my Profile.
My Photo

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter