How do you know when you’ve found your artistic home? I think it’s a lot like finding your soul mate - you just know. When you’re there, it feels like…well, home. The Signature Theatre is my artistic home, and they are in a bit of a tight spot, because they’ve decided to be daring and go all out to create new art, and a home for more artists. And NOT charge a million bucks a ticket for it. So, they need a little help. (For the full story on the new theatre, go to www.signaturetheatre.org. Basically, it's amazing and it cost a bajillion dollars and it's supposed to open in January and they've come up short. I erased their pitch here for my personal slice. But you should go read about it.)
The suggested ask was, “20 people at $100 each,” but where I come from, that’s a lot of dough. Yes, I have friends who can afford to do that (and I hope they will) but I also have two parents who were/have been out of work in the past year. I also have friends and family with enormous medical bills and familial obligations. I know that giving to charity around the holidays is often one of the hardest things to do. But, as my mom has told me, “It’s not really charity, if it doesn’t cost you anything.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I have 200 friends and acquaintances who are cool enough to give $10 to become a part of the largest theatre center built in NYC since Lincoln Center.
This is not another “non-profit” takeover of a Broadway house. This is an honest-to-goodness, brand-spanking new Off-Broadway theatre space. With three rentable theatres! And, since many of us have been mourning the loss of spaces like the Ohio, the Zipper Factory, the Julia Miles, and many others in the course of the past few years, it may be time to stop mourning and just help build a new one. And the key thing is – we’ll be buying not only a theatre, but also helping fund what the Signature has named the Decade of Access:
Every seat to every show for ten years - $25. No joke.
So, despite the holidays and the economy, here’s my pitch. This theatre really means something to me, and if you love good theatre, it probably means something to you, too.
And thank you, thank you, thank you.
WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE THE SIGNATURE THEATRE $10
BY JANUARY LaVOY
-If you’ve ever felt guilty about asking your friends for money for a cause, and you’d like for me to be automatically beholden to you the next time you do, please click here and donate $10.
-If you’ve ever seen a show at the Signature, or ANY great theatre, for a discounted price, or are hoping to in the future and would like to “pay it forward”, please click here and donate $10.
-If I’ve ever gotten you a free or extremely cheap ticket to a show at the Signature (there are quite a few of you and you know who you are) and you don’t want to burn in hell, please click here and donate $10.
-If you think I’ve ever spent more than $10 to see you in a show, please click here and donate $10.
-If you believe in talent and taste and the idea that theatre in NYC can be at once mainstream, accessible, and risky, please click here and donate $10.
-If you love puppies, please click here and donate $10.
-If you’ve not gotten me a birthday present yet, and would like to, please click here and donate $10. (as I'm writing this, it's t-minus 5 hours to my birthday. Just sayin'.)
-If you saw or heard about or were affected by last season’s stunning Signature revival of ANGELS IN AMERICA, if your life was in any way changed by that play (as so many have been) and you would like to acknowledge that the Signature was the first NYC theatre to revive that show in a generation, please click here and donate $10.
-If you believe in the work of playwrights like August Wilson, Tony Kushner, Edward Albee, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Maria Irene Fornes, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, Lee Blessing, Arthur Miller, Lanford Wilson, Charles Mee, Horton Foote, Romulus Linney, and John Guare, and think that we need to have an American theatre that supports, nurtures, and represents future gifted playwrights such as these, please click here and donate $10.
-If you trust me, or respect my aesthetic, please know that this is my chosen artistic home of all the places I’ve ever worked. If you’d like to support it for that reason, please click here and donate $10.
-If you like me – if you really, really like me - please click here and donate $10.
-If you like Edward Norton, and you want him to like you*, please click here and donate $10.
-If you’re interested in creating, developing, and maintaining a more diverse audience for theatre in New York this is one way to do it. Consider that people of all ages, economic backgrounds, races, and social traditions can generally afford to come and see a play for $25 – that’s less than a movie ticket, popcorn, and soda - and it might just change their life. Wanna see if it works? Trust me, it does - just click here and donate $10.
-If you’ve ever worked with me and think that I have a modicum of talent, you might wish to donate $10 to the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, Colorado. Oh, wait – the NTC, which was an intensive, 3-year training program that gave 8 free MFA’s per year to hard working, committed, willing young actors, has failed due to lack of funding. It will close its doors forever after the class of ’12 graduates in April. It was an expenditure that the board of the Denver Center no longer found sustainable.
Wow. How awkward.
Well, in lieu of flowers, this NTC grad requests donations to the Signature Theatre. Please click here and donate $10.
-If you want to support Jim Houghton, a visionary artistic director who goes out on every limb and waits for it to break, who would rather fail than sell out his creative collaborators, and who announced that the Signature WOULD institute this $25 ticket policy BEFORE he had the money to fund it (much to the chagrin of some board members – I was there, I saw it) and if you’ve ever been frustrated by the seeming carelessness, impotence, and detachment of an artistic director and want to support one who’s doing it all right - please click here and donate $10.
-If you listen to NPR all the time and have never donated any money to them, you can kinda make up for it here by donating $5, then going over to npr.org and donating $5 there.
-If you absolutely cannot see your way to donating $10 or $5 or $1 to support the Signature Theatre, I understand. Please click here to go to my kickstarter page to support Kim Kardashian’s post-divorce therapy sessions instead. (Because, by the way, if we don’t support theatre, someday that bull@#*% is all that will be left to watch.
*Edward Norton, who is on the Signature’s board and spearheading this grassroots effort, will probably not like you personally, unless you’ve already met him and are friendly enough with him to drop him a note and say, “hey, Ed – I donated to your Signature fundraiser thing.” Of course, if you’re already close friends, he’ll probably only like you a little bit more. Or maybe he’ll just have expected it from you. I don’t know – you’re closer to him than I am. YOU should know.