Looking back over the past decade noticeable changes have affected the world in which we live in. The past ten years have seen war, acts of terror, freedom and economic crisis, which have all had a lasting affect on the theatre industry on both sides of the Atlantic. Broadway was at the heart of the 2001 terrorist attacks and acted as a beacon of hope to many people whilst at the same time raising moral and political questions over the role of live entertainment in the post 9/11 world. London showed similar resilience after its own terrorist attacks some years later, closing for the first time since the Blitz of World War Two. Theatre in the largest sense changed. Plays became more political, shows became more challenging, and performances seemed truer. Looking at the evolution of theatre over this period shows how far the theatrical world has come. Boundaries have been pushed, audience expectations have been raised and the industry has shown it is an important financial supporter of the economy.
In both the West End and Broadway figures published have shown that each year more money is spent on theatre as attendance figures rise. Even through the past economic downturn, the London theatre industry has continued to flourish, with record numbers of attendees undeterred by rising ticket prices. Playwrights, composers and directors have struggled to find a voice that resonates with the modern age – an age where new media and technology rules peoples lives. Adapting to change rather than resisting it has allowed production companies to expand and develop. Tickets can be purchased on a mobile phone, audiences contacted at the click of a button and live theatre can be streamed all over the world. As Cole Porter said of the 1930s ‘Times have changed’, but so has the theatre industry.
I hope this website goes someway to describing and highlighting significant changes since the year 2000 in both London and New York. The site is by no means finished, and will continue to be updated and backdated. Please feel free to leave your comments and begin a discussion.
Personal Highlights of the past decade:
- 2000 The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
- 2001 Trevor Nunn’s production of My Fair Lady at the National Theatre
- 2004 National Theatre’s production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys
- 2005 Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.
- 2007 Parade at the Donmar Warehouse
- 2010 Howard Davies’ production of All My Sons, revived in the West End.
- 2011 Mark Rylance in Jerusalem in the West End for the second time
- 2002 – Thoroughly Modern Mille starring Sutton Foster at the Marquis Theatre
- 2005 – The stunning production of The Light in the Piazza at the Lincoln Centre
- 2007 – August: Osage County at the Imperial Theatre
- 2008 – Patti LuPone in Gypsy directed by Arthur Laurents
- 2009 – The incredible Next to Normal at the Booth Theatre starring Alice Ripley
- 2011 – The revival of Follies at the Marquis starring Bernadette Peters