Say 20 TCG theaters across the country are doing the same new play in a given year. That title will show up on the most frequently produced list for that year. But if those same theaters, in an average four-play season, are all also producing three different "classic" plays, then those titles would not show up on the most frequently produced list. But the proper score at a given theater would be one new play for every three classic plays. And across the field nationally it would be one new play for sixty classic plays. This would represent not a lopsided predisposition toward new work, but rather the opposite.That's true enough, and it brings up the point that if you're using the rubric "classic," there's a much huger pool of plays and authors arrayed against new plays--just not necessarily any single blockbuster play that pops out and gets done all over the place in any given season. Which leads to Sobel's other observation, again making my point better than I did:
A quick hypothetical illustration:
Steppenwolf does Endgame, All My Sons, Mother Courage and Intimate Apparel.
Arena does Waiting for Godot, Tartuffe, Guys and Dolls and Intimate Apparel.
McCarter does Oedipus, The Children's Hour, The Most Happy Fella and Intimate Apparel.
Tally: 9 "classic" plays, none of which make the list of most frequent, but the one new play, Intimate Apparel does.
A related problem: The TCG lists are cross-sectional and not longitudinal. In other words, if Death of a Salesman receives three productions every year for 10 years it would not make the most frequently produced list in any year, despite receiving 30 productions in the decade, while Intimate Apparel, receiving 9 in one year and 16 in a second for a total of (a lesser) 25, would.This is why as a side project, I'm going through the TCG seasons data from 2000, mostly by hand, and I'm seeing some circumstantial evidence that points to a preponderance of classic work (particularly if you include Shakespeare, who's off the charts). But I'll withhold judgment until I'm done with the tally.