Nov 22, 2011

Re-Breaking News

At American Theatre, we often write about artists and plays before they reach the wider consciousness, or at least the stage of a major media town. When I was researching Tracy Letts last year, for instance, for a piece about August: Osage County in Oregon Shakes' Illuminations, I discovered that American Theatre profiled him and the play when it premiered at Steppenwolf back in 2007, which means we didn't cover that play's subsequent meteoric ascent in our pages, except to note the prizes it went on to win. It's one reason American Theatre is such a hard pitch for freelancers: If you're not plugged into the whole regional scene (and/or you don't read the magazine religiously), you're less likely to know which emerging writers we've already written about before their big national splash. Want to write about that hot new playwright at Humana or Steppenwolf? Better make sure we didn't already go there.

It's a modest example, but last May I wrote about Holland Taylor's one-woman show as late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, which she had the Lone Star State-sized cojones to debut in Galveston under the title Money, Marbles, and Chalk. It's now on a big stage in Chicago under the name Ann. So I thought, stealing a favorite trick from Fresh Air's Terry Gross, who deftly repurposes her interviews when someone she talked to years ago is in the news again, we could post the news piece (which never appeared online till now) as a reminder that the magazine is on the case.

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