The Importance of Theatre in Today's Society
In honor of the 2019 Tony® Awards, we’re celebrating with Broadway Week on One-on-One. Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Tony®️ Award-winning powerhouse Broadway producer, Eva Price, to talk about her current smash, Oklahoma!, and why theatre matters.
"Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! Well I've got a beautiful feeling... everything's going my way! That's a different Oklahoma! 76 years young. That it is an... that is Eva Price, Tony Award winning producer of Oklahoma! Over at Circle In The Square Theatre on 50th and Broadway. How you doing? I'm great. I'm great. You were just telling me you're from Boston and... no, you're not from Boston. You're from up in that area. But we have you in New York. You do all kinds of things on Broadway. You got some track record. But this Oklahoma! is a little bit different than what someone...? Than what Hugh Jackman did. That's for sure. Go ahead. It's a totally reinvented, reimagined Oklahoma! for the 21st century. It's for today's America. Define it. It's... For example? For example, we don't change a word of the text. We don't change a lyric of the music. But every single audience member sitting in that room thinks that they're watching a story about today's America. They... the questions about what it means to be in a community. The questions of what we do in a community when there is an outsider that we circle our wagons against. How we think about and react to gun violence in a gun-toting country. These were all things that were very present in 1906, when Oklahoma was about to become a state. Which is when our show takes place. They were present in 1943, when the musical was written. And they're still really present today. You political? A bit. A bit? I have progressive and liberal leanings. But our show isn't. Our show is really nonpartisan. Make that clear. Because there are... I imagine there are some folks who say, "Nah, I'm not buying it. Just based on what you said." Sure. You say? Because all we're doing in the show is revealing the text that was written in 1943. Which is a tribute to America. That's what it is. Right. It's a tribute to when a group of people are about to transition into something bigger than themselves. And in our case, it was about a territory becoming a state. That's not political. That's personal. That's historical. That's human. For some folks who don't understand what a producer is, as opposed to a artistic director, or director, the difference is? I like to think of it as everything that happens outside the doors of the theater is my job. So from the experience of someone buying a ticket, to the newspaper story, to the poster on the door of the theater, to how we strategize and market the show, to how we cast it, it's a little..."