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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter gives an outline of Sondheim’s shows performed in the subsidized theater in Europe and their history up until 2010. Government-funded theaters were once a natural place for experiment, now lack of subsidy prompts the question: are Sondheim’s shows being exploited to be “respectable” crowd pleasers by the up-market venues, or can they retain some of their challenging, conceptual origins? Should they be performed by opera houses at all? (If not there, then where should they be performed?) Is Sondheim’s work a barometer for our theatrical times? In the future, how can theaters retain the real artistic quest of these works by delving more deeply, more challengingly into their conceptual framework? Will the values of commercial theater and financial conservatism dictate how these pieces are produced?

Keywords: opera houses, subsidized theatre, commercial theater, studio theater, conceptual productions, workshops, theatrical innovation, word setting, Arts Council, economics

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