A tiny crew of dedicated fans huddle together in raked seats watching a show, and the first words out of their mouths are
"Why does God hate us?"
They're watching a traditional duel between the New York visitors and the Home Team.
Why do I think of this as a metaphor for the rivalry between local Boston [i.e.: "fringe"] theatres versus the big-barn New York shows?
Well, for one thing I know that "the curse" was actually the raw fact that for years the bigger-budget Yankees could Buy a pennant when the Red Sox really couldn't --- and even today when New York sends up yet another National Tour of a Big Apple warhorse, the producers buy so much ink and air- and tube-time that people with big money enough to pay the prices think the visiting team is the only one in town. So the metaphor fits there.
For another, I looked through the cast-list and out of 14 excellent performers, only THREE include any New England appearances (except maybe an occasional National Tour). One of them worked once at "North Shore" and another in Newburyport. Only one (admittedly a "co-star" in a beautifully integrated, excellent ensemble) has a Boston credit --- she's a Conservatory graduate --- but her roles in two SpeakEasy shows are lumped, late in her bio, under "Other Theater:"
[Further evidence: the show rehearsed In New York City!]
Why the prejudice against Boston theater?
Well, to push the metaphor one step further, the original cause for "the curse" in most people's minds was Harry Frazee selling Babe Ruth's contract to the New York Yankees. And the rumor is that he needed the money to back a musical called "No, No Nanette"! And there's your real answer:
The baseball-crazed Boston GLOBE has never forgiven Boston Theater for the loss of the second-best hitter (after Ted Williams) the game has produced, and the paper has hated and degraded all local theatrical companies ever since. (The only local company the GLOBE uncritically adores in actually across the river in Cambridge. Call That "The curse" whydon'cha!)
That's about as true as any other theory I've heard.
So go see the show; I won't review it because I had to see a preview and, though I saw nothing wrong with it, there might still be changes before press-night. It's a good show well produced and performed --- and it might even think of itself as in "an out-of-town try-out" before a Braodway bid.
But remember: it's not about Baseball...
And it Could be about theater...
Break a leg all!
( a k a larry stark )