Cricket's Notebook by Larry Stark - "Some Geographical Curiosities"
10:45 a m Thursday, 25 March, 1999:
The editor of The Boston GLOBE's Calendar just called to say that he agreed with the observations pointed out in the Cricket's Notebook for 17 March. "Our intention is to make it easy for people to find things," he said, "and you should see changes in the Calendar's THEATER DISTRICT listings as early as next week. The one listing that will not move is that for the New Tremont Street Playhouse, which logically should remain under DINNER THEATER."
Wednesday, 17 March, 1999: Some Geographical Curiosities
I was reading the Boston GLOBE Calendar last Thursday, and noticed something that had escaped my notice --- at least this graphically --- up till then. I mean that the Calendar (except in the summer) always starts with a list of plays being done in the "THEATER DISTRICT" after which it lists plays done "AROUND TOWN" and then "BEYOND BOSTON" and "OUT OF STATE" and then it goes on with "COMMUNITY" and "COLLEGES" and "DINNER THEATERS" and it finishes with "AUDITIONS".
I was reading the GLOBE Calendar to find a particular theatre; I needed their phone number, and I knew where they were located --- a block away from the Colonial Theatre --- but it wasn't listed as a "THEATER DISTRICT" theatre at all.
Only the Colonial and two shows at the Charles Playhouse were there. And I guess I can understand that. The Charles was first described to me as "the little house out behind the big house" i.e., it's literally across Warrenton Street from the back wall of the Shubert Theatre. If it's not in Boston's Theater District what is? And I have found The Wang, the Shubert, and Ye Wilbur Theatre listed under that Theater District heading in the past. No question here.
But look at this listing:
"The Wild Land" (till 28 March)
ASIA ONSTAGE/THE CHINESE CULTURE INSTITUTE
Tremont Theatre, 276 Tremont Street, BOSTON
When Boston Theatre Works uses that theatre, they insist it is "next to The Wang" --- and it is indeed in the same block. It's as close to The Wang as The Wang is to Ye Wilbur, actually, and they're all on the same side of the street.
Why aren't they all in 'The Boston THEATER DISTRICT" as defined by the GLOBE Calendar?
Then I started looking around, and found these:
"Joey And Maria's Comedy Wedding" Dinner theater
Tremont House Hotel, 275 Tremont Street, BOSTON
That's across the street, in the same block as the Shubert Theatre.
"When I'm Calling You: The Great Operetta Works of Romberg,
Friml & Herbert" (till 21 March)
57 Theatre Studio, 200 Stuart Street, BOSTON
That's only another block down the street from The Charles.
"Top Girls" (till 27 March)
Actors' Workshop, 40 Boylston Street, BOSTON
1(617)491-5019 (Ask for Peyton)
That one is across Tremont Street, but it's closer to the Colonial than Ye Wilbur or The Wang.
16 - 21 March
EMERSON MAJESTIC THEATRE
219 Tremont Street, BOSTON
And this theatre is located BETWEEN Ye Wilbur and The Colonial!
If the GLOBE headed that first category something like "THE BIG BARNS" or "BROADWAY HOUSES" the distinction might be meaningful --- except that "Shear Madness" takes place before an audience not much bigger than the one seeing "Top Girls" and neither one is a big Broadway barn by any means. However, the Colonial, the Charles and Ye Wilbur are all owned by the same company.
I suspect that the Calendar's "THEATER DISTRICT" listings are there less for reasons of geography than those of crass hypocrisy.