One of the most popular speakers was Vincent Gassetto, the principal of a public middle school in the Bronx whose students recently were treated to a performance of the “Spider-Man” musical and came home buzzing about it. For many, it was their first Broadway show.
Gassetto urged listeners not to overlook this diverse and enthusiastic talent pool as arts funding shrivel. “They’re going to be your writers, your producers, they’re going to be your actors and, at the very least, they’re going to be your audience members,” he said.
Other speakers included former Lincoln Center Director Gregory Mosher, who predicted that the subscription model for theater would soon become extinct, and Joseph Craig, a marketing expert, said lessons should be learned about how a dusty and dirty Las Vegas turned itself around in the late 1980s to become a booming draw in the late 1990s.
Roth stressed one key thing that makes Broadway different from other entertainment _ it is live. He underlined how important the live experience must remain for Broadway to remain a destination hub. “If we don’t, whether we’re telling stories we make up or stories we license, we will be cultural derivatives _ non-essentials,” he said.
“If we do, we’ll thrive on our cultural primacy. Not because we do it better than any other medium, but because we do what no other medium can do. We do it live. And that’s original.”
Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits