Yes, change is in the air. As state theater executives learned this past Monday, I've decided it's finally time to sever all connections with EncoreMichigan.com and The Wilde Awards, two local institutions I co-founded over the past 16 years.
It was an amicable split, driven by directions in which the company is going that make me uncomfortable. However, I wish owner David Kiley well; financing EncoreMichigan.com has been a major problem since day one, and much of its budget has come out of his own pocket since he assumed control of the company. And so I thank him for his continued efforts on behalf of the theater community, a community that doesn't always appreciate the hard work done by others on its behalf. (I also thank him for putting up with me and the "hard-ass" positions I've taken throughout his time as owner. We might not have always agreed on things, but we have always agreed professionally and respectfully.)
So what does this mean for me and my future?
Between The Lines has invited me to return on a fairly regular basis to once again help increase its theater coverage with more previews and interviews, the first of which appeared a couple of weeks ago. I’ll be back with more stories in the coming weeks.
In addition, although my reviewing days are over (the unofficial count stands at 629, not including those I wrote for the Observer & Eccentric newspapers way back in the 1970s and early ‘80s), I plan to continue using this blog to share my thoughts on every show I see. These won't be formal reviews, but a mix of short and not-so-short write-ups that focus on whatever aspect or aspects of a production catch my attention. And so if I discuss a production you're involved with and you're not mentioned, please don't take it as a slight. Or that I didn't like your work. It simply means my focus was on something else and nothing more.
I'll also use this blog to chat about whatever else about the industry pops into my mind at any given moment.
Plus, I’m still continuing to investigate new and innovative ways to promote our theaters. But, as seen with both EncoreMichigan.com since its inception and a proposed online magazine Jenn McKee and I discussed with industry leaders a few months back, the stumbling block is always how to generate enough revenue to pay people for their time and keep the project afloat. So who knows what the future may bring.
Or I may finally hang up my "gone fishing" sign (despite the fact I hate fishing). We'll see.
But for now, I'll be back on Monday with my thoughts on Open Book Theatre's fourth-season opener. (Here's a spoiler warning for you: I recommend it!)