Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bring on the “Bad Years,” Rutland!

Bruce Bouchard at Rutland’s Paramount Theater is onto something big and important.

Recognizing that Vermont audiences in the summer are too often saturated with an extraordinary outpouring of high-quality art, both visual and performing (including film!), from Mozart Festivals to Balloon Festivals, to Folk Festivals, to Open Studios and Gallery Walks, and even farmers’ markets that showcase local talent, Mr. Bouchard has initiated a whole new project aimed at developing new audiences and bringing the Paramount into the center of Rutland’s ongoing renaissance.

He wants to make Rutland, and in particular the Paramount, a “destination for the development of new American Musicals.” His first project is "Tales from the Bad Years" from Larson Award-winners Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk and stars several tried-and-true Broadway pros.

This effort is important for a lot of reasons.

First, it is an important first step in taking advantage of Rutland’s unique position as Vermont’s “New York City/AMTRAK Gateway.”

Second, it provides a relatively inexpensive place to work out the kinks of a new musical theater experience before it reaches the fabled footlights of forty-second street and New York's highly critical reviewers.

Third, it establishes Rutland as a place where audiences will come from all over to see new works in development which means they are either producers looking for the next “hot” cultural property, or they are sophisticated cultural tourists looking for a great place to experience great art before anyone else.

Fourth, it’s a seriously big feather in Rutland’s cap. Imagine a Broadway playbill two years from now—“having been significantly revised during its run at the Paramount Theater in Rutland Vermont back in 2008, "Tales from the Bad Years" tells the gripping story of …..”

From such small sentence fragments come big dreams. Rutland’s dreams.

It’s a shame that Bruce Bouchard wasn’t around 30 years ago to place this project at the Paramount back in the 70s. But, as we all know, getting into this game late is far better than never getting into it at all. Just imagine what Rutland could be like 30 years from now if this program works as Mr. Bouchard intends it to.

If any one reading this has time, head to Rutland on the 21st and 22nd. You’ll be in on the ground floor of something really important, I promise.

No comments: