By Don Jordan, Intro by Jeffrey Schmidt
Every theater needs more subscribers. And we’re all trying different things to get them, hence this blog series. That’s why I thought having an Artistic Director who also subscribes to several theaters would be of value. The second blog in our series about subscriptions comes from Don Jordan. One of the many great things about Don is the sheer joy he gets from attending theatre. He gets it. He sees it from many angles. And he’s also great to have in audience when you’re doing a comedy! This is notable because he is the Founding Artistic Director of Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre. You would think these things go hand in hand. No so. The amount of time, energy and blood it takes to run an arts organization is massive, yet he still finds the time to see just about every production in the DFW metroplex. Let me tell you. After working all day in a theater, I don’t always want to run over to another theater and spend my evening watching more theater.
Artistic Director Jeffrey Schmidt asked me if I would share a few thoughts on being a longtime subscriber to Theatre Three.
I myself am a theatre professional of more than 42 years. I worked at my first Equity (professional) theatre, the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, in 1976. In the intervening decades have worked professionally in 48 states, all across Canada and internationally, Broadway tours, Off-Broadway shows, regional theatre, summer stock, dinner theatre, outdoor drama, children’s theatre, and even spent some time doing stand-up comedy. In addition, the usual related industries such as film, television, radio, puppetry and other various and sundry endeavors have also been a part of my long life in the theatre.
All this is to say that I am a “lifer” as a theatre artist, but I am also something else, a lifelong theatre patron.
I have been fascinated and inspired by live theatre since my parents (both Salvation Army ministers) took me to see something they thought would be a good bible story—a production of the Richard Rodgers Broadway musical TWO BY TWO, starring Milton Berle, at the Dallas Summer Musicals when I was a boy.
The show was perhaps not quite what they had imagined, but it made a lasting impression on me—the immediacy and humanity of the story live onstage was unique and powerful, and that guy was funny!
I have a goal of trying to see a minimum of 100 productions each year, in DFW and throughout the nation, which is an average of about 2 a week. Sometimes I am asked “what kind of theatre I like” and my response is always the same—I LOVE GREAT theatre!
I enjoy a wide range of diverse material, from Shakespeare to Neil Simon to Stephen Sondheim, from Moliere to Mamet to Lin-Manuel Miranda, new plays, old plays musicals, dramas, comedies— so long as they are performed with a high degree of artistry, excellence, and professionalism. I have been attending Theatre Three performances since the early 1980s when I was home, and when I moved home from NYC to care for my ailing mother, I became a season ticket holder.
Theatre Three has over the decades provided a wide range of programming, with a sustained degree of professionalism and excellence, supporting outstanding artists and entertaining audiences alike.
My wife and I purchase theatre tickets and donate as widely as we can to as many of the DFW theatres as we can whose work meets the standard of excellence, presenting thoughtful, diverse, enlightening and entertaining work. We both find this work enriches our lives in so many ways, and we both know full well that season ticket holders and donors make possible the very existence of great professional regional theatre.
The American professional regional theatre, which has many roots in Dallas, including at Theatre Three, is a relatively new contribution to our national cultural heritage, having come about in my lifetime. I have seen the enormous benefits this national network of creativity has contributed across our nation. I believe it is my privilege and my responsibility to help this great treasure to endure and thrive for the benefit of all, now and in the future.
Thornton Wilder wrote
“I regard the theater as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
This is the power and magic of theatre–it fosters understanding, community and compassion. All for the price of a season ticket!