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ARTS NOTES

Theater's top dogs don't tax the payroll

October 26, 2003|Don Shirley

Michael Healey's "The Drawer Boy" has topped American Theatre magazine's annual list of the most scheduled plays for the coming season in the nation's resident theaters.

"The Drawer Boy" is a Canadian play -- the first play written outside the United States to make the top of the list, which is in its 10th year. Healey's play is scheduled for 16 productions this season, two more than runner-up "Proof" (which was last year's winner, with 29 productions in 2002-03).

"The Drawer Boy," in which a young actor invades the placid life of two World War II veterans on a farm in 1972, was seventh on last year's list. Its total then included a South Coast Repertory production in June.

"Topdog/Underdog," scheduled for this season at the Mark Taper Forum, is third on this year's list, followed by "The Santaland Diaries," and then a tie between "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" and "Stones in His Pockets" (which is also on the Taper season). As always, Shakespeare and the ubiquitous "A Christmas Carol" were disqualified from the list.

In an essay in American Theatre, Ben Cameron, executive director of the magazine's publisher, Theatre Communications Group, noted that the small casts of the top six plays add up to only 16 actors -- an indication of how nonprofit theaters are holding the line on costs during hard economic times.

-- Don Shirley

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