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Theater must change with times

September 30, 2007

"We need to build a new tradition of theater-going if the theater is to survive," says playwright Donald Margulies ["Let Imagination Blossom Again," Sept. 23].

This brings to mind my high school sophomore year (1937) in St. Louis. We had one legit theater, the American, which hosted all of the big-name traveling shows. As a youth, I was an avid reader, and I saw an article in the St. Louis newspaper about the decline in theater attendance. Why? The first cause was radio, then the talkies, both of which would seemingly sound the death knell for live theater. Without ever having seen a show at the American, I wrote an essay on why the theater would not die -- that it was important for audiences to connect directly with the actors.

Today's audiences often face a dumbing down in movie theaters, but I do think that live theater always will be adjusting to the times.

Conrad J. Doerr

Palm Springs

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