Now that we've escaped the mind-numbing, truth-mangling insanity of working at the Ivory Theatre, now that we never again have to talk to Donna Perrino, the crazy bitch who "managed" the theatre (in the loosest possible sense of that word), I can stand back, free of Pepto and Pepcid both, and look back on the misadventures of the past eighteen months a little more objectively. Was it worth it? Tough to say. The Ivory was the worst place to work we've ever encountered in our 17 years of operation...


Back in the fall, when we opened the Ivory with Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll, the St. Louis Archdiocese successfully got a court order to shut down our preview, though they backed off when they saw how stupid they were being, and the rest of the run went on as scheduled. But it was all over the papers, on TV news, all over the web -- and though it was a horrible, chaotic mess we had to wade through, it did pretty much permanently cement our reputation as "the bad boy of musical theatre." How many other musical theatre companies have been shut down by the Archdiocese? Hmmm...???

Yeah, I didn't think so.

And with Assassins in March, we sold out several nights and came close on others -- and this in a house that held 202, about 50 seats more than we had at the ArtLoft. So it was good we were in a bigger house for Assassins. And though the Ivory never felt aesthetically right for the kind of work New Line does, it really had the perfect look for Assassins. The red velvet curtains and all the conventional theatre trappings really made it feel "historical," like it was Booth's theatre, like he had invited us all into his home to tell this story. And the horror of the show played out more ironically and more disturbingly in this old-fashioned-looking "jewel box" theatre than it would have in a funky downtown blackbox.

So was moving to the Ivory a mistake? Yes, in most ways it was. A really big mistake. But in other ways, it wasn't a bad way station for us. Staying there any longer would have put me in a mental hospital, but for these two particular shows we did there, maybe it wasn't quite as wrong as it sometimes felt...

Or maybe it's just easier for me to stand back and be philosophical now that WE'RE FREE!

Long Live the Musical!