Last night and this morning I was reviewing the spreadsheet I've set up of all the shows I've seen this year. It was rather pleasant to reflect on all the wonderful things I've gotten to see this year.
And make no mistake--this year's season was filled with many delights. Sure, there were some shows that were subpar, but they still beat out a night in front of the television watching anything at all.
All told, I've seen more than 80 shows in the past 11 months. A dozen of those were from out-of-town, but all the rest were here in Lansing. That includes two operas, but does not include the high school shows, ballets, or concerts that I went to. Nor does it count the shows I saw more than once, though I must confess that's happening a lot less in my life these days. It's one of the things that I miss: seeing the same show multiple times.
I really do feel blessed and fortunate to be able to attend so much theater and to live in a town where the theater community is so incredibly vibrant. There will always be people who complain about what is not happening or what is wrong, but I am so frequently overwhelmed by the magnitude of what is going right and what is interesting and compelling, that I often find the complaints unworthy.
There is a survey being offered at many of the local theaters that is trying to get a view of the overall theatrical community and audiences. I've filled it out several times now. One of the questions that I steadfastly refuse to answer is the one asking which company is my favorite. I don't have one. If I were told that for the next two years I could go to only one theater, I don't know which I'd choose. Each group has something different about it to love. Each company is important for a different reason. Local theater truly is an ecosystem, not a hierarchy.