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    Boston-area arts letters

    Jered Fournier

    Musicals only part of story

    I read with interest Joel Brown’s article regarding the Cape Playhouse (“With ‘Odd Couple,’ Cape Playhouse pilots new course, g, June 7). As much as any new regime has the right and obligation to move in new directions, I strongly disagree with statements made by both Brown and Mark Cuddy regarding the productions and programming during my tenure as producing artistic director of the Cape Playhouse.

    This past 2013 season was the first season in which we produced only musicals. This was an experiment by our board of directors and myself in looking at our audience demographics. Musicals have never been the only focus of our programming, but I am proud of the audience response, support, and critical acclaim of our musical productions. As importantly, I take great pride in our casting and creative teams, who represented some of the best and most interesting theater artists working on Broadway and the national stage today.

    When it came to “classic” plays, more often than not, we would look at them in very contemporary terms, such as our production of “Inherit the Wind” starring Andre De Shields.


    One of the things that I have been most proud of achieving at the Playhouse was our focus on world, regional, and Cape premieres of not only musicals but also plays. A few examples include Amy Freed’s “The Beard of Avon,” Paul Rudnick’s “Regrets Only,” Charles Busch’s “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” “Moonlight and Magnolias,” “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Jay Johnson’s “The Two and Only,” “As Bees in Honey Drown,” “The Graduate,” and many more.

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    We were not, as Brown stated, “concentrated on dependable musicals.” If you look at our seasons, they included the world premieres of a new version of “The Rink” reconceived for the Cape Playhouse by Terrance McNally and John Kander, the regional premieres of such works as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” the world premiere of “They’re Playing His Songs: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch,” “The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith,” “No Way to Treat a Lady,” along with a host of, yes, classic and contemporary musicals such as “Hello Dolly,” “Legally Blonde,” “Hairspray,” and “Sweet Charity.”

    All in all, we offered a variety of programming that always looked toward the future and was not dependent on the past. For all the artists, designers, and creative teams that worked at the Playhouse over the last 15 years, I am disappointed that better research was not done in writing this story.


    Producing artistic director,

    Cape Playhouse, 1999-2013

    New York City

    A must-see in D.C.

    My sister sent me Sebastian Smee’s review of the Degas/Cassatt show (“Degas and Cassatt: two like minds,” SundayArts, May 25) because we will be in Washington, D.C., at the end of July and the show was on our “must-see” list. Smee’s article was superb, insightful, well-written, totally wonderful and a thousand times better than the review that appeared in The New York Times. The article will accompany us when we see the show, and thanks to Smee we will have a much deeper appreciation of what we will be seeing.



    Princeton, N.J.

    Where’s the art?

    Regarding the Ian Hamilton Finlay exhibit at the deCordova (“Reaping what we sow,” g, June 6): More outsider, autodidactic nonsense. Where’s the art? And why is this becoming the age of the curator (often celebrated more than the art/artist)? The show is a joke!



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