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Without Public Arts Funding, We Wouldn't Have Les MisÚrables
The Nation ^ | 01/07/2013 | Michelle Dean

Posted on 01/07/2013 9:34:05 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Here is a thing it is difficult to remember in the midst of its box office tidal wave: Les Misérables owes its birth to a debate over public arts funding. We think of blockbusters as antithetical to the high arts that public funding might typically support, but in Les Miz’s case at least, the relationship was symbiotic. Some might say parasitic, of course, but the story reveals that we don’t quite know who was leeching off of who.

Les Misérables was originally staged, in 1985, under the auspices of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a large portion of whose budget was provided by the English Arts Council. It wasn’t the RSC’s idea to develop it, mind you. Cameron Mackintosh, a private producer coming off a wave of success with 1981’s Cats, had been looking to put on an English version of the musical, which was developed and staged in Paris in French. And he wanted a good director for it, and found himself knocking on Trevor Nunn’s door, then the RSC’s co-artistic director.

Nunn and his co-director, John Caird (then an RSC Associate Director), substantially overhauled the plot and the script. They also gave the production what was, until the emaciated cheekbones of Anne Hathaway entered our collective consciousness, the musical’s signature image: the revolving stage. In other words, the look and content of the show was developed not just with public money, but by people who had made their careers in a publicly-supported arts environment.

Blockbusters, onstage and onscreen, are typically seen as ego projects. Production notes present a narrative of the great director who wants to implement his vision. Nunn, however, clearly had his eye on another prize altogether.

(Excerpt) Read more at thenation.com ...


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment; Society; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: lesmiserables; publicfunding; thearts
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1 posted on 01/07/2013 9:34:15 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Never seen it and don’t care.

Happily my congressmen is enemy number 1 of the endowment for the arts because he managed to cut $20 million from their budget. (He sought a $50 mil cut)


2 posted on 01/07/2013 9:36:51 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind
They present this fact like it is a good thing. The world is no better off with this musical than without it.

Don't get me wrong; I'm no Philistine. I just think that arts should be supported by those who care about the arts, and not the nation as a whole.

3 posted on 01/07/2013 9:37:40 AM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Gee.....and here dumb ass old me thought Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables in 1862. Who’d a thunk they actually had public funding then?


4 posted on 01/07/2013 9:38:41 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: SeekAndFind

Note: They are talking about the play not the book. To which I say, So? If entertainment can’t pay for itself then it’s not needed.


5 posted on 01/07/2013 9:39:47 AM PST by circlecity
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To: SeekAndFind
There are so many logical fallacies in the author's article it's hard to know where to begin. Public funding is not necessary for great art, period. The Zurich Opera stages 10-12 new productions every year, and more than 95% of its budget comes from ticket sales, subscriptions and private donations.
6 posted on 01/07/2013 9:40:38 AM PST by Parmenio
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To: SeekAndFind
Without Public Arts Funding, We Wouldn't Have Les Misérables

BFD.

7 posted on 01/07/2013 9:40:47 AM PST by ScottinVA (More dizzying than a Tilt-a-Whirl is an around-a-circle argument with a liberal about gun control.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Wow!

Never realized that Great Britain had Arts Endowments that allowed Dickens to write the story in the first place.

They must have had it for a very long time as Willie Shakespeare surely would not have been as successful in his writing and theatre (a little British lingo there) productions.

8 posted on 01/07/2013 9:41:29 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys=Can't drive, can't ski, can't fly, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best for you.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Without Public Arts Funding, We Wouldn't Have Les Misérables

Nor would we have "Piss Christ" or "Whale Dung Mary."

9 posted on 01/07/2013 9:42:05 AM PST by ScottinVA (More dizzying than a Tilt-a-Whirl is an around-a-circle argument with a liberal about gun control.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Well that’d be a real tragedy. I guess the good ‘ol Sheriff of Nottingham was right. Who knew?

SnakeDoc


10 posted on 01/07/2013 9:42:09 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Come and take it.)
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To: SeekAndFind

We had to read it in 9th grade English, around 1966 and I hated it - Louis L’Amour was more to my liking at the time.


11 posted on 01/07/2013 9:43:36 AM PST by dainbramaged (Joe McCarthy was right.)
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To: Gaffer
Gee.....and here dumb ass old me thought Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables in 1862.

exactly! we may not have had the musical, but we would still have the book... and even access to several audio books... while i like the musical, our family first read the book... and my kids have listened to different audio versions of the book because they like the story that much... by the time they saw the movie last week, they knew the story inside out...

12 posted on 01/07/2013 9:44:21 AM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: SeekAndFind
It's an okay show, based on a good story, with a handful of funny tunes and sweet tunes. It's not Jake Heggie's "Moby Dick" by any means.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTMkOYAMFPM

13 posted on 01/07/2013 9:44:37 AM PST by Sirius Lee (Get your hair clippers, Patriots! The Vichy Republicans asked for it. 2014!)
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To: SeekAndFind
It's an okay show, based on a good story, with a handful of funny tunes and sweet tunes - a show for teenaged girls. It's not Jake Heggie's "Moby Dick" by any means.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTMkOYAMFPM

14 posted on 01/07/2013 9:46:37 AM PST by Sirius Lee (Get your hair clippers, Patriots! The Vichy Republicans asked for it. 2014!)
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To: N. Theknow
Slight error....meant to say French instead of Great Britain and Victor Hugo instead of Dickens.

Apologies for the slight error.

15 posted on 01/07/2013 9:47:17 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys=Can't drive, can't ski, can't fly, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best for you.)
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To: ScottinVA
Without Public Arts Funding, We Wouldn't Have Les Misérables

Nor would we have "Piss Christ" or "Whale Dung Mary."

Or any of those other one-person-rants-on-stage "plays" where someone seems to think that her personal issues (it's almost always a chick) are bigger than ours and that somehow, giving her a check from the government and a stage from which to spew filth in front of a dozen or so people (who for some reason are into that kind of thing) is more worthwhile than for her to suck it up like the rest of it and get a productive job.

Actually, if she could be force to make her rant in front of an audience of psychiatrists, they could get into a bidding war to take her as a patient.

16 posted on 01/07/2013 9:51:18 AM PST by JeffChrz (2013. Brought to you by the uninformed voters of the United States.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Somehow I think I could live without it.


17 posted on 01/07/2013 9:51:43 AM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: SeekAndFind

Les Mis is a profitable movie.

They need to pay back the taxpayers.


18 posted on 01/07/2013 9:52:09 AM PST by TheThirdRuffian (RINOS like Romney, McCain, Dole are sure losers. No more!)
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To: SeekAndFind

You could also argue that we wouldn’t have the Aeneid, as Virgil was paid in advance on a public commission. Maybe we should go back to having Caesars, or is it too late?


19 posted on 01/07/2013 9:53:32 AM PST by Dr. Sivana ("C'est la vie" say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell. -- Chuck Berry)
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To: SeekAndFind

That fact, alone is enough reason to get rid of public funding.


20 posted on 01/07/2013 9:53:41 AM PST by stop_fascism (Love your country, but never trust its government - R.A. Heinlein)
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