THEATER TALK in THE NEWS • “Hello, We Must Be Going”

On September 17, 2017 by Theater Talk Web



THE NEW YORK TIMES – After 25 Years, the Curtain Closes on ‘Theater Talk’


PLAYBILL ONLINE – New York Theater Talk Series Ends Production After 26 Years


BROADWAY WORLD – ‘Theater Talk’ Will Go Off the Air After 26 Years


FAREWELL TO OUR ERA – Viewer Comments



and from SUSAN HASKINS-DOLOFF:


On Thursday, I voted in the New York State primary and after I scanned my ballot, Brian, the poll watcher, asked me when Theater Talk was coming back in the fall. “It’s not,” I told him and I realized that I just broke the story that I had yet to share with almost anyone else.


As many already know, we left our longtime studio, CUNY TV, at the end of last season. The new Interim Executive Director there no longer felt comfortable giving our independent production a berth at CUNY TV without taking over editorial and creative control. That didn’t work for us, so we moved on.


Over the past few months, my co-Executive Producer Steve Doloff and I looked for a producing partnership elsewhere that offered us both great production services we could afford and that essential creative and editorial control. Nothing we explored fit the bill.


However, as the summer progressed, I realized that I could also step back from doing a weekly program and instead take advantage of Theater Talk Productions’ archive. We have amassed a remarkable twenty-six and a half years of conversations with theater greats and the time has come to focus on doing something more special with them beyond making them available on YouTube at www.theatertalk.org.


It has been my privilege to create the weekly Theater Talk for so long, including 22 years on Thirteen/WNET and 11 seasons nationally distributed by Executive Program Services in a producing partnership with CUNY TV. People tell me that the series made a difference and I like to think that is true. (Also, it was an honor to be nominated for three NY Emmys over the last four years and to win one in 2017 as the “Best Interview/Discussion Show.”)


We are grateful to all who supported us both with their funds and others with just caring so much about the program. I’d like to extend special appreciation to director/actor Stephen Ahern who made it possible for Michael Riedel and I to begin this work in the first place on public access television back in 1993.


My thanks also goes to all my other cohosts: Jesse Green, Elisabeth Vincentelli and Jason Zinoman of The New York Times, Michael Musto of NewNowNext, Adam Feldman of TimeOut New York, actor Julie Halston, Donna Hanover of Arts in The City, playwright/producer Warren Leight, Jan Simpson of BroadwayRadio, as well as Gordon Cox of Variety and Nancy Giles of CBS News Sunday Morning. Theater Talk succeeded because of the intelligence and wit they brought to the series all these years (as well as the glorious efforts of our production crew at CUNY TV).


Working in the theater is a labor of love. I am lucky (to quote the musical [title of show]) to have been and still be “Part of It All.”

Thank you,
Susan


PS “The Best of Theater Talk” will continue on WNET/WLIW through the last week of October.

21 Responses to “THEATER TALK in THE NEWS • “Hello, We Must Be Going””

  • Fredrica Hicks

    Please find a way to stay on the air. I love Theater Talk. I live in Chicago and I love the theater. Your show is very informative on which shows to see when either visiting NY or shows to see when they come to my town. Try hard to get a new home. I first discovered your show on PBS. I hope you can forge another alliance with PBS.

    THANK YOU

    Fredrica Hicks

  • Michael Giuseffi

    I hope that there may be a way that Theater Talk can continue, it is my weekly moment of zen, especially the season wrap up. The most fun was trying to figure out how much Elizabeth Vincentelli would hate every new production.

  • Ray Murphy

    Susan: Please, please stay on the air! Your show has always been great, but it has been so much better since you reorganized hosting duties, and brought in so many other view points! Theater Talk is at an apex and it’s just too soon to end it now!

  • Roger R Paolini

    Please, please find a way to continue “Theater Talk”! It has always been essential viewing for anyone interested in theater. I have always learned so much watching every show. And I’ve seen many shows on Broadway simply because something on your show made me need to see it. I have been proud to be a Friend of “Theater Talk” for a few years. No one does what you do. I would think that the Broadway – and all NY theater – community is up in arms. I am hopeful!

  • Steve J

    Wow, this is heartbreaking news. Your show was appointment television for me. I live in New York and relied heavily on “Theater Talk” in deciding what shows to see. You will be sorely missed.

  • James Hickey

    I am truly sorry to see you go. You, Michael Reidel and your guests and guest critics felt like family to me. There is no alternative tv or web show to bone up on broadway history, and to help me decide what to see. God bless!

  • Ruth

    I just spoke with an old friend, a theater professional, who (like myself) never missed an episode of Theater Talk. I stayed up late on Fridays, and was NEVER disappointed.
    How many fabulous plays did I see that I wouldn’t have even known about? How many times did I head to my computer to snag tickets while the program was still airing? I am so grateful for this show: Thank You SO much, Susan & cohorts.
    And (to put it politely) less than pleased with the bureaucrats who are incapable of supporting the creative process. “It works! Let’s kill it!” GRRRRRRRR

  • Craig Catelani

    This is sad news indeed, but I suppose all good things must end, eventually. Your service was unique. You weren’t ponderous, as C-SPAN 3 can often be, but you weren’t fluff, like Entertainment Tonight. You and Riedel struck just the right note. Incidentally, how did you put up with that guy all those years? (but he wrote “Razzle Dazzle” which forgives a lot). I’m a student of most things historical, and Broadway has been a source of fascination to me for years (esp. living in California). History is largely about proportion and perspective, and your interviews gave me much to think about and reflect upon. So I’ll remind myself, as I do when a loved one passes on, to not grieve that you are gone, but be grateful that you were here. Take care, Susan

  • Curan

    I discovered Theater Talk about two years ago. I was never a theater buff but I sure enjoyed the friendly banter and learned a lot as well.
    Hope it can come back somehow.

  • Joyce

    As a theater professional (part time) and a theater lover (full time), I found Theater Talk essential, entertaining, and enlightening. There were so many times that it introduced me to artists and works that I probably would not have had time to research. Your discussion format (especially the recent technique of using diverse hosts) really informed my theater choices and enabled me to view the productions I did see with more insight & appreciation. I thank you for your accomplishment on producing such a great program for so long and, as others have mentioned, it would be wonderful to see Theater Talk return in some form, but, in the meantime–Thank you.

  • Dan Schlieben

    Dear Susan: Sorry that you are not continuing “Theater Talk,” but I know that like most else it must eventually end in that form.I hope you can find anther outlet for your excellent interviews and generosity of spirit. Best, Dan Schlieben

  • Nancy Quigley

    Dear Susan: What a loss! Your presentations have been a wonderful promotion of live theater; we will hope that recognition of this inspires a good producing partner to come forward — the theater world needs more Theater Talk! Thanks for all the terrific programs.

  • Chris

    I am so sorry to hear about this. There is no other show like this where we can listen to the stars and journalists talk about the shows. I can’t believe there is not a platform for this. Susan Haskins, don’t give up trying!

  • JOY BLAZAK

    I’m heartbroken.

  • Jeanne Krier

    Susan,
    I gasped out loud when I discovered Theater Talk was off the air. I so enjoyed the show which I discovered only a year ago and yet watched (or taped) it religiously every Sunday. My church. It was always intelligent, informative, and lively and often inspired me to see shows I might otherwise not have gone to. Or, after seeing a play, it enriched the experience to see your interviews with theater folk behind it. I thank you for all your work and hope some new opportunity will happen that gives you another venue to continue it. Words can’t say how much I’ll miss it.
    Jeanne Krier

  • Ken

    Dear Susan: After just receiving the enormously disappointing and disturbing news, I then read the 11 comments above mine. And they are SO perfectly well-stated and heartfelt, that I am quite literally unable to add anything else of value to them! Except to reiterate Roger’s (above) AND my, heartfelt and sincerest of pleas. “Please, please, find a way to continue ‘Theater Talk’!” But alas, if you remain unsuccessful Susan, I just wanted to thank you (and Michael) for the 26 years of this great show, that I will sorely miss. And thank you to the 11 previous commenters, who cumulatively have so expressed my sincerest sentiments here, WAY better than I ever could!

  • Joan Cohn

    So sad. We watched every week and you guided us to plays we would enjoy.
    Please come back! Your audience needs you.

  • Bob Kratky

    Dear Susan, I am heart-broken that “Theater Talk” has ended it’s run. New York City is, for me the theater capital of the world and it cannot support “one” program devoted to “the” main source of cultural exchange here on the East Coast? I’ve regularly watched Theater Talk for the past 20+ years and it has always been a source of enlightenment, information and just plain fun for myself who has been involved with New York theater since I was twelve. As I only make it into the City three or four times a year, Theater Talk always gave me a sense of important perspective regarding which shows my family and I should be attending. Please, if there is any way of reviving Theater Talk I hope this might be seriously considerd.

  • Hector Jimenez

    So sorry to see your show go! (Damn corporate control over the arts). It was ‘appointment television’ indeed, to quote another heartbroken comment. Theater Talk was THE highlight of my weekly tv time. Hope you can find a way to come back. Thank you and your wonderful staff and contributors for so many years of theater magic. (And, by the way, those interviews with notable playwrights and composers were astounding too, you really could book virtually anybody in the theater world; a tribute to how much your efforts became respected, embraced and supported by the theater community.) Last but not least, I always appreciated your insight, style, warmth and joy of the theater. You represented us, the audience, beautifully. I will even miss your half-gloves, suggestive of a cold studio temp.!)

  • Champe

    Susan, I was wondering why my Tivo wasn’t recording any more Theater Talk episodes, and so I searched online and found out the sad news. I was a member of Get Smart way back when, and remember you in that group. I valued Theater Talk over the years, and thought it was recently even better, with your wonderful rotating guest hosts. What a loss!

  • Julian

    It really saddens me to hear that your show will not be airing any more. And for the most ridiculous reason: CUNY wanted creative and editorial control? Why? Why mess with a formula that works? Why fix something that isn’t broken? My only guess they wanted to “monetize” it somehow… changing Theater Talk would be like adding a laser light show to “The Fantasticks”
    Anyway, thank thank you so much for you wonderful show. It was truly a jewel in the tiara of the New York that I love.

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