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Pioneer Theatre Company’s Charles Morey

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Charles Morey has been artistic director of Pioneer Theatre Company since 1984. In April, he begins a MacDowell Colony playwright fellowship.

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Proposed downtown theater district: Good idea or bad idea?

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Many people think it should be called the Clear Channel Subsidy Project. If it’s something configured to help the ballet, the opera, RDT or Ririe-Woodbury'or a small theater in which we could produce'then I’m all for it.

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What has changed most about the Salt Lake City theater scene in the last 10 years?

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Nationwide, not just locally, there’s been a real erosion of subscribership. That’s potentially a very serious problem; we need a loyal subscriber base in order to support diverse productions.

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What does this season’s return engagement for Beauty and the Beast say about the realities of running a theater company in 2006?

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What’s kept us whole in recent years has been our ability to find a blockbuster … that supports productions that do middling business. Beauty and the Beast did unprecedented business [in 2004]. Had there been something else out there that we thought could do similar business, we wouldn’t have brought it back.

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What play are you dying to bring to PTC that hasn’t worked out yet?

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We’d love to do Les Misérables as soon as it’s available, The Producers, Doubt. It breaks my heart that we couldn’t do the Salt Lake City production of Angels in America. For us, it just would have been too controversial.

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Do you think of yourself as a director who enjoys writing, or a writer who enjoys directing?

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I’d have to say that essentially I produce and direct plays. But my initial impulse into the theater was as a writer. I wrote some very bad [plays], then had a wonderful teacher who said if you want to write plays, you’ve got to know something about theater. Thirty years later I came back to writing'once I’d figured out what a play was.

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