Shall I compare thee to an Olive Garden?

Thou art more generic and more boring.

Look around at a lot of big American regional theatres and their seasons. And what do you see? All too often, a horrifying blandness and sameness. A kind of lockstep conformity to the same approved franchised properties trucked around from coast to coast like so much frozen ham. Dull, listless menus of shows that take the audience for granted. The complete and total absence of art. Because to make art, you need artists.

In the era of local, many regional theatres didn’t get the memo. A strangely place-inspecific “you could be anywhere” ethos prevails. Except you are nowhere. Third rate productions of second rate scripts. Against such an ossified menu, the local Olive Garden starts to look cutting edge.

Why, in city after city, are America’s theatres at sush a loss for how to be different, genuine, influential?

Same stuff.  Different stages.
Same stuff. Different stages.

If you're selling bland, interchangeable experiences, make sure your visual design conveys that.
If you’re selling bland, interchangeable experiences, make sure your visual design conveys that.

Ship 'em in, truck 'em out.  And pretend it's exciting.
Ship ’em in, truck ’em out. And pretend it’s exciting.