From today's Arts Briefly...
Charlotte St. Martin, a hospitality industry executive, has been named executive director of the League of American Theaters and Producers, the trade association. She succeeds Jed Bernstein, who had led the organization since 1995 and stepped down on June 30 to pursue producing. In an interview yesterday, Ms. St. Martin, a 60-year-old Dallas native, said it was probably her knowledge of and passion for tourism that attracted the attention of the league, which began talks with her last spring. Formerly an executive vice president of marketing and sales for Loews Hotels, and more recently a consultant, Ms. St. Martin oversaw branding, marketing and operations for 20 hotels and resorts across the country, including the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Among the programs she implemented were “Loews Loves Pets” and “Loews Loves Kids.” She has also served on the boards of the Vineyard Theater and the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau. She said she attends about 26 Broadway shows a year, and lists among her favorites “Phantom of the Opera,” which she said she had seen seven times, “A Chorus Line” (six) and “Jersey Boys” (three). Ms. St. Martin said she hopes to inaugurate frequency programs, in which a person might attend, say, four performances and earn free tickets to a fifth.
(byline: Kathryn Shattuck)Obviously Broadway can't be compromised any more, so not much to protest here. But still, this shows you where the collective Broadway thinking is right now. The "League" is the offiicial Broadway producer trade association, which means they're the one who lobby politicians, coordinate media strategies, and negotiate with unions. (Oh, and administer the Tonys.) So they have a lot of influence on both the backstage and onstage life of what most people (and media) perceive as the American thatre.
What I'm saying is, this is an important job. And it's just been handed to a hotel executive who has seen Phantom seven times.
UPDATE: Much thanks to June in Comments for reminding of a Michael Riedel column I missed giving more behind-the-scenes on this.