A Year Is Born

The theater district gets its own Twelfth Night, complete with kings bearing gifts

The child in its cradle smiled and gurgled happily. "Repertory," it piped again.

"But it's so expensive," said Daryl Roth, wringing her hands stagily like Charles Busch, "and it's impossible for musicals." "Nothing's impossible if you have the money," retorted Angela Lansbury, with dignified assurance. "Oh, Mr. Ziegfeld, if only you'd brought that gold."

"There's gold enough hidden away in New York," Jenny Gersten declared stoutly. "We just need a base of operations, and a producer daring and cultivated enough to take the risk." "Ask Oskar!" shouted Rinne Groff, and suddenly the room rang with women artists' excited voices: "Ask Bernie and Andre—ask Gerry and Phil—ask Todd and Scott—ask Joe Melillo—"

"Look!" Elizabeth Marvel gasped suddenly. "It's Le G!" All eyes turned upward. Hovering just below the garage's oil-spattered ceiling, on a cloud of golden ectoplasm, floated the ghost of Eva Le Gallienne, bedecked in flowers, ancient as the world and youthful as springtime. "Blessings on the child who says 'repertory,' " she proclaimed. "I am the spirit of repertory past and repertory yet to come. I am Sophocles and Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekhov, Susan Glaspell and Suzan-Lori Parks."

The monarchs, doffing their crowns, knelt on the cement floor. Only Brecht had the temerity to look up. "Where is the spirit of repertory present?" he asked harshly.

"Look around you," Le G replied serenely. "I see women," said Brecht. "I see artists. I see aspirations. I see a newborn theatrical year that has just said its first word." "Do not cease to hope," said Le G, "until it has said its last." She vanished in a puff of gold dust, scattering glitter on the assembled throng.

Enraptured, the women rose to sing their hymn of praise. Jeanine Tesori raised her baton. "Put some zest into it this year, ladies," she said. "Think repertory!" "For unto us a child is bo-orn," chorused the women's voices. Humbled, the three kings wept. Visions of repertory danced in the head of the smiling infant year.

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