Christopher Reeve on culture

Christopher Reeve: When they tear down the theaters it’s a reminder that we’re a very rich culture and also a very poor one. We have material things but we have very little spiritual and cultural life. The theaters are just another disposable consumer product, and that disrespect for and loss of our heritage is sad.

Now in place of the Morosco and Helen Hayes we’re going to get a 1,200-seat theater like the Uris or the Minskoff, where you have to have a Pirates of Penzance or a Chorus Line to fill it up, and then you have out-of-state people on business accounts going to see non-provocative commercial theater, and it’s another stab in the back to the legitimate theater on Broadway.

Can you elaborate on the negative landscape you sense for this country in terms of culture?

CR: The negative landscape, one we are really in danger of developing, is a landscape for rich people that leaves aside poor people, who are already being wiped out by Reagan. It’s a landscape for people who can afford $38 and $42 tickets: for 31-year-old account executives who have a Jacuzzi and a Porsche and take vacations in the south of France, and the only kind of theater they can handle is Dream Girls or 42nd Street, where you come out with nothing more than you went in with. It’s a world where the computer triumphs and Atari TV games flourish; where people stop talking to each other, vocabulary diminishes; where people’s attention spans are minimized by the evening news; where they stop imagining and conceptualizing and take their perceptions of the world literally off the TV screen or from dramatic material that poses no challenge. We will be rich people with no soul, comfortable and efficient but with no real life. That’s what I see.