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All Your Cheese Are Belong To Us

Jacob Coakley • Editor's Note • March 21, 2008

I saw four shows this past week and I read about cheese, too.

Trust me, they’re related.

First, the cheese. I’m a bit of a cheese nut. Back when I was penniless and interning in New York, I used to go to Murray’s Cheese at their Bleecker location, buy a hunk of cheese (usually a young Gouda) and eat it with a 25-cent loaf of bread I’d get at the bakery next door. To someone raised in the Midwest on block Cheddar and Colby, Murray’s was a revelation. The scents, tastes, colors and sheer amount of cheese were breathtaking. I started paying more attention to what cheese I liked, experimenting with new types and generally annoying the cheesemongers with my questions. As I’ve moved around the country, I’ve always sought out the best place to buy cheese wherever I’ve gone.

You see where I’m going with this? It was the same with theatre, only I got more involved with making it. So involved, in fact, that when a news story like Live Nation selling its theatrical assets comes along (see In the Greenroom, page 10), I spent hours researching the history of those assets — the 20-odd-year drama of who owned what, who bought who, who was indicted for fraud. But here’s my guess: Even though I know that everyone reading this magazine loves theatre, only a very small percentage of you actually care about the corporate history behind this $90 million deal. And you know what? I’m cool with that, thanks to cheese.

Part of my obsession with cheese means that I subscribe to cheese blogs.
(I’ll give you a second to admire my geekery.)

And yes, Murray’s Cheese has a blog, which I read regularly. This week, there was a story of how one of the cheesemongers saw a couple rounds of prized aged provolone that were scheduled to be delivered to the store rolling around the back of a truck. They were incensed at how badly the cheese was being handled. They almost refused shipment of the cheese. Then they tasted it, and loved it. The cheese wasn’t damaged at all.

Of the four shows I saw this week, I ran into friends at two of them, completely unexpectedly. One sat in front of me the whole show, but because I arrived at the last minute, we didn’t see each other until after the end of show. We walked out together, talking and laughing about the great show we had just seen. Another friend approached me the morning after the second show to talk about it, about how it had moved her, about how she felt it could have been better, but also about just how much they got very right. Both of these conversations were special to me because they came from friends who I wouldn’t have expected to see at the theatre at all, and they both clearly loved the shows they saw — and they didn’t care who produced them.

If the plays (or cheese) are good, it doesn’t matter who produces it or how it gets there, just that people enjoy it. So keep up the good work — it may be hard, you may get knocked around a bit, but I guarantee you the audience will appreciate it.

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