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The George Balanchine Theater

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Today's NY Times reported: "The Martin Beck Theater on West 45th Street will be renamed for the illustrator Al Hirschfeld, in tribute to his running 76-year chronicle of the life of Broadway and its greatest performers...the theater would officially become the Al Hirschfeld on June 21, 2003, the artist's 100th birthday."

Still amazingly productive, Mr. Hirschfeld more than deserves the honor. I wish, though, they'd chosen a theater with a name like "Royale" or "Imperial," rather than one already named for a now-forgotten someone. It reminded me of the disgraceful plan to rename Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall for this year's big donor.

Be that as it may, it also made me think about the Balanchine Centennial in 2004. What better honor than to rename the New York State Theater the George Balanchine? The present name is little more than a source of confusion: why do the New York City Ballet and New York City Opera perform in the New York STATE Theater? Besides, the New York City Opera wants to leave and has complained for years that Balanchine's specifications deadened the sounds emanating from the stage. (NYCO wormed its way into the theater in the first place, but that's another, no longer relevant, story.) Don't get me wrong, I love NYCO. But they're right -- the theater was built to Balanchine's specifications, for his company. It was the site of the great culminating moments of his career. There was briefly some talk of renaming it for him after his death in 1983, but it came to nothing. The centennial of his birth provides another chance. It's time for New York City to recognize his contributions to the artistic life of the city and the world.

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I was also dismayed when they changed it from Philharmonic Hall....

but I think the idea of a George Balanchine Theatre, although not as euphonious as NYST (which probably had something to do with the level of state funding they received, I imagine) would be a good idea.....

of course then, they will have to name the Met Opera the Vilar Pavilion, to complete the "named for someone" idea which seems to be marching inexorably around Lincoln Center Plaza......

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Stamp for Mr. B! On the NYCB website, there is an announcement of a campaign to commission a postage stamp in honor of the centenary. I had forgotten about it, but my daughter informed me that there is a letter writing campaign afoot (ha!) in the Barnard dance department.

I like the idea of the George Balanchine Theater quite a lot. Once again, whose attention do we have to grab?

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Very interesting - do you really think they might change the name to celebrate the man behind the original company? Perhaps the George Balanchine New York Theater might work well?

Funding is a big part of it, isn't it?

Perhaps there's another letter writing campaign to be born?

Meanwhile, how many of us have written our congress members about the UN resolution?

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