Compliments and congratulatory phone calls on our 40th anniversary issue continue to pour in, with most readers saying how much they enjoyed reminiscing—or even learning about—the various trends and events that occurred in and affected the entertainment industry during the four decades of Back Stage's existence.
For this week's issue—the very last issue in 2000—we're focusing solely on the passing year, reviewing the news that we reported on a weekly basis, and the theatre events that we covered in the 51 issues that made up 2000. (And, if you're counting the number of Back Stage covers on this week's front cover, you're right: There are only 48. We simply couldn't figure out how to fit the additional two that would have made our year complete. Missing are July 7 [theatrical families] and Sept. 15 [photographers].)
In "Highlights 2000: In the News," starting on page 24, staff writers Erik Haagensen and Mike Salinas look at developments in the legit theatre community on a month by month basis, while News Editor Roger Armbrust relives the entertainment unions' major contract negotiations, including the historic SAG-AFTRA commercials contract strike against the advertising industry.
In "Critics Picks," beginning on page 31, we asked our ongoing critics to note their personal highlights over the past 12 months based on the productions that they reviewed for Back Stage. Also included is a compilation of the shows that were reviewed by us this year.
As I do each year at this time, I'd like to thank my entire staff for all the hard work it takes to get Back Stage out each and every week. This includes thank-yous to News Editor Roger Armbrust, staff writers and reporters Simi Horwitz and Mike Salinas, and Staff Writer and Copy Editor Erik Haagensen for their ace reporting and interviewing, and knowing how to capture something exclusively from the Back Stage perspective. To Listings Editor B. L. Rice for keeping all our lists up to date, and to Managing Editor David Sheward for overseeing the production of each weekly issue.
Our editorial assistants deserve kudos for carefully handling all the casting notices, and proofreading all the copy: Andrew Valvano, Brian Hyman, Maria Caballero, Jonathan Flom, and Luke Crowe.
To Virginia Sapp for her top-notch inputting of copy, transcribing our audiotapes, and her all-around editorial assistance.
A very special thank you to my able assistant, Mike Millis, for being my right hand, and for helping me to take care of all the details my job entails with his extra dose of persistence and thoroughness.
Thanks also to Back Stage columnists Marc Bernstein ("Actors' Taxes"); Leslie (Hoban) Blake ("Backlot Buzz"); Amelia David ("Laughing Matters"); David Finkle, John Hoglund, and Barbara and Scott Siegel ("Bistro Bits"); Michael Lazan and Elias Stimac ("Off the Bookshelf"); David A. Rosenberg ("CDs in Review"); Jennie Schulman ("Dance Diary"); and Jeffrey Sweet ("Playwrights' Corner").
Special thanks to all of the Back Stage correspondents who give the paper a true national distinction in their weekly "Regional Roundup" columns, and, in a few cases, in their own monthly columns: Jonathan Abarbanel (Chicago), George Capewell (South Florida), Mark Cofta (Philadelphia), Sandra C. Dillard (Denver), A. J. Esta (San Francisco), Dave Frieze (Boston), Bill Gale (Rhode Island), Michael Grossberg (Columbus-Cincinnati-Dayton), William Hardy (North Carolina), Claudia Harris (Utah), Dave Hayward (Atlanta), Frances Heller (Cleveland), D. L. Hintz (Virginia), Damien Jaques (Milwaukee), Jon Kaplan (Toronto), Eleanor Koblenz (Upstate N.Y./Berkshires), Michael King (Texas), Martin Kohn (Detroit), John Longenbaugh (Seattle), David McGillivray (London), E. Kyle Minor (Westchester/Rockland), Joe Pollack (St. Louis), Alvin Reiss (Oregon), David A. Rosenberg (Connecticut), Michael Sander (Minneapolis/St. Paul), Jan Silver (the Hamptons), Mark S. P. Turvin (Arizona), Gretchen Van Benthuysen (New Jersey), Jim Volz (Southern California), and Michael Willis (Washington, D.C./Maryland).
Kudos to theatre reviewers Carolyn Albert, Irene Backalenick, Glenda Frank, Victor Gluck, Eric Grode, Jane Hogan, Leonard Jacobs, Lucy Komisar, Michael Lazan, Karl Levett, Julius Novick, David A. Rosenberg, David Sheward, Barbara and Scott Siegel, Elias Stimac, Esther Tolkoff, and Jeanette Toomer for their passion, love of the art, and their insightful critiques.
Brava to dance reviewers Phyllis Goldman, Lisa Jo Sagolla, and, especially, to Jennie Schulman and her "Dance Diary" column. Jennie has been associated with Back Stage since its very first issue.
Thanks also to all my freelance feature/news contributors: Irene Backalenick, Ira J. Bilowit, Catherine Castellani, Jill Charles, Tish Dace, Amelia David, Paul Harris, Leonard Jacobs, Michael Lazan, Shellen Lubin, Mike Millis, Elias Stimac, Esther Tolkoff, and Jeanette Toomer.
Honorable mention must go to our feature designers: Gregory Kennell, D. B. Stevens, Adam Lane, and Jeff Gherman. Mention, too, for house photographer Patti Ouderkirk. Also to be singled out is Bruce Johnson for his design of our special anniversary section.
A nod to Back Stage's advertising team under Scott Berg's direction, and Gina Keena's production staff. And, it goes without saying, a special thanks to Back Stage Publisher Steve Elish for the support I get each week.
It's the Back Stage staff's continuing loyalty, love of the industry, and devotion to Back Stage readers that has given Back Stage the recognition and respect that it has in the industry.
Last, but not least—and I say this every year—a special thanks to all of you readers. Your loyalty and feedback and encouragement—through your letters, phone calls, and meeting you in person—are what keep Back Stage moving forward and what fills me personally with inspiration year after year after year.
Have a happy and healthy New Year.