Alex Timbers on Broadway in Modern America and How it 'Feels Irrelevant'
ROCKY's director Alex Timbers believes Broadway has a while to go before its adequately connecting to the modern American audience member.
In a new interview with Soundcheck, the two-time Tony nominee opened up to host John Schaefer, saying that, "There's a gulf between popular culture and musical theater. Theater in general feels irrelevant to the larger cultural dialogue in America."
Timbers, whose directorial credits include BLOODY BLOOD ANDREW JACKSON and HERE LIES LOVE, is working to change that, as he explains in the interview.
"To me, drawing on the visuals and music and comedy you see in a mainstream film or a music video feels important when I'm doing a play."
Timbers insists one sure-fire way to engage the audience is to physically bring them into the show, as he's done with ROCKY's infamous boxing ring, extending over the Winter Garden's orchestra.
"I just feel like it's what today is -- you can vote on American Idol and change the experience, you have an iPad, everything feels responsive to your touch," he said. "Entertainment, particularly theater, where you are there -- of course you should be a part of the outcome of the event. And I'm someone who does not actually like audience participation. I don't like being dragged up on stage and humiliated or being asked questions. All this stuff is done through the lens of -- no one's ever singled out. I never want the audience to feel like if they don't want to cheer Rocky on or if they don't want to dance with Imelda that they're failing in any way."