The Theater: Curtains Up in London

In a rare instance of British overstatement, one Londoner remarked recently, "The only thing that really works in England is the theater." Quite apart from an ingrained cultural tradition and abundant talent, the English theater works because people care.

To begin with, audiences care. In attending the classics, any number of playgoers arrive with the text in hand or purchase it at the theater. Playwrights, actors and the government care. The result is variety and vitality. In the West End, London's equivalent of Broadway, 28 shows are currently running, compared with 19 on Broadway....

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