Show Business: Culture Drought on the Charles

Without a cashflow, Boston's shows can't go on

Boston used to call itself the Athens of America. At the turn of the century, the city boasted 50 theaters for drama and vaudeville, despite a population of 507,000. Today just four of those buildings remain as legitimate theaters, and they are right next to the notorious "combat zone," where neon signs for porno joints light up more often than the theater marquees. Although the venerable Boston Symphony Orchestra continues to flourish, it is the city's only established performing arts institution. Even the major touring...

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