Is longtime Broadway producer Rocco Landesman the right man to lead President Obama’s National Endowment for the Arts?
It looks that way. The Jujamcyn theater chain honcho’s nomination, first reported last night by The New York Times, seems like a no-brainer. After all, he’s active, engaged and unafraid to speak his mind. That’s what he’s done throughout his career on Broadway. And there’s every expectation that he’ll be active and outspoken in Washington, too.
The nomination of Landesman, the producer who brought The Public Theater’s revival of Hair to Broadway this season, clearly shows that Obama is serious about focusing on the arts. The question remains, though, whether Landesman is Obama’s answer to widespread calls for creation of a Cabinet-level Arts Czar/Secretary of Culture or just the first step in that direction.
Landesman should really shake things up and put the arts and the NEA back in the spotlight where they belong. It will help reinvigorate the nation’s cultural life. But Obama really shouldn’t stop there. The nation needs an Arts Czar to ensure better arts education and support for the future of all arts, which have been neglected for far too long. Continue reading