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Max on Mummers, mack

Max Weitzenhoffer October 5th, 2011

I used to perform at the Mummers Theater with Mack Scism before it was built. Mack, the longtime Mummers managing director, had a vision. He worked out of a garage. It was an in-the-round situation in a big garage downtown, and it was a very good operation.

Then they got this idea to build this Stage Center structure with the theater in it. Away from the fact that it was uneconomical to operate, the reality is that it was designed for a type of theater that basically isn’t executed anymore.

What’s happened is the same problem we had with Rupel J. Jones Theatre, which was built about the same time at the University of Oklahoma. In those days, the regional theater directors wanted something they thought was new, inventive and exciting. It has its momentary period, but it’s not a place audiences feel comfortable anymore and plays aren’t performed in those spaces.

There’s a wonderful line in the musical “The Producers” I’d like to paraphrase from Nathan Lane: A lot of people invented theater-in-the-round, but I invented theater-in-the-square.

Stage Center doesn’t serve the purpose of the modern theater as it exists today. The modern theater is the same as its always been, which is the same as Broadway or the West End. It’s basically a traditional proscenium theater, and for smaller productions, a black box, and that’s about it.

—Max Weitzenhoffer

Weitzenhoffer, a prominent Broadway and London theater producer, serves on the OU Board of Regents.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

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