Who's your city... for theater?
Pop-geographer Richard Florida - author of the wildly successful Rise of the Creative Class - released a new book recently, strangely titled Who's Your City? I guess some people out there still demand to know "Who's your daddy?" at, I don't know, mud volleyball tournaments or something. How, exactly, this phrase connects with geography is tenuous, at best.
The book, in a nutshell, proposes that there are three big decisions a person must make in life. 1) Choose a career. 2) Choose a spouse/partner. 3) Choose a place to live. Florida's assertion is that choosing a good fit with regards to no. 3 can not only help you lead a happier and more satisfying life, but it can help you find a good fit for nos. 1 and 2, as well. Yes, it's a little self-helpy, but whatever.
How does this idea intersect with theater? Obviously, any professional must decide at some point whether it makes sense to move to a big showbiz town, namely New York or Los Angeles. Not to discount Scott Walters' lengthy discussions about the decentralization of theater, but Florida emphasizes a significant trend toward the clustering of industries in particular metro areas. In fact, he says, the big story of the last 30 years or so has been that of cities "sorting themselves out," gaining greater distinction and specialization in various industries. Here's a smattering of Florida's urban specializations: