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Sandy Duncan Laments Broadway Musicals

July 18, 2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Perennially perky Sandy Duncan is slamming what she considers the sorry state of Broadway musicals.

Duncan stars in a two-week run of ``The King and I″ starting Tuesday.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical marked her professional debut as a 12-year-old in Dallas.

But now, at 58, she said an industry once run by producers with vision and heart has devolved into a business run by ``money men who don’t have an eye for the product.″

``It used to be that producers would make a profit, with the idea that they would put that money into a new show,″ Duncan told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

``Now, they want to make a killing, and so they’re flogging these shows into 10-, 12-, 14-year runs. It hurts the whole creative community.″

The result, she said, can be seen in the lack of new titles on Broadway and on the road. Her six-month tour as Anna in ``The King and I,″ she said, just proves her point.

``Shows like this are being done to death because there’s no new product,″ she said.

Duncan’s Broadway credits include ``Peter Pan,″ ``My One and Only″ and, most recently, ``Chicago.″ She said audiences in the rest of the country are being cheated by productions that claim to be Broadway musicals but are pale imitations, with diminished technical qualities and less-experienced, nonunion actors.

``A lot of what’s coming out of New York is dreck; they should be touring them in theme parks,″ Duncan said. ``And then on top of that, they do it on the cheap so they can make more money. It’s immoral, and it tricks the public.″

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