The heat is on for theater across American to make its comeback pop

The upside, of course, is that a commercial hit — more and more, the holy grail for a nonprofit company — could be a game-changing fiscal and promotional bonanza. Classical troupes have for decades sought to widen their borders: It was at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, home to the New York Shakespeare Festival, that “A Chorus Line” was born in the mid-1970s. And STC has itself been pushing the boundaries of its mission for years. As far back as 2011, it hosted the initial Washington engagement of “Fela!,” the Broadway musical about the Nigerian singer and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

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