The issue of the Kennedy Center's theater booking policy will get an informal airing next month in Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan's (D. N.Y.) office.
Moynihan has agreed to host a meeting of Kennedy Center critics on Oct. 25. New York producer Emanuel Azenberg is helping to assemble the group, which is likely to include playwright Neil Simon and producer Alexander Cohen, among others.
Roger Stevens, chairman of the Kennedy Center, will not be asked to attend the meeting, according to the Moynihan spokesman. He added that Stevens will be invited in the meantime to respond in writing to criticisms leveled against him and the Center recently by Sens. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and Alan K. Simpson (R.-Wyo.) A letter from Moynihan to Stevens will ask for a full explanation of how the Kennedy Center books and produces plays, the spokesman said.
Bradley and Simpson charged that the Kennedy Center has neglected a corps of current American playwirghts, including Simon, Sam Shephard, David Rabe and David Mamet, while favoring the works of such British playwrights as Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter and Alan Ayckbourn. Simpson also claimed that there might be a "conflict of interest" stemming from the allegation that Stevens has favored productions in which he was personally involved over outside productions.
Bradley in addition criticized the Kennedy Center for not permitting the National Theater to benefit from the Theater Guild subscription series. The Kennedy Center has been booking plays into the National since 1974.