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Well, my "little vacation" ended up lasting two and a half years... funny how life steers your life in directions you weren't planning on. I'll start off with occasional posts, but I fully plan to resume this blog to full speed by the new year.

I hope you'll come back for frequent visits, to see new reviews, to share opinions, to take a survey (or two), and to celebrate the shows and show people that have made the TheatreScene!

Jeff

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy New Season! Let 2011 Be the Last For...

NOTE: This blog has been updated.  All updates are in RED.

The 2010 - 2011 season came to a glorious close with last Sunday's spectacular 65th Tony Awards.  And now, after nearly a week to breathe and reflect, I've come up with a list of 10 things (in no particular order) that we can put to rest, not to be repeated in 2011 - 2012.

  1. No more message board/blog/chat room butchering of shows in previews!  Online tongue-waggers managed to destroy one show from the first time the lights came up in front of an audience, and tried to pummel a second before it even started previews.  How about we let a show grow on its own, offer opinions ONLY if we've actually seen it, and allow people to hate it or love it with equal respect, but without the intent to bring it down?  In reponse to several emails that have taken me to task for "overestimating the influence of the theatre Tweeters, bloggers, chatters" I provide 2 articles that have appeared on the professional press level since my blog: Click HERE to hear from someone who knows all too well the power and scope of this problem.  Click HERE to see what the New Yorker has to say on the same subject.
  2. No more musicals about the birth of rock 'n roll!  Let's learn from Million Dollar Quartet and Baby It's You!  No matter how great the music, a dramatic story with some tension and a real sense of humor is a must.  Jersey Boys is the exception, not the rule.
  3. No more "I Say a Little Prayer"!  Three shows in two seasons including this song is two shows too many!  Don't get me wrong.  It is a great song, but isn't there something else we can use?
  4. No more Spider-Man jokes.  Please.  Enough is enough.
  5. No more Disney digs.  Biting the hand that feeds you, is what it amounts to.  One, their shows mostly run forever, keeping hundreds of people employed, not just on Broadway, but on numerous National Tours.  And two, perhaps even more importantly, they are building tomorrow's audiences.  Just think: the 8 year old that saw Beauty and the Beast in 1994 is 25 now, and attending even more Broadway shows, perhaps with children of their own.  And three... it is just an easy, cheap shot, born of jealousy more than anything else.
  6. No more unrealistic expectations.  The number of Tony Awards a cast has does not necessarily correlate with a superb show.  And a great show doesn't need to be full of Tony winners to be good.
  7. No more evaluating a show for its "family friendliness."  I'm sorry, but the book War Horse may have been written for children.  The play, with its graphic depiction of war violence, is not something I'd take a child to.  By the same token, I wouldn't necessarily avoid taking a well-adjusted youngster to Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with its core family values, the importance of friendship and acceptance.  No matter what, family friendly or not, all attendance of theater with young people should be thoroughly discussed and mined for discussing important life-lessons.
  8. No more complaining about the lack of serious shows.  There were plenty of serious plays and musicals this season.  If you don't support it, you can't complain that these gems close quickly.
  9. No more "that show doesn't belong on Broadway."  Why is every show that is creative, off the beaten path, and challenging to the senses only good enough to be in small theatres below 42nd Street?  There as to be room for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson AND Sister Act.
  10. No more pricing things out of the reach of your target audience.  Hey, I can understand and appreciate that a producer wants to recoup quickly.  And I understand the whole supply and demand thing.  But if your target audience is a high school/college student, what good does it do to have ticket prices they can't afford.  Even discounts, lotteries, and the cheap nose-bleed seats don't make Broadway an affordable thing for that group.  And after a year of record profits, it is hard to understand why prices keep going up.


Any ideas to add to the list?  Disagree with mine?  Tell me about it here, email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com or Tweet me!
Jeff
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2 comments:

  1. I agree with a lot of your list but of course I have to play devil's advocate. ;-)

    I agree that people should offer their view on the artistic merits of a show AFTER they've seen it. And people should be allowed to hate/love/be in the middle with equal respect.

    BUT I don't know if the chat rooms / message boards have the power to destroy a show. As we know, most of the tickets are bought by tourists who probably aren't checking the chat boards before making their decision on which show to see.

    And even if they were, Spider-Man was pulling down $1 million a week even with the negative comments on the message boards and elsewhere.

    So I don't think those comments have the power to destroy OR save a show. They're the most dedicated theatre fans but outside of their own small circle, I'm not sure they have any influence. There aren't enough of them and many aren't even in New York so it's not like they could see a favorite show 10 times if they wanted.

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  2. Hmmm.. I think we are going to have to disagree about the power/scope of online commentators. Here is Julie Taymor, at a NATIONAL event, discussing just that scope and power.


    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/former-spider-man-director-calls-new-show-much-simpler/

    Jeff

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