He writes, "It is always important to focus on customers who publicly air a product or a show's dirty laundry . . . but don't forget about the people that love what you've produced. If you're lucky, there are a lot more of them. And if you're smart, you can use them to your advantage to drown out the others." Despite a potential conflict of interest, he is still right.
Before I saw his blog today, I was going to address this very thing after reading a particularly biting strand on a message board for a theatre website supposedly by and for fans of the theatre.
I'll start again by stating that I fully support people's right to free speech and to have whatever opinion they like, even (and in some cases, especially) when it doesn't agree with my own.
BUT what I find particularly upsetting are the following things:
- writing about hearsay is if it were irrefutable truth
- quoting people 'involved in the production" who "say things at the stage door" or "Tweet things" to the writer "privately"
- discussing aspects of a production that are not only inaccurate, but reflect that the writer has clearly not seen the show
- throwing around facts and figures as if they understand what is behind those numbers
- and worst of all, the obvious pleasure that they get from digging at the show in question.
|"The People of Godspell" button.|
The popular term for these alleged insiders is "shills." Um, "shills" don't talk negatively about the show they are "shilling." And producers don't (and legally probably can't) disclose information about a production before any sort of official press release that has been given the once over by any and every one involved. (Perhaps they are referring to "marks" who are people that float ideas in public forums to guage the response to potential ideas - "I hear they might cut the intermission of Follies," followed by watching what people say about that potential change. Again, though, their purpose is to ultimately improve, not todestroy a show or a product or whatever a company hires them to find out.
|WWJD? Did one of these cast members say |
something or Tweet out of turn? I doubt it.
Again, people "with the show" aren't going to say such things where anyone can take that info and run with it. Among the "evidence" that the show is "in trouble" vis-a-vis the Tweet that the show was sold out when it wasn't: there were blocks of empty seats at a weekend performance; there were tickets available all weekend at TKTS; they had a low per ticket average price the week it opened, which must mean it is in danger.