Theatre fans are among the most passionate in the whole world. Once we latch on to a show, we don't let go. We are the ones who see shows 5 or more (many more, usually) times. We know in advance who is out for a given performance. We go out of our way to see everyone who plays a certain role - the regular, all three understudies, the swing AND the stand by. We are the ones who stand at the stage door in all kinds of weather, not for autographs and pics, but to chat about the show that day. We are the ones that everyone else stares at when the cast stops to talk to us and no one else. We are Broadway show fans!
A good blog-buddy of mine, Tyler, has agreed to be the first "fan" for this series. If you follow him on Twitter, you know about which show he is completely in love with. The show is Follies. Here is part one of two about his love for the show, his stage door experiences and how being a FolliesFan has changed his life.
JEFF: So, I think it is a safe bet to say that you are one of FOLLIES’ biggest fans, Tyler. How many times have you seen the show? How many more times do you plan to go?
TYLER: I’ve seen it 28 times and counting. I have plans to see the show a few more times with just a little under 3 weeks of its run to go. Believe it or not, I am actually not the biggest fan. There is an older couple that has seen the show almost 90 times. That’s dedication.
JEFF: As someone so young, what is it about a show about aging that obviously speaks to you so profoundly?
TYLER: Ah, the million dollar question. You have no clue how many times I have been asked this. I don’t have a complete answer – part of the reason why I keep going back is to try to understand what about this shows touches me so deeply. It’s a work in progress.
|Daniel Radcliffe signing autographs at|
the Al Hirschfeld Theatre after How to Succeed...
|The Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells|
connects with fans at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre
JEFF: What is it about this production - staging, etc. - that really appeals to you?
TYLER: EVERYTHING! 28 piece orchestra playing this INCREDIBLE Sondheim score, 41 cast members on stage, the cast, including the likes of Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, Elaine Paige, Terri White, Susan Watson, et al. It’s a beautiful production and we are lucky to have it on Broadway.
JEFF: Which character or characters do you find that you identify with the most?
TYLER: I find all the characters relatable – there are parts of each character that I can relate to. If I had to chose one character, I would have to say probably Young Phyllis (her naivety and desire to please) and Young Ben (his desire to succeed and his ambition).
JEFF: You have to know that there are many people who really hate the show. I always think people hate it for two reasons: that they only know the OBCR or that when they see it, they just don’t get it. What do you have to say to these people that might make them understand it better, if not like it?
TYLER: I don’t have anything to say to people. The show is not for everyone and I expect many of the people I take to see the show to hate it. It’s a divisive show – in most cases, if you love it, you LOVE it. If you hate it, you HATE it. It’s very polarizing and there isn’t much
that can be said to change their minds.
JEFF: I remember my reaction sitting there when I saw FOLLIES - I was in absolute tears for about 90% of the time. I found it to be profoundly sad. How does FOLLIES effect you emotionally? Has it lessened or gotten more intense over the course of seeing it so many times?
TYLER: It really depends on how involved in the show I am. Sometimes, rough days just make me cry more during certain scenes. Other times, great days just make me laugh more. It really depends. It always hits me emotionally, though.
|Fans waited behind the barriers to catch a glimpse|
of Promises, Promises stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes
TYLER: One of my fondest memory of the show occurred not at the stage door, but at curtain call. I was sitting in the front row for the first time, and during curtain call, Terri White came out, pointed at me, waved and winked while she took her bow. It was such a small, sweet
gesture but it meant to the world to.
JEFF: Do the stage door people at the Marquis Theatre know you by name and on sight? How about the ushers and merchandise people?
TYLER: The ushers know me and have come up to me while I wait on the subway platform to chat with me. It’s pretty hilarious.