UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG ENTRY
As of the time I wrote this blog, the facts are these:
- The matinee and evening performances Scandalous - the final two previews - have been cancelled.
- The official reason is that star Carolee Carmello was put on immediate, short-term vocal rest by her physician.
- Opening Night is still scheduled for tonight, November 15th.
And let me say now that I wish Ms. Carmello a speedy recovery and a happy Opening Night, if, in fact, she is ailing as reported. She is a terrific performer who deserves the benefit of the doubt. And if that is the case, and she really sings nearly every number and spends only 11 minutes off stage, then shame on the producers for not having a shorter preview schedule per week. Lots of shows do that. Or like Evita, have a scheduled alternate learn the show with her and do 2 shows a week. (It should be noted that despite the complaining on message boards, it is NOT common for the understudies to get much, if any rehearsal during previews, so that is not really an option.)
That said, part of me smells something fishy here. Let's call it Post Spider-Man Skepticism.
- Are they allowing Ms. Carmello an "out" for bad reviews? Isn't too late? The reviewers that have seen the show have seen the show.
- Are they giving an excuse not to officially open? Perhaps. But calling it this late in the game is foolish. Again, reviewers (many of them, anyway) have already seen it. Will they be gracious and not print them? Or well they get fed up and print eventually anyway, like they did with Spider-Man? One can assume that threshold will be much shorter than it was before. And let's face it, the sharks are circling this one.
- Is this just a diversion to take some of the sting out of the reviews? Assuming they are as bad as the word-of-mouth, the general public may think that the poor health of the star is a decent excuse.
- And what about this "surprise" announcement about the show to air on the Today show on Thursday? Hmmm... could Kathie Lee Gifford be saving the day, going on for Carolee? Postpones the official opening, short-term. AND opens the door for an ailing star to gracefully leave the show, gets the show more time to change things so it can open with Gifford in the lead role. Even if all it does is buy time and really lets Carmello heal, the tickets sales will soar. Let's face it - they are literally giving away tickets and people are STILL not coming. Or a compromise - Gifford plays two shows a week...
Or maybe it is just as they are reporting. Carolee Carmello is a trouper and will knock it out of the park in front of friends and family. At least she'll have that if the show opens and closes on November 15th, anyway.
UPDATE: The Today show "special announcement" (as of about 9AM) regarding Scandalous was apparently another red herring. It was the usual segment... backstage to meet the cast, interview the author (in this case KLG)...nothing special, and no announcement that I heard. Mostly, I'm ticked at myself for adding to their viewer numbers by falling for this. Last minute PR that smacks of self-indulgent trickery never sits well with me. The reviews will be what the reviews will be and we'll see how long it lasts. Ticketmaster is still selling months in advance... including opening night seats. But I hear TDF has taken it down. Interesting... Selfishly, I hope it makes it until 11/25 so I can see it. And my review will be what it will be. Still, I hate going into a show with a bad attitude...
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