Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Lotta Locomotion

For my birthday this week, I received a big bouquet of balloons in the shape of flowers. They were almost the size of my apartment and they kept swaying and knocking things over. One of the things that was knocked over was a VHS of the Starlight Express B-Roll. I had never watched the whole thing, but I picked it up off the floor and finally did and it struck me how times had changed. It looks a joke now--some Saturday Night Live skit of a Broadway show.

Timing came up a lot this week, with people wondering if The Pirate Queen would have fared better if it had opened in the late 1980s or early 90s. I like to think not. I like to think it would have been seen as bad then, as well. For me, there is a difference between things being not of the time and things being incorrectly executed. (I went to see Room Service today at the Soho Playhouse and, while clearly of a certain time, it holds up because it was done well, but that is just a side note, only sort of related to my point.) Yes, there are certain things that play best at a certain time. For instance, we live in a cynical time where musical comedies delivered with a wink have a better shot at survival than old-fashioned earnest tuners. (And please don't write me that Drowsy Chaperone is evidence that old-fashioned musicals can be a success because that show is intentionally not earnest.) But I like to think there is a certain level of quality that rises above the tastes of a time.

There has also been a lot of discussion in the industry as to whether Legally Blonde can take away some of Wicked's repeat teen visitors. Someone actually said to me this week: "If I were a producer of Wicked, I'd be scared." Um.... I wouldn't be. The difference is, the cult fans of Wicked identify with the green girl. People want to root for her because everyone has been teased at some point in their lives or felt like an outcast. That is why those girls go back time and again to that show. They may attend Legally Blonde, maybe even more than once, but Legally Blonde will never steal them away from Wicked. Legally Blonde has a heroine who very few people can identify with--she's rich and from Beverly Hills. Sure, you want her to triumph and you cheer when she does, but not many people are going to have the visceral connection to Elle Woods as they do to Elphaba. This has nothing to do with whether Legally Blonde will be a hit--I'm sure many teens will want to see it and so will their parents--I'm just saying the cult Wicked fans will likely stay put.

Anyway, I know many of you might think this post is lame and decidedly not juicy, but I'm tired and a little overwhelmed. Come back Wednesday for some gossip. I'll come up with something before then.

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