Thursday, January 31, 2008

Step Up!

That title has nothing to do with anything other than that the commercial for the movie was just on.

I'm so sorry I missed the Jerry Springer protesters. I hear they were really something. Please share stories if you have them.

For this blog post I am going to do a little something different. I had for some unknown reason never read the comments to my post about the possible quality differences between Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway. And I wanted to really respond to them.

First, RLewis said "we're all in this together - each have their trash and treasure, so why the competitiveness?" That I will respond to... I don't think there should be competitiveness. I would never boycott one. And i'd never say to someone: "I don't see [blank] because theater is better [blank]." But clearly people do say stuff like that, as evidenced by that woman saying it to me. Personally, I'm really excited about the next show at The Mint. I'm more excited about that then Passing Strange. (Have I ever said on here that I have NO IDEA what Passing Strange is about? Because I really don't... help? anyone?) I know that seems weird for such a Broadway baby, but, there you go. Rlewis is right... support all theater. Go see what sounds interesting. Blah. Blah. Blah.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT! I promised it and here it is... The second comment box was actually asking a question: Why is off-Broadway so much more expensive than off-off-Broadway? I have my own theories, but I figured I'd go out of the box and ask an expert: the Barnum of off-Broadway (as Campbell Robertson labelled him), Ken Davenport. I think the beginning of his answer talks about the off-off/off difference and then he moves on to the off/on difference. So you get a little bit of everything. So, for the first time ever, I turn the blog over to an industry person: "I don’t believe actual base salaries are problematic off-broadway. The only problem with labor are some of the 'extras' (benefits, etc.). These get a little out of control for something so small. Most of it is in the design . . . especially lighting. And all of the extras associated with that. When you add moving lights to an off-broadway production, you don’t only add moving lights. You add a programmer, you add a lot of maintenance, etc. Theater costs (rent) and advertising are the other major expenses that drive up the costs. While some publications like to think they are doing their part in reducing costs by offering “small theater rates” or “off-broadway rates”, these rates are in no way in proportion to the actual difference in potential revenue from a Broadway show to an Off-Broadway show. It’s well over $2k to pay for a 1/4 color ad in Time Out. Do you think any Off-Broadway show is selling over $2k worth of tickets per week from one 1/4 color ad in Time Out? Yet, if big budget for an Off-Broadway show is only $10k/week, that means 20% of it just disappeared in that one ad. And do you think 20% of a show’s audience per week is from Time Out? No."

There you go. I am officially refusing to discuss Mermaid on this blog (for the time being at least), so on Sunday you'll be in for more musings, non sea creature related and hopefully non crap related.

Monday, January 28, 2008

So Much Better?

I was going to talk about the whole Live Nation sell-off, but I just feel I can't add anything to that conversation really.

So I am going to talk a little about the search for the next Elle Woods. Like for Grease: You're The One That I Want, the point in my mind is not really to find an unknown talent, it is to get publicity. Therefore, like Grease, Blonde actually sort of hopes to cast a pro. The casting people are again encouraging Broadway vets to audition and go through the whole training thing as if they needed it. So basically they are televising a search to find a new Elle Woods, which is what they are doing, so that is okay. But they are not televising a search to find a great unknown.

That being said, they may end up with an unknown. After all, despite some competition from experienced NYC theater people, we have Max and Laura. And then the question becomes--how much training will someone with no real stage experience need to be able to perform the role of Elle Woods 8 times a week? That role is harder than either Grease role. And I feel like even if they get someone GENIUS--someone way better than the original star (and there is a possibility that will happen)--there may be a big stamina problem.

That is a concern. The other thing I will bring up is less a concern more a curiosity: How much will this help? It is going to be tricky to tell. When do we judge from? When the show starts airing? Before that even because of the publicity the ads will bring? Will we have to wait until a new Elle goes in? Because then we're getting into the difference I previously discussed between people buying tickets to Grease after they saw ALL of that promotion vs. people buying tickets to Grease to see Max and Laura--my feeling was more people fell into the first group than the second (even though there were plenty Max and Laura supporters out there).

The most interesting thing to me would be if we could see if the broadcast vs. cable difference mattered. That is a good question. But we're never going to be able to answer it--there are too many variables. We don't know how Grease would have done without its big talent search--so we have no baseline for that show. We will be able to tell ratings, but that is also sort of not comparable in many respects. So, alas, this whole thing will just end up being boring for me. Will I watch? Of course. I'll feel the need. I hope I enjoy it, though I'm not getting my hopes up.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

When Playbill first reported that eligibility decisions would be made on January 17, I wrote it down like any oddly obsessive theater freak. This weekend, when there was still no word on what those decisions were, I asked around, with the majority of people I asked assuming that the meeting had been postponed. But it had not been postponed, it’s just that no one had reported the results. Please take a moment to absorb that and then to laugh.

Done? Ok, moving on. This week there were a bunch of stories announcing decisions—on the websites and in Variety. They reported about the August actresses—a decision I’m happy about—and a bunch of other actor things. But they missed the major story, that A Bronx Tale is somehow eligible for Best Play.

Is He Dead? is also eligible for Best Play, but that is not perplexing to me. Sure, some thought it would be a revival because Mark Twain wrote it and he, well, has been dead awhile. But it was just discovered and no one had ever heard of it, so, I can see the Best Play thing. Not so much for A Bronx Tale. I believe the decision about A Bronx Tale proves how the rules are so vague and hard to understand that we maybe should bother trying.

1) Why is A Bronx Tale not Special Theatrical Event?

Anyone? I have written before about how weird I think this category is. See:
The rule states: “A "Special Theatrical Event" shall be any production in an eligible Broadway theatre that is, in the judgment of the Tony Awards Administration Committee, a live theatrical production that is not a play or musical.” So, basically, it says it is about the people in that room. But, we, as fans, have hoped that it would be about more than just that—that there would be some kind of pattern to the decisions. As I said in that previous post, that has not come to pass. Basically, as I said in that last post, in the past it has appeared that productions that could possibly be considered iffy get whatever they request. Some productions, like Bridge & Tunnel, wanted Special Theatrical because they knew that was a guaranteed win. Others that were borderline have chosen to be a play or a musical in order that their cast and creative team could be nominated. In this case, now Chazz Palminteri has a good shot at a Best Actor nominee... But I don't think this was a strategic choice by the Bronx Tale team--I think it is more likely that A Bronx Tale simply forgot to ask to be Special Theatrical Event. Or the other possibility is that there simply won’t be enough Special Theatrical Events to have a category and, knowing that, the Tony peeps opted to make it a play rather than toss it a Bridge & Tunnel-esque random special award or exclude it from any chance at anything. Both of these explanations I offer are reasonable. Not fair, but reasonable. So, let’s move on to my second, more major issue with this ruling…

2) Why, if A Bronx Tale is not a Special Theatrical Event, is it being considered a NEW play and not a revival?

Really, this is where I lose it. I am sure someone reading is going to think: “Well, because it was never on Broadway before.” But, um, remember that good ol’ classics rule. This rule states: “A play or musical that is determined by the Tony Awards
Administration Committee (in its sole discretion) to be a "classic" or in the historical or popular repertoire shall not be eligible for an Award in the Best Play or Best Musical category but may be eligible in the appropriate Best Revival category, if any, provided it meets all other eligibility requirements set forth in these Rules.” That rule is the reason Broadway productions of shows like Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Little Shop of Horrors have been considered revivals in recent years. Both of those had only been off-Broadway in the past, but both had movies and were considered in the “popular repertoire.” Sounds like A Bronx Tale, no? Now, someone out there is going to argue that “historical or popular repertoire” means a show that has either been done a lot in the past, or is currently done a lot, throughout the country and A Bronx Tale isn’t that. That is about the only argument you can come up with to explain why this is not a revival. It’s not a horrible argument either, it’s just one I worry about. This is 100% a very familiar title. It’s just as, if not more, familiar than Frankie and Johnny. So—if we’re saying it’s not familiarity, if it instead has to be something that tons of people do… That is a fair interpretation of that wording—but who draws the line? Because it’s often pretty clear if something is famous or not… If we asked 100 people on the street would the majority know what the hell we were talking about? But, when you say it needs to be done in places across the country. How many places? Is there a cut-off line? And maybe that is indeed what they are basing it on (if there is any thought that goes into these decisions) -- Three Days of Rain was considered a revival a couple of years ago – which is a show that has no movie and no huge widespread title familiarity, but is done by a good amount of regional theaters. How many? Well, I guess enough for it to be considered in the “popular repertoire.” I mean—is anyone else seeing how ridiculous this is? I could go on and on with examples and counter-examples and maybe come up with some reasoning behind the choices, but, eventually, it’s just going to be pointless. Actually, I think we’re already there.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Every Little Thing

I was interviewing a theater fan today--an elderly, affluent woman--and she said something interesting to me. She said that she generally doesn't go to Broadway shows and attends very few off-Broadway shows, tending to focus more on off-off-Broadway because "more good shows happen there."

Is that true? More theater certainly happens off-off-Broadway than on Broadway and so, yes, I suppose it probably is true that more good theater quantity-wise happens there. But if we were to base it on percentage—would it be true? I think not.

Though, of course, this gets into who is judging what a good show is. Certainly, this is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think Cyrano was brilliant—I was bored by the pretty, lifeless production. So I wouldn’t put it in my “good” slot, but others (Ben Brantley) might. This woman may have thought THOM PAIN (Based on Nothing) was the best play ever, then there is me.

That being said, if we took a critical tally of all reviews and gave each production a final letter grade based on the tally, we’d find out that percentage-wise, off-off-Broadway does not beat Broadway in terms of quality. Of course this undertaking would require more effort than anyone would want to commit unless they were getting paid for it.

There are many variables that might lead me to be wrong—for instance, critics and audience members tend to be kinder to things which have a lower budget and require people to pay less. Yet, still I have the feeling that percentage-wise better theater does not happen in miniscule places.

I anticipate that one response to this is to say that Broadway is burdened by commercialism and thus must necessarily be worse than off-off-Broadway, as plays that premiere in a 10-seat theater below a church likely remains truer to its creator’s original vision throughout development. Here is the reason I think that is crap: a creator’s original vision is often sucky. So, yeah, I believe in not compromising due to ticket sales. I couldn’t believe when Dracula made the decision to cut out nudity in order to attract school groups. But just because you’re not burdened by such pedestrian concerns doesn’t necessarily mean your final product will be good.

Now, off-Broadway (with only one “off”) is an interesting issue. In the commercialism light, it is important to note that off-Broadway is not a middle ground—sure it has less commercialism concerns than Broadway, but a hell of a lot more than off-off because of the substantially increased production costs. Additionally, production values generally take a huge step up when dropping one “off.” Therefore while off-Broadway is wedged between these two other large groups, it cannot really be seen as a perfect compromise between them. In terms of quality of shows, I’m really not sure what we’d fine percentage-wise. Again, its lower budget and ticket cost means people tend to be kinder, but ticket costs for major off-Broadway are dangerously close to reaching Broadway range, so how much that has an influence in this case is iffy. There is indeed more off-Broadway than Broadway and so quantity-wise maybe more good shows. But I’m genuinely not sure what we’d find percentage-wise between Broadway and off-Broadway. That being said, between off-Broadway and off-off, I think the former fares better. After all, there is such a gluttony of off-off that it brings the quality percentage number down. Sure, you might be able to get 10 people to watch your Hamlet told backwards in an insane asylum with singing sock puppets, but you’re likely bringing down the off-off-Broadway quality percentage figure.

And now I’m off. I have about 12 emails asking me when I think Color Purple will close to make room for Shrek. How dare these people talk about closing so soon after Chaka Khan makes her Broadway debut? It’s shameful really.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Music Ignites The Night

So, I am sure you were all about the 100th story on theater internet sites that ran today. But, of course, the big news was really the closing of Rent. The news is so big that my regional theater post will have to wait...

I know, we can all say the news isn't so big because, let's face it, this has been years coming. Indeed, I can't count how many times I've heard that Rent was over. But now it finally will be... Though I doubt very much it will close exactly when the release said it will. Regardless, by this time next year, there will be no more Tango: Maureen on Broadway.

I want to use Rent to discuss two distinct problems that befall many long-running Broadway shows:

1) Many people have already seen it.
Yes, well, duh. This is so obvious it is stupid to mention it, but, of course, I must. Once a show has run on Broadway for over 10 years, we all know that a lot of annual tourists or regular theatergoers will have seen it. So that definitely eats into an audience.

2) The show risks becoming less than it once was.
Here is the tricky thing--there are certain shows that are in a way timeless. In other words, these shows will always be interesting to a new crop of viewers. That doesn't mean they'll be open forever, but they have a better chance of lasting longer. Phantom is a big-budget tourist attraction. There are always families wanting to take their kids to see The Lion King. A show like Rent is a harder sell over time. It succeeded originally because it really spoke to a group of people. Those people have seen it, many times probably. And, for a long while, new crops of Rent-heads were born. But now, with more rock musicals littering the stage, the possible future Rent audience is being parred down. After all, shows like Spring Awakening are racier and more now (that show's actual time period notwithstanding). So a big part of what made Rent so popular--its edge and its ability to attract new kinds of audiences to the theater--is now gone. If Rent opened now, it would be less than it was when it opened in 1996. Now, in a way, Rent created its competition. Would there be a Spring Awakening if there was never a Rent? It's hard to say. There may have been another Rent-like show that proved the success of rock musicals not in the Andrew Lloyd Webber vein. But there is also an argument that, without Rent, the crop of musicals today would be very different. Those who hold to this second theory believe that, if Rent opened today, it would still be what it was in 1996 because it would still be revolutionary. To this I have to disagree--even in a sea of Phantom-esque scores, 2008 is not 1996 and Rent simply has lost some of its topic edginess.

All this is not to take anything away from the amazing run Rent has had on Broadway. It influenced a huge amount of theatergoers--way more than The Lion King ever will.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the winner is... The actress who used to look like Glenn Close

I get to the airport today to find out American Airlines has canceled all afternoon flights to NYC because of the snowstorm. You New Yorkers might be thinking--what snowstorm? That's because there has yet to be one there, yet I'm stuck in LA, having spent three hours at the airport just to come back to the place I have been staying. In other words, I am in no mood to post tonight. (Had the Golden Globes special been even somewhat fun, it might have boosted my spirits but, as I couldn't even sit through 6 minutes of it, I'm still cranky.)

So--Wednesday people. Wednesday, a day when I just may talk about the regional staging of Metamorphoses I saw here. Or at least something about some of theater. I have to live up to the blog title after all.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Near the Sea

So I looked at Variety and saw the headline that said: " Foster joins 'Spider Woman' cast" and I thought "Jodie Foster in a movie version of Kiss of a Spider Woman." But, alas. (I also love how in the story, about the Signature Theater revival of the musical, it says "will play here" as if Variety is associated with a regional location beyond LA and, maybe, NYC, this "here" referring to neither.)

Anyway, I am still in LA. I just returned from attending The Color Purple, so I feel very NYC at least. My email box is flooded from messages of people who have seen Mermaid. Now, in 24 hours we'll know what the "real" critics think. But will it matter? That we won't know for a good while... And there are multiple scenarios to consider:

1) Good reviews = A joyous day
2) Mixed reviews = I'm 100% sure the show will keep on selling (and by mixed I mean mixed major reviews, not like good reviews from two people in Kansas who happen to have stumbled upon a Broadway opening mixed in with bad ones)
3) Bad reviews =
A) Doesn't matter (See Beauty and the Beast)
B) Sales begin to slow down in a few weeks (See Tarzan)

I have this much to say about it: The Little Mermaid is a more appealing title than Tarzan. It's a story of a girl fighting for her dreams. Tarzan is about cultural imperialism. So score one for Ariel.

That being said, if multiple critics say this show doesn't have the heart/integrity of the movie, that might possibly mean trouble. Because--after all--Beauty may have been crappy, but mostly because it was so literal. And that helped it... You know there is this odd thing--people want stage work to be transformative, so they don't want to see the same exact thing that was on the screen. Yet they want to see the familiar--they want the songs delivered how they remember them being. Logically of course these things don't go together, but they do in the practical world. So, what I'm saying is, if bad reviews could possibly have an effect (and that's a big if), I think only certain types of bad reviews would have that effect.

I won't be reading the reviews tomorrow, so no reaction on Sunday. This is because I'm not going until I get back to town and I don't want to have my mound clouded with such things. Plus, I'm on vacation, people. I'm so not keeping up. I logged onto Variety just for all of you.

I'll join you again Sunday on the East Coast, home of the coolest people.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Me Tarzan

Greetings from the Los Angeles, home to an exceptional amount of small theaters. Here the buzz all day was about Natasha Lyonne hitting off-Broadway. OK, not really.

I write to you today having just spoken to someone from American Musical Theatre of San Jose about their production of Tarzan. (Note: I ask him if I could write this post or else it would be too shady to do so. I say this to the people who do speak to me, so they know their opinions won't end up on the blog.) I don't know how many of you read about this--this is the one that was recently announced that is debuting next year at Theater of the Stars in Atlanta and then going to like 5 other theaters. Now, when I first spoke to this person about this production, he said "It's a whole new Tarzan," which meant to me it was actually a new musical version of Tarzan. Like The Wild Party duo or the two Tale of Two Cities. But, no. It's the Broadway score and book with a new production tailored around it. (Direction and choreography is by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, who I think is an odd choice, but I won't delve into that aspect of it now.) This guy said they'd make it "a great show."

Now, as I've said here before, I didn't hate Tarzan. It was exactly what I thought it would be. That being said, it of course was not good. Some of what was wrong was Bob Crowley's fault, sure. But I think you really have to ask yourself--how much of it was his fault? If the characters had done more than stand facing straight at the audience when they sang, the show would have been helped. On the other hand, it still wouldn't have been a great show.

So the question you always have to ask yourself is--is it worth spending the time to change it? Is there only one element that is ruining the show? And often there are pieces that I see that I think, "Well, this had potential and then..." Bright Lights Big City would have been problematic originally no matter what, but the NYTW production really killed it. That was a musical you could see something in somewhere. Tarzan isn't that kind of musical. There is just not that much there the way it was written.

If Lynne Taylor-Corbett did the most genius job in the world, some of the show's problems would go away, but no way all of them would. This guy I was talking to was blaming the failure of the show on Bob Crowley and, um, it's important to realize that Bob Crowley wasn't the only problem. The new songs weren't effective, the book wasn't near good enough. Which doesn't mean it shouldn't be produced anywhere--it's Tarzan, of course it is going to run places. But it's a common mistake to look at a show with potential back in the conception stage and then put the majority of blame on one failed show element. There are some shows that can't be saved exactly as they are on the page. (And, actually, before someone posts this, yes, I am aware Bright Lights wouldn't have been amazing as it was written at the NYTW time, but, that is something that could have been a tremendous amount better had an original director really shaped it. That was a project that would have benefited from collaborative shaping during the inception period.) And I really have to say I'm not sure Theater Under the Stars is going to come up with a much better Tarzan than what we saw. So is it worth the effort of trying? Couldn't you just do our Tarzan without some/all of the flying? (And I only say without flying because the flying took so long to learn and was so set specific.) That's pretty much what I would do. Now, again, it's important to make every show as good as it can be, so I admire them spending the time and effort to really create a new production. I just worry, based on what this guy was saying, that they are expecting too much from this show. There could have been a great show based on Tarzan, it's true. But using this score and book, you're never going to get one. No matter how many of the Phil Collins songs the audience members can sing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy 2008

Have I ever talked on this blog about how big a supporter I am of Striking 12? I so am. Really. I would tell you all to go see it except it's already closed. Alas. As we Jews say, "Next year in Jerusalem," or in this case maybe, "Next year at some off-Broadway space."

Anyway, people who know me know that I would be happy if every show on Broadway was a success. Seriously. Whether I like the particular show or not. As far as I'm concerned, the more success there is on Broadway, the better chance we have of getting people to really care about theater again. No, I don't think the random success of certain shows is what will do it (as the last two posts have made clear), but if we had like 20 hits, that might lead to something. Possibly. Maybe. But, plus, I know a lot of producers who I want them to stay producers and not go bankrupt. And I know a lot of actors and I want them to have jobs. So, yeah, I in some ways support everything. So, people associated with some of the below shows, know that even though I may be mean occasionally, I wish you luck. Truly.

And now onto the next five biggest stories of the year in my mind. I have to say, I actually struggled to come up with this Top 10 list. The strike so dwarfed everything else. But I came up with them. Did I mention they were in no particular order?

6. There Possibly Are No Worse Things Things You Could Do

It depends how you look at it whether the whole reality show thing worked. On one hand, it offered tons of free publicity and Grease sold tons of tickets. On the other hand, Broadway ended up with two crappy leads (one simply mediocre, one completely miscast, totals two crappy in my mind). But what to me was more shocking about this revival is how those leads weren't the worst part of it. Grease is a story to me because it represents a huge failure of Broadway professionals I respect. I mean, I'm a big Kathleen Marshall fan. I was extremely upset when Wonderful Town lost the Tony. But, this, everything was wrong with it--it had no redeeming features. Usually when a show has no redeeming features you can blame some novice behind-the-scenes. Sadly not so much here. People tried to lay it on those kids, but, I'm telling you, even with good leads, the production would still suck. OK, you can argue that everything had to be changed because of what Kathleen Marshall was dealing with in terms of leads, but, I don't buy that. You can't blame Rizzo being dressed like she's in the Hot For Teacher video because Laura Osnes is a Broadway newcomer.

7. Miss Celie's Pants are Filled with Joy
If you had told me when it opened, that The Color Purple would still be running, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Truly. But the marketing of The Color Purple is so genius it matches Disney in terms of genius. It's not all Oprah either--it's everything. Fantasia. The coverage of the church groups. You know, I'm always telling producers they need to target their audience better. Like, my grandmother's Hadassah group should have known about 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother. Yet is so rarely happens that word gets out to enough of the right people at the appropriate time. But its all worked in The Color Purple's favor. You have to be impressed by that. This year I was sort of in awe of it.

8. Legally Blonde: I'm Serious
I know some of you are out there thinking (if you think in Cara-speak): "Legally Blonde is such a non-story. There has hardly ever been more of a non-story. It's there, it's running, whatever. Is it the MTV thing you're talking about? Because, ok, I'll give you that." Yeah, no. The MTV thing happened and it didn't revolutionize the theater, so, that is not why I write about Elle. I write about the pink lady because I've hardly ever seen an out-of-town tryout help and yet possibly hurt a show so much. So everyone thinks it is going to be mediocre (except I had high hopes because I honestly love the songwriting team) and then it goes to San Francisco, which had been a show killer, and gets good reviews. So people are psyched up. They read about the reviews in the NY Post--they buy tickets. Theater people like me--who read the reviews--tell their friends, "Well, it's actually supposed to be really good." And then, once the NYC theater people see it, they sit there confused. They ask themselves things like: "Why does this have better buzz than The Wedding Singer had?" And people just leave the theater puzzled. Bothered. Bewildered. Not so much bewitched. This confused reaction is the result of the good buzz not matching the product. Whereas, without that hype, the theater folks (and I'm not talking about the teen fans--I'm talking about the critics and such) still would not have liked it, but they would have stared slightly less blankly during it. Instead of being just another candy-colored confection, Blonde became a disappointment post-San Francisco. Does that really matter? Did those reviews really end up altering these reviews? I don't know, maybe not, but I wonder.

9. The Death of Coram Boy
I almost forgot Coram Boy existed. Seriously, I didn't remember until I saw the picture of the girl/boy on this morning. And it's shocking to me that I forgot because when Coram Boy was going on I considered it a huge story. Here is a show that had a 99% chance of losing money, no matter what the reviews were. I mean, it was a straight play with a choir. The paid for a full choir. And oddly they sort of didn't have to--it's not like the choir did that much... They were really something to see, but... OK, I'm getting off track. So the 1st interesting part of the story is that it happened on Broadway intact. No one tried to cheap out. There were 40 people in that cast, way more than a musical these days. Let's take a moment to seriously applaud that before moving on. Moment. Ok. The 2nd interesting part of the story is that Coram Boy was such a miscalculation. I actually liked it--as long as I am sitting through a long straight play, I want it to be interesting to look at and this was that. It was really something to experience. But, that being said, that product was never going to attract a Broadway audience. I guess there was no way to tell that the critics would work against them--it was pretentious and they often like that sort of thing. But what made it so perplexing to me is they were basing the whole thing on the critics. Once they didn't get them, they had absolutely nothing else. There was sort of no giving it the old college try. And in a way I'm all for people admitting defeat--especially when, as in this case, even success probably wouldn't have meant monetary success--but I also admire a Plan B.

10. In the Heights/37 Arts
If I was in a room with two other theater journalists (and of course there are only like seven others) we could totally play "You know your theater complex is in trouble when..." with 37 Arts and be there for a good 20 minutes. You can imagine everything we'd say and so there is no need for me to write it all out. But what remains to be seen is whether the In The Heights move would really rightfully be part of the list. In some ways it has to be: "You know your theater complex is in trouble when you don't have enough faith in it to leave your own show there." In other ways not so much. If the show is a huge hit on the Great White Way, you can say the fact that it was off-Broadway, or more specifically at 37 Arts, was the reason it wasn't sold out previously. If the show doesn't do so well on Broadway, then whatever it was or was not had little to do with 37 Arts. I think that makes sense.