Sunday, February 17, 2008

No Habla Espanol!

I just got back from Feeling Electric, er, Next to Normal. I really liked that young girl.

That observation is not related to anything else in this post.

So Celia fascinates me. I haven't discussed it on here before (I mean, since the post when I got home from it and shared with all of you the life lesson that when you sing your skin color changes) because I had pitched a story about it and I don't like to talk about story topics on here because, you know, conflict.... Anyway, now that Variety has written it, I feel free.

First I want to state a correction to something in the story. Gordon Cox (or some copy editor) wrote that the show played one English performance per week when it began... It was actually two. This makes a difference because it makes the leap to three seem, well, less dramatic.

Now moving on... The reason I am fascinated by it is it's showing that there is a market for commercial productions in Spanish. Puerto Rican Traveling Theater has done the 6/2 spanish/english divide before, but, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a major commercial production to do it. (Maybe some historian can tell me of one....) Does anyone remember Latinologues? That Broadway show toyed with doing all-Spanish performances but the producers were unsure of whether the formula would work. Celia clearly proves it does.

Will we be seeing more of this? Should In The Heights maybe do some Spanish nights? (If Spelling Bee can do "gay" night...) I think so. Clearly there is an audience who wants to come see Spanish-language shows. Because, I actually disagree with the Variety story in this sense... My friend at New World Stages has long said that the English nights are half empty. Now half-empty is of course better than the 90% empty I'm sure many other shows are, so, there is that... but, in general, people aren't really flocking to the English nights. I'm actually not sure why they added another one, other than the fact that maybe they were hoping that with their new legit press agent and more mainstream press, they would need another one... But, regardless of this detail, no one would dispute that the reason Celia is still running is the Spanish nights. People flock to them. So why wouldn't other shows do it?

This is not the case where the musical was so amazing it worked in this one case. This musical is bad. Sure, the music is familiar and that helps... But I truly believe most of it is people craving this type of thing. I'm not, but, my cravings so don't matter. If they did, I'd run out of here right now to get waffle in a bag.

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