Monday, October 26, 2009

You are Pretty Enough for All Normal Purposes

Or so a line in Love, Loss and What I Wore says. But my question is more: Are you well-mannered enough for all normal purposes? But more of that later. First, I want to point out the fact that I have seen 8 Broadway shows and 3 off-Broadway shows in the last month and my two favorite have been off-Broadway (one of them being Love, Loss and What I Wore, the other being Circle Mirror Transformation). Now, don't get me wrong, we all know I LOVE my Broadway, but, I'm just sayin....

Anyway, I thought I'd do a random thoughts post. For those of you who are new to the blog, know that I do these from time to time to get out many of the theater-related things on my mind in one shot.

1) It continues to bother me that choreographer Sergio Trujillo begins some of Playbill bios with: "Broadway: Jersey Boys (2006 Tony Award, 2009 Olivier Award); Next to Normal, Guys and Dolls, All Shook Up." Note to people reading this: Sergio Trujillo has never won, or even been nominated for, a Tony Award. He was nominated for an Olivier Award, but he lost out. He puts this in his bio because the show won, but, um, yeah, that is not how people usually do it when they are choreographers and did not even contribute to the given show one big dance number. (And, yes, I refuse to count that finale number.) It is possible Mambo Kings would have brought him a nomination, but we know what happened there.

2) So, most people know my feelings about eating in the theater. (See, the story of mine I am most proud of: .) At the time that story ran, back in 2007, the Shuberts were holding strong as a theater chain that did not allow people to eat at their seats. They continue this, in theory. There is a sign up at every Shubert theater that says you cannot bring beverages back to your seat. It says nothing about food, but, I understand the idea they are trying to convey. However, I was in front of the bar 2 minutes before Oleanna started and I noted the person behind the bar selling a giant pack of Twizzlers to someone, not telling this person that the candy could not be eaten during the show. Now, you may say: "This poor girl doesn't need to tell the customer that--he should know." But the days of Miss Manners are behind us. If you sell a giant pack of Twizzlers two minutes before the start of a show without an explicit warning--where do you think that guy is eating those Twizzlers? And, indeed, all during this play people were chewing around me. Please make it stop. Please. I beg of someone.

3) I can't really comment on the God of Carnage cast in any great detail--because, well, what can I say about the new cast that the grosses won't? BUT, I do want to note that with Annie Potts coming to Broadway, the Great White Way has now officially welcomed all the Designing Women. That includes Meshach Taylor, who you may (or may not) remember was a bizarre stunt-cast for Lumiere alongside Toni Braxton's Beauty. So, welcome, Miss Potts. I have always wanted to work in an industry that embraces ALL Designing Women and Golden Girls.

4) No one really talked about who, in my opinion, loses out most by eliminating first night press from the Tony voting list: the lighting designers and orchestrators. Those of you who are confused by this statement--let me explain. The majority of the Tony voting public doesn't usually pay attention to such things--if the show is a hit, the just let those people share in the credit. I doubt people really thought Peter Kaczorowski's lighting in The Producers was stunning--but was there a doubt he would win? And how many people don't really understand the difference between the score and the orchestrations? The voters who had a tendency to take notes on such things were the critics. And now even their vote is gone, giving way to the sweeping mentality of the masses. Sad.

5) I haven't been reading the message boards and I didn't get through all of the reviews---does anyone else think that, in Memphis, Chad Kimball is doing Christian Slater's voice?

6) Sitting there watching Bye Bye Birdie I thought many thoughts. I think the first was: "Wow, this may well be much worse than Pal Joey." But somewhere along the line I started thinking about how much money it cost to present the catastrophe on display. Then my mind immediately jumped to the LORT contract, which allows non-profits to pay actors less for something like the first few months of a Broadway production (I think it varies by house, but I'd have to verify). This hasn't been covered much--but we're about to approach a time when 7 Broadway houses will be filled with such productions. Think about it: Roundabout has 3 theaters, MTC has one, Second Stage will be at the Hayes and the Beaumont makes six, but I am also adding 1 more to represent whatever Broadway house has an LCT production while South Pacific is still in residence at the Beaumont. Now, before you argue that it is actually 6 because South Pacific is off of LORT, I am just saying that 7 theaters will be filled with productions that, for at least a certain amount of time, will be entitled to discount pay rates. Does anyone else think this is going to be a growing problem for actors in years to come? I can see the contract negotiation difficulties now.

That's it for today. As always, feel free to post or email comments. I leave you with another quote from Love, Loss and What I Wore: "If you wear them again tomorrow, everyone will think it’s the new trend. That’s how trends start, you know?"