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The State of Affairs on Broadway


edjames
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The economic downturn has hit the Broadway stage! Xanadu, closed. Hairspray, closing. Spamalot, closing. Spring Awakening, closing. The Roundabout has announced it has pushed back the revivial of "Dancin" till next season, and it's replacement, "Waiting for Godot" with Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin is also in trouble.

 

Shows like "A Tale of Two Cities," and "Boeing, Boeing" are just hanging in there. "A Tale Of two Cities" which received some very bad reviews is being helped along by the deep pockets of one of its producers.

 

"Young Frankenstein" is limping along at the cavernous Hilton theater. The new musical "Spider Man," with a $40 million dollar budget, directed by Julie Taymor, has been scoping out the theater.

 

BUT, the good news is "Billy Elliot" is about to open and having seen it on Thursday night I can safely say this may be the biggest hit of the season. A wonderful musical with a great cast. There were some problems with the mechanics of the set early on in the previews, but that seems to have been solved. The young man who played Billy's best friend, Michael, stole the show. Their duet in the number "Electricity" was a show highlight. I won't reveal much more about the show and urge you to get a ticket!

 

Also, "All My Sons" starring John Lithgow, Diane Weist and Mrs. Tom Cruise (Katie Holmes) is a powerful drama with a powerful cast.

 

Don't bother with "Speed The Plow." I was disappointed with this production and found it boring. I know a number of theatergoers who have expressed a similar opinion, despite good reviews, it was a very disappointing evening at the theater.

 

However, not all is bleak. Upcoming are "American Buffalo" with John Leguziamo and Cedric the Entertainer. "West Side Story," "Dividing the Estate," and "Pal Joey,".

 

ED

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I don't see the problem here, Ed. Broadway shows close all of the time. The shows you list have had long periods of success and are dying natural deaths.

 

I am looking forward to West Side Story and Guys and Dolls next year. Sure, it would be nice to have new musicals in addition to the old stand-bys, but the expense of a musical has been a pretty hefty obstacle to untested stuff.

 

I am glad that you agreed with my assessment of Speed the Plow- that is, I decided not to see it because I doubted it would be worth it. I've written in other threads about my pleasure with Billy Elliott- the musical.

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>

>

>BUT, the good news is "Billy Elliot" is about to

>open and having seen it on Thursday night I can safely say

>this may be the biggest hit of the season. A wonderful

>musical with a great cast. There were some problems with the

>mechanics of the set early on in the previews, but that seems

>to have been solved. The young man who played Billy's best

>friend, Michael, stole the show. Their duet in the number

>"Electricity" was a show highlight. I won't reveal

>much more about the show and urge you to get a ticket!

>

"Billy Elliot" is a wonderful show, as I've posted elsewhere. The end of the first act just devestated me and the dream ballet in the second act was unforgettable, thrilling. I think it's one of the great musicals -- heir to "West Side Story" and "A Chorus Line" for its integration of sweeping choreography into a powerful dramatic narrative.

 

I'm curious as to which actor you saw as Billy. I saw David Alvarez, who was mesmerizing.

 

I'm wondering if the producers will use all three actors playing the part for the several critics' performances. And I also wonder how the matter of three actors alternating in the role will be handled in the Best Actor in a Musical category for the Tony Awards. WIll all three actors be nominated?

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I, too, saw David Alvarez as "Billy" and thought he was terrific. Give 'em a Tony! Brillant!

 

While it's true that shows open and close all the time, many shows run for years, look at Cats, A Chorus Line, and the ever popular Phantom of the Opera, and God knows Grease just seems to have a life of it's own, whether it's good or bad! Since the NYC economy depends so heavily on tourism, tourists come to Broadway to see these types of shows. Check the line around the block for Chicago or Jersey Boys on any given night. Tourists are not likely to waste their money on edgier shows. It is also sad when shows close because there are so many actors, stagehands, lighting, sound and other working members of the show who depend on Broadway not only for their paychecks but also insurance benefits. It hurts the restaurant and hotel industries when there are fewer theatrical choices, too.

 

We've also lost shows that were announced but pulled without even opening due to lack of production money, e.g. Godspell.

 

ED

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Such a loss to lose another production of Godspell. And the Nathan Lane show in trouble? Good. I'm sick of him. He plays Nathan Lane quite well.

I just don't see the problem. Theater owners continue to raise prices as the unions continue to resist reasonable work rules. I think theater buffs in general don't look to Broadway so much anymore anyway. The best stuff is off-Broadway, still unrecognized by the Tonys. Last I heard, off-Broadway was doing just fine.

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Guest carter07

Well, my son is a stagehand; worked off-Broadway for years, now in the international union (not Local 1) and can do Broadway and the show he was on (Legally Blond) just closed. Things are tightening up, even off-Broadway, I'm told. But whether you work on or off Broadway, you still have to pay New York rents, and everything else, and the ability of theaters to pay a living wage is tough. And when you go backstage and see what's involved in some of these shows, there's no loafing time. These guys earn every dime they make. I may be a poor Midwesterner but I think the ticket prices are worth it. Of course, as a father I'm biased.

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Guest zipperzone

>I may be a poor

>Midwesterner but I think the ticket prices are worth it. Of

>course, as a father I'm biased.

 

I don't think there is much argument that the ticket prices are worth it. The problem is that many people don't feel comfortable in spending those prices in uncertain economic times.

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Guest Jocoluver

Based on my enjoyment of Dolly Parton's production of "9 to 5 - The Musical" at Ahmanson in Los Angeles, you will have a new musical hit to enjoy next spring. Well $$$$ produced and a fun show and the music has only a small touch of bluegrass.

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Regarding Broadway prices - always check out http://www.TheaterMania.com

or Playbill.com for discount tickets.

 

Simple registration gives you lots of money saving options.

 

Also, make it a point to see The Seagull before it's run ends.

Peter Sarsgard is a bit of a misfit in this cast but, other than that, it's an amazing production. Kristin Scott Thomas will be remembered

for years.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had picked what turned out to be a very disappointing production of The Seagull over American Buffalo, with John Leguizamo and Haley Joe Osment. Too bad for me. I would have been one of the select few to see American Buffalo, which has posted a "provisional" closing notice in the same week that it opened.

 

My review of the shows I saw last week is in the the TKTS thread because I simply had forgotten about this one. Even though I know that shows close all fo the time, I do wonder where new shows are going to get funding if the credit markets are tight. Empty Broadway theaters are depressing to see.

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Guest zipperzone

>glutes- please leave politics for the appropriate forum.

>Thanks.

 

Why? I didn't think glutes post was political. That's stretching it, even for you :-)

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Guest verymarried

I object to paying $100 plus and being treated like cattle by employees and having to sit in a poorly maintained Broadway theater. They yell all kinds of instructions at you getting you through the doors and once inside you often have to look at peeling or faded paint, torn dirty seats and trashed bathrooms.

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I hate to disagree but the majority of theaters I've been to are very well maintained and most have been renovated to bring them back to their former glory. I will agree with you that many are very uncomfortable and were not designed with larger people in mind! It gets very frustrating during the wionter months when folks show up with their oversized down coats and throw them over the back of the seat. I always politely ask them to remove the coat becuase I have no leg room to begin with. I especially hate City Center. I always try to get an aisle seat.

 

The economic downturn continues to make it's path through current Broadway productions. "13" the teenage musical has announced it will close on January 9. The fate of "American Buffalo" for which I have a ticket in 2 weeks, will be decided tomorrow! My sources say it's closing. "Gypsy" has announced it will close in March.

 

ED

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We are currently seeking funds for the daring new drama "Lunch with Rock Hard." After its success at the local Hooville Community theater, many want to see it transferred to off-Broadway for next fall. So far, some casting has been done, with Lucky playing himself, Rafael Alencar playing the busboy, and Dame Edna doing her hilarious interpretation of Rock Hard.

 

Lucky is seeking B.D. Wong to play his Asian bf, and Rock Hard, upon his imminent release from Rikers Island, will have several choices for his companion at the lunch. Scott Adler has already declined, but Jason Carter is in the running as the warm and funny bf who endures years of Rock Hard's ego only to find out that they are related and can no longer date.

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"Who are your friends?"

 

That is an interesting question, separating acquaintances from friends. I know very few people on the MC now, or for the last few years. The person who impressed me the most, and I hope considers me at least an acquaintance, is Doug69. The one person I would love to have lunch and a few drinks with is Daddy.

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Didn't you say Nathan Lane had expressed interest in the role and was ready to do a read through? Did Cheyenne Jackson ever reply to your email?

 

I ran into Bebe Neuwirth this afternoon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond My Price Range and she, too, has expressed interest in choregraphing the extravaganza. She said she could provide a few moves the guys had never thought of!

 

I'm on hold with Jerry Herman this very minute discussing his thoughts on the score. He's thinking Mame meets Wicked! Sondheim isn't taking my calls these days. Something I said about Road Show...

 

HLOL

 

All in fun!

 

ED

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"Young Frankenstein" joins the list of shows about to close. It has posted it's closing notice for early January. It is said that the $40 million dollar big budget musical, "Spider Man" is eying the theater because it's the only Broadway house large enough to hold it's set. Julie Taymor directs.

 

A decision will be made this morning on the fate of the newly opened "American Buffalo", which received poor reviews, but my sources say the box office advance is dismal and it will close this afternoon...I hope not.

 

And so it continues, there may be a number of empty theaters come spring time.

 

 

ED

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Is "Dividing the Estate" a limited run? It's playing at the Booth where another show has been announced for February.

 

Found "On the Town" at "Encores" touch and go. I've never seen a production of it that lived up to its reputation, however great the music and the dances. I've always suspected the original production, like that of "Follies," was the sum of its cast, its collaborators and its time and therefore never to be quite the same.

 

 

"I'd say that's a bit of an extreme reaction, now wouldn't you?" -- N.F. Bates

 

 

Lankypeters

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