Favorite Quotes Volume XVII: The buck stops. Period.

There are a number of great quotes in this Variety article about how Broadway Producers will go about building productions both physically and creatively during the economic mudslide we’re in, but my favorite is from Legally Blonde and Catch Me If You Can Producer Hal Luftig.

Hal also produced Thoroughly Modern Millie (which I company managed), and with his partners, staged one heck of a comeback to win the Tony Award for Best Musical, despite a poor NY Times review that had us all worried that the toe-tapper wouldn’t last the summer.
When discussing how he was keeping a tighter rein on the economics from day one, Hal had this to say to possible critics of his current policies:

“Inexpensive doesn’t mean cheap.”

Hal is right.

It’s easy to be cheap.  And it’s lazy to be lavish.
But finding a way of doing something of the same value for a lesser price is an art.  And in this climate, it’s a necessity.
  • Richard says:

    Hal is an affable and smart guy. Being liked in this business doesn’t hurt at all since it’s a business where collaboration is a necessity.
    And, of course there’s nothing wrong with managing a dollar carefully. As a producer, you know that you have to manage the artistic needs with the budget’s needs. No one can predict a hit, so you have to manage the budget.But tell me: do you believe that the dollar was carefully managed on “Legally Blonde?”
    And–back to Millie–Millie had bigger problems than any rumors about how money was managed. It tried to do too much and ended up in no genre at all. It was so close, which was what made it so painful. I was acutely aware of experiencing cognitive dissonance for weeks after having seen it. (And without Harriet Harris, it might not have been fun at all.) The whole purple Arrow shirt/gay thing just didn’t work, did it? It ruined the conceit of the comfort that a show like that’s supposed to provide. Pieces like the Nuttycracker Suite were just pointless versus the Tapioca in the movie, which was just delightful. Sutton Foster…oy…she pulled it out, but just barely. She sang with the style of a belter but without the voice. It felt soooo pushed. She delivered two or three numbers well, but that was about it. And the other female lead…I don’t know if it was the actress or the way she was told to play it, but her daintiness came off as completely fey. I expected her to be discovered being the lead employee in a brothel led by herself. “Thoroughly Modern Millie” was positioned, from the advertising, to be a visit to the past–very comfortable. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. It didn’t quite come off as that. A more successful production would have been off-broadway and skewed the conceit much more. That could have been a hoot. “Thoroughly Modern Millie” meets “Thoroughly Twisted Millie” or something like that. Doing a sendup of it? Yes. What emerged at the Marquis was a partial laugh AT the conceit, and that wasn’t fun at all–it was jolting.

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