Theater things that don’t make sense: Vol. 7. Is Birdie A “Classic”?
Next season, Broadway will see the very first revival of the hip swiveling hit, Bye, Bye, Birdie (or Grease-lite, as I like to call it).
Who’s the Producer, you ask?
Jeffrey Richards? Jeffrey Seller? Jeffrey Finn? (What is with all these Jeffreys anyway? Malcolm Gladwell needs to study this like he did hockey players.)
Nope. The first ever Broadway revival of this commercial success is going to be produced by The Roundabout.
Did anyone else start singing the Cookie Monster song below when they heard this news?
As much as I am a fan of the Roundabout’s work (without them – not one of the courageous Sondheim revivals they’ve done over the past 8 years would have had a shot at a production), Birdie just doesn’t seem to sit on the same shelf as their other shows. Look at some of the choices of the past year: A Man For All Seasons, Godot, Philanthropist, even Pal Joey seems to make more sense than BBB, doesn’t it?
Sure, they’ve done musical comedies before, like The Boys From Syracuse, but even that seems to fit, since the odds of a commercial production of that show are as good as the odds are on Piven being nominated for a Tony.
I was a bit confused with the choice, so I took a ride on the internet superhighway to charitynavigator.org to take a look at the Roundabout’s mission statement.
Ok, so I guess it fits. Sort of? But this is a the sort of traditional-audience pleasing show that many commercial producers (including myself) would have loved to get their hands on. Instead, it’ll get the warm protective embrace of a non-profit.
It’s this sort of choice that furthers the ongoing debate of “there’s no profit, like not for profit”.
Non-profits have been snatching up theaters left and right, and now
they’re grabbing the rights to extremely commercial properties?
Could a Roundabout revival of Grease be in the cards?
Maybe I’m just jealous because I didn’t get my hands on the rights to Birdie first.
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