A test case for a “troubled” (?) musical.

– Disappointing out-of-town reviews.  Check.

– Disappointing message board buzz from early out-of-town previews.  Check.

– Director replaced.  Check.

– Michael Riedel taking swings at the show on an almost weekly basis.  Check.

The Addams Family had all four of these unfortunate items marked off the “troubled musical” checklist well before “it” came into town.

Now that TAF has been in performances for a few weeks, let’s look at some more of what The Addams Family has to buzz about.
– w/e 4/18/10    $1,261,490

– w/e 4/11/10    $1,240,377

– w/e 4/4/10      $1,391,177

– w/e 3/28/10    $1,302,707

– w/e 3/21/10    $1,328,460

– w/e 3/14/10    $1,192,213

Now, all of a sudden, some people talking smack on a message board back in October, about performances in Chicago, doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

Producers, actors, authors, etc. are constantly worried about bad industry buzz and how it will affect a show. No one wants the label of a “troubled” show.  Well, if ever there was a test case that proved that there is a giant chasm between what our industry hears about the development of a show, and what our audience hears about the development of a show, The Addams Family is it.

TAF feels like a big Broadway musical.  It has stars.  It has a powerful brand.  It has a powerful brand that’s funny.  It already feels musical because of its popular theme song.  It is about a world that provides for spectacle.  Etc.  Etc.

And all of those elements are what a huge majority of the Broadway audience wants to see, no matter who is replaced or who is writing what.

Don’t worry about what insiders may say.  Worry about what your audience will say.  They are the ones who actually pay for their tickets.

And when they really want to see a show, they’ll have no “trouble” paying premium prices.

  • Aurora says:

    Loved this blog entry, Ken!

  • Dan Mason says:

    Agreed- I just wrote about this on my blog last week. I attended the final preview performance two weeks ago with friends and we enjoyed the show. That isn’t to say that there weren’t a lot of obvious structural problems with the script. The second act felt like an episode of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” (YOU get a song…and YOU get a song…and YOU get a song). However, there are also many laugh out loud moments throughout the evening. Everyone around me enjoyed themselves and the audience gave a standing ovation at curtain call. The bottom line is that “Addams Family” is not a show designed to please critics. It’s made for families and tourists. Although the reviews were nowhere near as scathing, Wicked opened to lukewarm critical response and look how that has done. If Addmas goes on to enjoy a healthy run, it further proves the theory that critics mean nothing to the average Broadway ticket buyer

  • DHicton says:

    Oh, what does Michael Riedel know, anyway? I saw The Addams Family on New Year’s Eve and had a great time, and ultimately, that’s what musical comedy audiences deserve. Granted, maybe I liked it partly because I grew up watching the TV series — never underestimate the power of nostalgia — but I also found the material strong. As I posted before, I think it will win the Tony this year.

  • Matt says:

    I wonder how much of the grosses are advance ticket sales, bought months before based on just the show brand and the names of the cast members. Other shows… Tarzan, The Little Mermaid have opened to stellar box office, only to see grosses dwindle quickly after the advance runs out and then close when they can no longer sustain themselves.
    Not to say this is the case with Addams Family, nor do I want it to be the case. The more successes, the better; however, wouldn’t the advance sales coming in now (after opening) be a better indicator of how the show will run? I would be hesitant to label Addams Family a hit yet.
    Would love any thoughts or responses.

  • Bill says:

    —Terrible New York reviews. Check.
    —Tepid audience response. Check.
    —Lousy word of mouth. Check.
    —Embarrassed cast. Check.
    This show is not “troubled.” It is troubled. It is this year’s Young Frankie.

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