The 2 shows I would have liked to produce this season

I have Producer envy.

Come on, you do, too.  We all do.

We’ve all seen shows and thought, “Oh man, would I like my name above the title
of that one!”  Maybe we’re jealous of the profits pouring out of the
production. Or maybe we’re jealous of the art that was created.

Or maybe, when the stars align, it’s a little of both.

All of this is why I’m going to start wrapping up each Broadway season with a
post like this one, telling you the Broadway Play and Broadway Musical I wish I would have

Here goes.

1.  La Cage aux Folles

Admit it.  When this import of La Cage was announced, I was not the only one
that thought, “Ummm, we just saw this sucker.  Do we really need to see it
again?”  Well, ironically, I believe this production benefited from having
been revived only 5-and-a-half years ago, if only to show the contrast between the two
productions.  I enjoyed the previous revival, but I didn’t need to see
another production like that.  But this?  This I’d see again.

This production succeeded at satisfying all of my requirements for a revival,
with the added bonus of the current gay marriage debate in the cultural background. When I saw the audience, the standing ovation seemed to be as much for
the show as it was for the concept that this Family with a capital F was the
kind that we would all be lucky to have.

2.  Fences

At intermission of Fences (which was the first time I took a breath in the
previous hour-and-20-minutes), I tweeted that Denzel received the largest
entrance applause I had ever heard.  It felt like I was at a Bon Jovi
concert . . . And Elvis had just made a surprise appearance.

On top of the excitement and the event-type atmosphere of the production,
Denzel, Viola and the terrific ensemble, led by the Wilson guru, Kenny Leon,
hit a homer that Troy Maxson would have been proud of.

But take away Denzel’s constellation-like status, and this show would still be one of my top two shows of the season.  As the
head of the drama department said when I was at NYU, “When you work in the
theater, it’s hard to enjoy shows, because you’re always dissecting every
element: the acting, the set, the direction.  How I know I love a show is
when I don’t analyze anything.”

At the end of Fences, I just smiled, like I had just eaten a great big juicy
steak . . . with Elvis.

What are the two shows you wish you’d produced this year?


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  • Malini says:

    Ken, you made be do the grrr, gah sound! 😉
    We talked and quoted A Few Good Men all day at my law office. And then I was ordered to direct it. And I said yes. I’m done talking about it, Black Henna will rock it. Then you posted your blog.
    Dated January 27, 2010 –
    Musical: I would say that Little Shop played in the back of my head though I didn’t mention it to anyone.

  • NineDaves says:

    i thought you were kidding when you talked about the entrance applause at fences. but damn! i’ve never heard that type of cheer, even with hugh and daniel. i’m not even a producer and i would have scraped gum from under the seat just to hear that applause night after night.

  • Bert says:

    >>What are the two shows you wish you’d produced this year?<< Just quickly off the top of my head, and, as an out-of-towner, not having come close to seeing everything: "Ragtime": Even though the critics once again damned this wonderful show with faint praise, I loved the revival, just as I had the original production. Will this work ever get its due, while junk continues to play endlessly all around it? "Circle Mirror Transformation" or "Clybourne Park": Loved them both -- wonderful plays, exquisite direction and performances.

  • Solange says:

    In addition to “La Cage” and “Fences”:
    “Venus in Fur” – please let this one come to Broadway. David Ives’ wit, Nina Arianda’s incandescent performance.
    “Next Fall” – not a great play, but an author and director treated people of faith – and gay people – with great subtlety.

  • Thom says:

    Well, the show I wish I produced for the last 7 years is WICKED. 100% capacity after 7 years, 1.6 mil last week, and those little girls, willing to come back and see it again and again. Oh my…

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