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
produced.

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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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.

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