Theater things that don’t make sense: Vol. 8

I was recently at a big ol’ touring house outside of NYC.  You know, one of those theaters in major metro areas all over the country that presents big national tours like Billy Elliot and Mary Poppins as well as concerts, lectures, local dance recitals and more.

I was talking to the TD of this theater, and he was telling me about his house plot.  You know, the bank of lighting instruments owned by the theater that can be used for small shows, or used to augment big shows, etc. (which allows touring shows to travel with less, saving them money in rentals and trucking and load-in time).  A house plot is one of the reasons that Altar Boyz was able to tour all over the country.

So I started thinking . . .

Why don’t Broadway houses have house plots?

If there were a string of basic instruments in each house, we could save time, money, and I’d bet a lot of those dark weeks that some theaters face could be filled by smaller shows or special events that wouldn’t normally be able to get their shows up without this savings . . . which would provide more jobs for everyone.  (The owners of New World Stages recently added a house plot to one of their small theaters, and it’s been booked more often because of it).

The theater owners could even charge a few more bucks for use of the package, paying for (and profiting from) their initial purchase of the equipment.

It’s my understanding that the current stagehand contract prevents leaving elements from one show to be used for another show without payment (since the guys are losing hours of work). While that argument seems to be another ‘theater thing that doesn’t make sense,’ I would think that a compromise could be had, since this “house plot” idea is in use all over the country, and since the existence of the plot could generate more gigs for the stagehands in the future.

With our costs escalating just about everywhere, we’ve got to look at ways to become more efficient . . . which means looking at things in ways we’ve never looked at them before.

All GREAT must things must come to an end. Altar Boyz will close Jan. 10th.

It is with great sadness that my partner, Robyn Goodman, and I officially announce that Altar Boyz, the longest running Off-Broadway musical to open in more than a decade, will play its final performance at New World Stages on Sunday, January 10th at 7:30 PM.

While this is a difficult day for everyone involved in the show, we couldn’t be more proud of what our Boyz have accomplished.

For the past several years, people have been ringing the death knell for commercial Off-Broadway theater.  Altar Boyz has proven that a fantastic show and a passionate group of people behind it can overcome any odds.

Robyn and I owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the throngs of passionate people behind Altar Boyz, including our Co-Producers, Ruth Hendel, Walt Grossman, Sharon Karmazin, Matt Murphy, Mark Shacket, and Stephen Kocis, our Press Agent, David Gersten, and our Associate General Manager, Ryan Lympus.

A special ABz shout-out to our incredible partner and honorary 6th member of the Boyz (even though she’s a girl), Beverley D. MacKeen at New World Stages, whose belief in Altar Boyz and Off-Broadway is one of the reasons that I didn’t have to write this notice years ago.

We must also thank our incredibly talented and committed creative team, led by our director Stafford Arima, who helped shape our show from the very beginning into what is is today, and Chris Gatelli, our divine choreographer.

To our wildly talented authors . . . Producing is so much easier when you have a great show to work with.  Thank you Gary Adler, Kevin Del Aguila and Michael Patrick Walker.  Whatta ya say . . . Altar Boyz II The Resurrection?

To my co-conceiver and friend Marc Kessler, who first uttered the words “Catholic Boy Band,” thank you for sharing your inspiration.

In addition to all of these individuals, I must also profess my incredible gratitude to those vendors and various other partners on the show who throughout the past 5 years recognized that Off-Broadway shows like Altar Boyz need experimental treatments in order to survive.  Thank you for listening, and for adaptating with us to the ever-changing landscape.  Those of you who helped are the reason that commercial Off-Broadway can and will have a future.

To the many Boyz that “crossed” our stage, from our originals, Scott Porter, Tyler Maynard, Andy Karl, Ryan Duncan and David Josefsberg, and swings Kevin Kern and Daniel Torres (and let’s not forget our NYMF Matthew, Cheyenne Jackson), to what will be our closing company, Michael Kadin Craig, Travis Nesbitt, Lee Markham, Mauricio Perez and Ravi Roth, and swings Mitch Dean, Joey Khoury and Tommaso Antico, and all the Boyz in between, we thank you.  Your boundless energy put so many smiles on so many faces.  You truly have been the most talented boy band on the planet.  I’d like to see ‘N Sync do Altar Boyz 8 times a week!

Lastly, a huge thank you to the Altarholics, the fans who helped spread the “word” so much louder than we ever could have on our own.

We are so thrilled to have made it this far.  Our final show on January 10th is gonna be one “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks” of a celebration.

And now, we challenge all you other Off-Broadway shows coming down the pike to beat us.  Come on, you can do it.  We’re counting on you.

There are only 5 weeks and 3 days left to see Altar Boyz.  If you haven’t seen it, go.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.  Get your tickets here today.

An official press release is below.

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ALTAR BOYZ to Close January 10th After 2032 Performances 

ALTAR BOYZ announced today that it would be closing Sunday January 10th after playing 2032 performances, making it the 9th longest running Off-Broadway musical ever!

Altar Boyz is also the longest running musical comedy to open in New York in years! Full of sharp parody, sinfully spectacular dancing, and irreverent humor, this spoof about a heavenly guy-group is adored by audiences and critics alike. With an extraordinary mix of side-splitting songs “convincing enough to be played on MTV,” uncontrollable laughs and lighthearted fun, this award-winning and totally original new musical is “90 minutes of pure delight” that’s suitable for all ages and will have “the whole family laughing and singing along.”

Critics are spreading the word coast-to-coast:

“Finally, an Off-Broadway musical that actually works!” (Zinoman, The New York Times);

“Sly and funny subversion, terrific voices, soothing harmonies, and deliciously funny numbers. It sends you home with a smile! Made up of five potential Teen People cover boys.” (Isherwood, The New York Times);

“Thank Heaven for Altar Boyz! It keeps you laughing all evening long. If laughter is a form of salvation, my soul is clean!” (Daily News);

“Hilarious! This sweet and sassy, witty and completely unpretentious show sends everybody out on a cloud of mirth – and we mean everybody!” (Journal News);

“Ninety minutes of heavenly hilarity!” (The Boston Globe);

“You’ll laugh your socks off!” (Chicago Tribune);

“Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Altar Boyz is in town. Funny song-and-dance numbers that never stop and a talented cast of five handsome men. It’s top-notch musical theater!” (Miami Herald).

Altar Boyz features Michael Kadin Craig, Lee Markham, Travis Nesbitt, Mauricio Perez, and Ravi Roth, and is directed by Stafford Arima and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Altar Boyz has music & lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker with book by Kevin Del Aguila, based on a concept by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport.

Remaining performances are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm & 7:30pm.  New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street, just west of Eighth Avenue. For more information, please visit or call 1 -877-ABOYZ-411.  For all the gossip, visit

The 2nd Annual Producer’s Perspective Social!

Last year, I invited all of my readers to mingle offline at our first PP social, and we had a blast.  So, we’re doing it again!

On Thursday, December 10th, I’m inviting all of you to come join me in celebrating the holidays, and the theater in general, at The 2nd Annual Producer’s Perspective Social.

Just like last year, I’m buying the first round for each of you.  And we’ll have door prizes, including free tickets to Broadway shows like Mamma Mia, Memphis, Finian’s Rainbow as well as Broadway merch from my friends at The Broadway Store andSh-K Boom/Ghostlight Records.

And for the grand prize, I’m giving away my newest favorite toy . . . The Kindle!

So come on down to Hurley’s Saloon the Time Out Lounge at New World Stages on Thursday, December 10th at 6:30.  Say hello to me and to your fellow readers, who include Producers, Writers, Designers, Actors, Union reps and more.  We’ll talk shop and network and share stories from the past year and talk about the exciting stuff that is in store for all of us in 2010.

Here are the deets:

Thursday, December 10th.
6:30 – 8:00 PM

UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming response, we’ve moved the event to a larger venue!  

Hurley’s Saloon-2nd floor

232 West 48th Street (betw. Broadway and 8th)
Time Out Lounge at New World Stages
340 West 50th St. (betw. 8th and 9th aves)

To RSVP, email my assistant Melissa at  She’ll need your full name.

Feel free to spread the word to your friends but they will have to RSVP on their own.  No plus ones.

FYI, space is limited so RSVPs are essential.  We had a terrific response last year and we did have to stop taking RSVPs so if you’re coming, RSVP today.

See you there!

Time Out becomes a tabloid.

In his Time Out New York theater blog, Editor and Reviewer David Cote wrote the following in an article about New World Stages:

Something strange is happening at New World Stages, the five-year-old theater complex on West 50th Street:  you can actually see worthwhile shows there.  Not so long ago, we’d associate the former Hell’s Kitchen cineplex with gimmicky tourist trash (Naked Boys Singing, My First Time, etc.).

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking I’m ticked off that Cote called my show “trash.”

Well, I’m not angry.  I’m confused.

I’m confused, because I don’t understand how an editor of a prominent publication can make a derogatory statement about a show that he has never seen.

That’s right, my readers, David Cote has never seen My First Time (or Naked Boys Singing for that matter), yet he feels it’s appropriate to comment on the quality of the work.

I’m sure you can understand my confusion.

Making insulting and demeaning comments about a show that you have never seen is simply irresponsible journalism.

Now, Adam Feldman, Time Out’s other main theatre writer, well, he can call the show anything he wants, and he has!  See, Adam actually saw My First Time.  He didn’t like it, and you’ve never heard me make a peep.  Why?  Because not liking My First Time is his right, and it’s his responsibility as a theatrical reviewer to let people know what he thinks.

But how the editor of the theater section can make snarky comments with no firsthand knowledge of the product is shocking to me.  It’s not journalism. It’s tabloidism:  making bold and exaggerated statements to give your rag personality (and I can call it a rag, because I was a subscriber and an advertiser).

And we wonder why people aren’t listening to reviewers anymore.

Oh, and for the record, when I read David’s blog, I had my press agent reach out to David and invite him to see the show.  Perhaps once he got in to see it, he’d like it?  Or perhaps he wouldn’t, and he’d cut it up even more (which would then be his right, and the risk that I’d be taking).

He said he was too busy.

Avenue Q makes a move . . . into the history books. It happened.  Finally.

The idea of a Broadway show transferring to Off-Broadway has been blogged about, been message boarded about, and now is finally going to happen.

Kevin McCollum announced from the stage at the closing performance of the Broadway production of Avenue Q last night that the show would reopen at New World Stages on October 9th.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

It’s unprecedented moves like this
that stretch our industry out of its rigid comfort zone, and open up
a ton of opportunities for a lot of people.

50 jobs were just created.  A theater was filled.  And a lot more audience members are going to laugh . . . a lot.

You can read more about it here.

And since I’ll be General Managing it, you may also be able to read more about it . . . here!