Shows going stale...

THEATRICAL100
Featured Actor
joined:9/12/10
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/29/12 at 09:55pm
I saw Avenue Q July 2010. It wasn't terrible. But it wasn't...good. It was stale. The show seemed very forced to me, and I didn't feel any passion.
I saw Wicked (2NT) in December...was pretty disappointed. The cast was just not into it. I felt like with all the different productions, the show was not as unique and lacked the special spark. DG was horrible...SHE (anne brummel (sp?) was good (vocally) but you can give the best show ever but have no character in the Act 1 finale and you're toast. She was sweet at the stagedoor though.
Thoughts?
No bashing please.
Marla: I have to go sing about a life I never led.
hushpuppy
Broadway Star
joined:11/13/04
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/29/12 at 11:00pm
I'm 54 and saw my first professional production in 1966. I must be totally clueless because the only time I can ever remember seeing an actor who was obviously not giving his all was Richard Burton in a revival of CAMELOT in the early 80's. (I read later that he was in severe back pain and taking painkillers so it may have been due to that, not due to boredom). Sure, some shows seem more 'by the numbers' than others (NEWSIES comes to mind), but I honestly can't remember another occasion where I noticed the performers phoning it in.
'Our whole family shouts. It comes from us livin' so close to the railroad tracks'
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/29/12 at 11:12pm
How many times have you seen those shows or listened to recordings? Sometimes, we have this "seen it/heard it" subconscious attitude about shows we were crazy about at one point, but maybe not anymore.

I think a lot of it, too, just depends on how long the actor has been doing the show. Wicked, especially, rotates cast members. If the show is fresh to one cast member, they should be very excited and lively. If they have been doing it for a long time, or many times, then it is slightly possible that they'll lose some energy, unless they just really love that role.

Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/29/12 at 11:25pm
Several years ago, Les Miserables fired several cast members and made others re-audition for the roles they were playing because the show had grown stale.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 03:01am
It happens, it's not "right" but it happens. Actors get sick, tired bored, crap happens in their personal lives -- of course none of that SHOULD matter, but it does. The average theater goer will seldom know the difference.

I'm not sure what there is to discuss, to be honest.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 09:10am
In most cases, I just don't think it's a reflection of the show itself. Like dramamama said, it's a personal actor-by-actor issue, of getting sick or having problems or drama they cannot get past for those two hours.

Many shows may seem dated if the humor or events are very time-specific, which may be part of Avenue Q's problem, but there's obviously a difference between dated and stale.

themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 09:20am

The AVENUE Q running at New World Stages feels just that -- stale. It's not the show. It's definitely the cast -- or, at least, it was when I saw it last fall. To be fair, they may not be aware it's a problem. They didn't seem "bored," per se... but the energy coursing through the production is on the relaxed-to-low side, robbing the show of its snap and verve. The actors looked to be enjoying themselves, so I don't think you can say they were phoning it in... but everything came out pretty casually, with a not-overtaxing expenditure of energy, like they knew they didn't have to work too hard to keep that audience's attention.
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Fosse76
Broadway Legend
joined:3/21/05
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 09:55am
"Several years ago, Les Miserables fired several cast members and made others re-audition for the roles they were playing because the show had grown stale."

I bleieve that was mid-to-late nineties (98 maybe?). Anyway, they didn't fire several cast members, they fired MOST of the company, but allowed those they considered keeping re-audition. Then, they shuttered the show, brought in the touring cast while the new company rehearsed, and then re-opened.
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 10:46am
There is also a lack of effervescence that come from seeing a show repeatedly. There is nothing that can replace the effect of seeing a show for the first time.

And I'd single out Lion King as the best preserved production- I've seen it repeatedly over the years- in NYC, on tour- and I've never seen a stale performance. Excellent work all around.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 10:51am
The worst offenders of this I've seen were London productions of Grease and Starlight Express, though I did experience it the last time I saw Rent on Broadway. My father complained about Miss Saigon just before it closed as it was one of his favorite shows and he said the entire cast phoned it in and the production was a mess. Quite often, long-running shows will simply be abandoned by the producers and director with the stage manager simply assigning blocking and dance captains drilling the choreography. With nobody keeping a critical eye on the production, they can just devolve into run-throughs where the cast is there simply to pick up a check. I remember hearing about this being a major problem during the final years of A Chorus Line.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
tmbyru
Stand-by
joined:12/4/11
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:09am
Does anyone believe that Phantom is stale? I saw it again recently (last couple months) and felt very much like I was sitting in the 80's. I am not a HUGE ALW fan, but compared to the revival of JCCS, Phantom seems ancient. Some shows need to close simply so they can be revived with new life.

Another thing that bothers me is that the revival of Chicago is still running. It doesn't feel like a revival anymore. The word revival... doesn't it mean to to bring life back to? And now it's been running so long that the revivals coming out now seem more stellar than Chicago.

The Chicago revival once works as new and exciting with its non existent set and basic costumes and the band on stage, but isn't time to update again?
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:13am
"Another thing that bothers me is that the revival of Chicago is still running. It doesn't feel like a revival anymore. The word revival... doesn't it mean to to bring life back to? And now it's been running so long that the revivals coming out now seem more stellar than Chicago."

Slightly unrelated, but that's what bugs me when musicals put "A New Musical" in its title. Recently, a community theatre in my neck of the woods did "Titanic: A New Musical" fifteen years after it was on Broadway. It makes me want to go up to a fifteen year old and go, "It's Matthew. A new person."
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:24am
I think it's important to differentiate between production and show. The show isn't necessarily stale, but the productions can be.

Phantom and Chicago are perfect examples I think. And stale is the perfect word. When a new production opens, it can make an old show feel fresh. For instance, I saw Phantom and South Pacific the same day. South Pacific is obviously a much older show, but because Phantom was an older production it felt very, very stale and old. Whereas South Pacific felt fresh and new.
Updated On: 4/30/12 at 11:24 AM
tmbyru
Stand-by
joined:12/4/11
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:25am
haha, yeah Titanic is def not a "new" musical anymore. But in that same respect, neither is "Wicked" anymore and it still has "new" in its logo.

So when is "new" no longer appropriate? And when is a "revival" no longer a revival? Is it awarded the title revival forever simply because the original closed? I bet you could ask some people and they wouldn't even know that Chicago is a revival.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:30am
A few years ago, I took a friend to Phantom of the Opera on tour because she has never seen it and rarely gets to the theatre. Having worked with the first two tours, I was expected to be bored by a stale production, but it seemed as fresh as if I were seeing it for the first time in the 80s. I was HUGELY impressed with the care taken on that tour and it reminded me exactly what made the show a sensation in the first place. Still not one of my favorite shows, but I had enormous respect for how effective it could still be when the people involved actually care about the production.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:31am
"you know what I quit this board, you all can go **** yourselves." - thismyshow
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:32am
The official Titanic "logo" reads "Titanic: A New Musical." If you do that show and want to use the provided graphics and posters, that's what you get.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:40am
"The official Titanic "logo" reads "Titanic: A New Musical." If you do that show and want to use the provided graphics and posters, that's what you get."

I'm not faulting the community theater. I'm faulting the creators.
tmbyru
Stand-by
joined:12/4/11
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:40am
well duh Joe, I don't think anyone misunderstood the reason why "new" is still being used when putting on that show.
PattiLover
Stand-by
joined:2/20/04
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:52am
Just saw Phantom in December on B'way - it's in terrific shape.
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 11:55am
I saw it about a month ago (on a Thursday night) and it was definitely staler than it had when I saw it five years ago (on a weekend matinee) -- that performance felt so fresh and energetic. This was fine, but nothing special.

"you know what I quit this board, you all can go **** yourselves." - thismyshow
Updated On: 4/30/12 at 11:55 AM
yankeefan7
Broadway Legend
joined:4/14/12
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 12:01pm
I went to see "The Producers" a 2nd time because a very dear friend of ours in NY wanted to see it. I was very surprised that it was "stale" even with Lane and Broderick (their 2nd time doing the show) who appeared to be going thru the motions to me.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 12:15pm
It's not because "new" is part of the logo...it's because it is OFFICIALLY part of the title. And TMBRYU -- no need to get snippy.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
thespian geek
Broadway Legend
joined:10/1/04
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 12:20pm
On the contrary, I saw Phantom in early January and happened to catch one of Hugh Panaro's understudies and it was one of the worst shows I've ever seen. I was bored, there was almost nothing good happening on that stage when I saw it, except for the Raoul who wasn't even the normal Raoul - he was filling in for a short time.

Which makes me wonder if Phantom is a good, not boring/stale show right now because of Hugh or not. Because it sure wasn't when I went.
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 12:20pm
There is ALWAYS a reason to get snippy. Excuse my beauty, bitches.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
tmbyru
Stand-by
joined:12/4/11
Shows going stale...
Posted: 4/30/12 at 02:25pm
I think the point is that "new" doesn't belong there whether official or in a logo. New is for new shows, and titles should be renamed to take out "new" if it ain't new anymo! You hear me "Wicked" people?

Besides, what's new anyways these days? Everything seems to be recycled from an older idea... Nice Work, Lysistrata, Once, Leap (puke), Ghost, Newsies...

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