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Saturday Night Fervor

After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 07:35am
Once upon a time, we had cult shows like Candide and The Golden Apple, shows that failed to win widespread appeal, but which met with favor among a small group of ardent admirers.

In recent decades this has morphed into a sort of cultism in which adulation and veneration-- for both hits and flops -- manifest themselves in the most overwrought and over-the-top fashion: crying, cheering, becoming emotionally distraught en masse, even for ordinary, second rate, and awful shows. It's like going bonkers over a dishrag and calling it a Balenciaga.

As for such notions as perspective, restraint, decorum...: well, these have seemingly been jettisoned for good. Not with the program, I guess. Perhaps making oneself the spectacle is the whole point, in the end. Or maybe it's a form of group bonding. Who knows? Maybe a sociologist could explain it all to us.


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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 09:32am
"even for ordinary, second rate, and awful shows"

Therein lies the flaw with everything you say: to those showing their affection for a show, it is exceptional, first rate and wonderful. You can't apply rules based on your personal tastes (even abstractly and generically applied). I think one can criticize the disconnect between a tepidly viewed show followed by an exuberant standing ovation, but that is not what your comment seems addressed to. Discouraging enthusiasm, which seems to be the thrust of your post, is foolish.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 09:43am
^

The thrust of my post is proportionality, propriety, perhaps even humility.

One can show one's enjoyment and enthusiasm for a show without blaring it from the rooftops or crying a river. It used to be done all the time.
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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:04am
First, I think your recollection or awareness of "what used to be done all the time" is imperfect. Second, your comment seems to assume that human expression is a static and not a dynamic force. Moreover, it is not universal as to time, place or any other variable. In different cultures, people express themselves (including in tribute) differently, but I think the bottom line is that it seems wrong-headed to criticize tributes unless they feel illegitimate.
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:11am
I am forever amazed at the level of passion and personal investment some people pour into these productions. Shows open and close, this is the business of Broadway and theatre in general. When shows that have been hits close it is never a sad day because they made their money back and had a successful run but nothing runs forever (and, as the case that many of the longest-running shows are arguably making, nothing should.) When shows that were flops close it is never a surprise (they weren't making enough money, duh) and I am always amazed at the anger or regret sent out at the world at large for not providing the audience required to keep the show running. The show didn't attract an audience, but it attracted you, and that's neither your fault, the show's, nor the world at large's. Don't begrudge others for not sharing your wonderful experience, that's rather selfish and assuming. Enjoy that you had an experience few others shared; that's more valuable anyway. Treasure it, don't scorn the rest of the world for your perceived loss when in fact you gained an experience that few others had.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:19am
jnb-that seems like a non-sequitur to the comments in this thread. Am I missing something?
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:35am
I was agreeing in a sense with After Eight and putting my own spin on the wonderment he expressed.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:37am
I'm guessing your attempt to pathologize joy was prompted by the reaction to the closing of Bridges yesterday and fans of the show going to cheer and celebrate the final performance?

I don't really make it a habit to go to closing performances as a rule, so I don't have the perspective to know whether every show becomes a multiple standing ovation, crazy lovefest. I don't think it is the rule. I've certainly been to final shows where the performance happened, the audience was enthusiastic, but only the curtain call became a quick standing ovation and celebration, etc.

As for Bridges, I just really got swept up and related to the show and found a deep connection to both the material and, specifically, the songs. It is the only show this season where that happened on such an emotional level. I was standoffish about the show beforehand, dismissive of the material, and saw almost every new show on Broadway first. But once I was there, it just really lodged deep inside of me.

So, I did specifically attend the final performance expecting to celebrate the art that was created, the connection some people found with the show, and the beautiful music and performances onstage. But when we did clap, and did stand, and all of that, it was about giving back to the cast and creative team a show of support for creating something beautiful, passionate, and inspirational. I don't see it as a narcissistic gesture about the audience trying to become the spectacle.

We were all focusing the love away from ourselves and toward the stage, which seems the opposite of narcissism. Now, sure, if you picture yourself in a crowd like this, at a show you disliked, and feeling surrounded by people who are experiencing joy and passion where you find none, there is a disconnect there. But it seems arrogant to assume (as you always do) that your opinion is the only one that is valid and accurate. When I stood, it had no impact on anyone around me, since we all stood, all cheered, and were all there because of the same reasons. I talked to enough people before the show and during intermission to see this show deeply affected some people.

During intermission, I was talking to an usher who said she was going to have to time her break during act two to when she was going to break down hearing "One Second and a Million Miles," knowing she wouldn't be seeing it again after that. We started talking about the movie of Bridges, and the different narrative structure, and when I mentioned one part that was in the movie but not the show, and we both knew we had to change the subject immediately or we were both going to start losing it right then and there.

I had no plan to adore Bridges. I avoided seeing Bridges much later into the season than others show. But for whatever reason, I ended both times I saw the show completely swept up with tears streaming down my cheeks and completely pulled into that world, as well as finding experiences in my life that speak to those same elements in the show.

I can't say why that was my reaction to this show, and yours was different. I wish everyone had the reaction I did, and I wish I had it more often than I do at more shows, as well.

But I will not be trying to recreate the same experience at other closings of shows from this season. It was a singular thing.

I would still prefer adulation and veneration to snarky denegration, but whatever works for you.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:54am
"One can show one's enjoyment and enthusiasm for a show without blaring it from the rooftops or crying a river. It used to be done all the time."

You mean like posting about it in a thread for that specific show? How is that blaring it from the rooftops?

Your problem is you keep entering threads for shows you hate to continually express your negative thoughts about it.

So, you keep putting yourself in situations where you are surrounded with people of the opposite view, every time you enter a Bridges, Fun Home, etc., etc., thread. Yet you seem confounded to be in the minority each time.

There are shows I don't like, but I have no idea what is being discussed in threads for those shows. Because I don't go in them.
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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:08am
jnb-at what closing performance have you seen scorn? and how was it expressed. this just makes no sense to me.

hate-I was not a fan of the show, but I also don't understand why anyone would begrudge fans their legitimate outpouring of appreciation at a final performance especially. By the same token, I would try to avoid going to a final performance (or opening night) of a show I didn't like. It is true that it is always awkward to be a fish out of water in those situations, but what seems like narcissism to me is to expect others to align their reactions to yours. And as I said before, exuberance is a good thing in this world, so long as it is not faked. And it seems pretty clear your exuberance toward this particular show was certainly real.
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:12am
Hogans - that would indeed make no sense to you because I never suggested that scorn was directed at any individual performance. What you wrote makes no sense to me, either. That would be foolish. I don't know why you would think I am writing about individuals directing scorn at other individuals at an individual performance, especially considering that self-selected audience of people buying tickets to the show in question would not be the people scorn would be directed to...

I'm talking about the communal sense that some on the boards seem to take shows' closing personally as emotional experiences and personal grievances. This also, to me, is what After Eight was suggesting in his original post.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:19am
"I'm talking about the communal sense that some on the boards seem to take shows' closing personally as emotional experiences and personal grievances. This also, to me, is what After Eight was suggesting in his original post."

No one who tracks the box office of shows should be surprised by such things. I was actually going out of my way after the Tony nominations to check online more so I would have a good seat for the final show of Bridges, knowing it was going to happen soon. As it turns out, they posted it in the evening, so I was offline for a few hours anyway before I was able to grab a ticket, oh well, heh... at least I got in before they removed the discount code.
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inception
Stand-by
joined:11/2/13
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:20am
The people who insist upon trolling every sensible post made on this forum, like this haterobics individual has done by trying to make this thread about the show they enjoyed, is what I find most irritating.
One of my father's favourite topics to pontificate upon is the 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. The public reactions that After Eight brings up, do seem like a sort of hysteric mental disorder fed by being in a crowd of similarly disturbed individuals.
Since haterobics wants to make the thread about Bridges of Madison County: here we have a show that is by all reasonable and reliable accounts (I mean the legitimate reviews) is just the most dreadful thing to be staged in a good long while. This may be the very reason why a thousand or so folks grasped onto it so fervently. A lot of people are moved by tasteless or "bad" art that more stable minds can't see the value of. That these sorts of mental defectives would then have fits over said works is hardly surprising.
...
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:25am
Inception's right about the need for eugenics.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:28am
Oh joy, we have a Lil AfterHate here by the name of inception.

I'm sure we can all agree that AfterHate was referring to BRIDGES because he loves to attach himself like a parasite to one show that is generally well-liked on the boards and berate everyone for liking said show.

I'd love for you to provide examples of ALL legitimate reviews that claimed this show to be "just the most dreadful thing to be staged in a good long while."
"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:30am
"The people who insist upon trolling every sensible post made on this forum, like this haterobics individual has done by trying to make this thread about the show they enjoyed, is what I find most irritating."

I believe it was what prompted the thread, since I know after eight does detest the show. if not, it is the most recent example of what after eight is describing, so... it's hardly off-topic. How long can we talk about generalities without specific examples?

"Here we have a show that is by all reasonable and reliable accounts (I mean the legitimate reviews) is just the most dreadful thing to be staged in a good long while."

It got mixed reviews, typically praising the leads and songs, but questioning the book and direction, which is pretty accurate.
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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:33am
jnb-you said "Treasure it, don't scorn the rest of the world for your perceived loss" so I guess the confusion is you very much seem to be referring to scorn expressed by a show's fans towards "the rest of the world," not the performance. So again I ask, where and how have you ever seen such?
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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:39am
Note to inception: our affections are not contagious. Different people can like and dislike the same thing without it being a sign of mental illness. It's what being a human is about. I don't know the book, but if it supports a notion anywhere close to what you are using it for, then I have no respect for it or for your father.
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tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:49am
here we have a show that is by all reasonable and reliable accounts (I mean the legitimate reviews) is just the most dreadful thing to be staged in a good long while.

Not true


This may be the very reason why a thousand or so folks grasped onto it so fervently.

Why is so incomprehensible to some people that others find beauty and emotional connection in different things?


A lot of people are moved by tasteless or "bad" art that more stable minds can't see the value of.

Define more stable minds. Are you suggesting that someone who loved Bridges has an unstable mind?


That these sorts of mental defectives would then have fits over said works is hardly surprising.

I mean....I just can't even waste my time commenting further on this unbelievably offensive and idiotic statement.

....but the world goes 'round
Updated On: 5/19/14 at 11:49 AM
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 11:54am
If you want to read a few sentences up, I say "I am always amazed at the anger or regret sent out at the world at large for not providing the audience required to keep the show running..." which clearly establishes my use of "the world" in the sentence you quote as referring to "the world at large" in greater context. And at no point does "the world" seem to be in opposition to "the performance," which is a comparison you have divined out of thin air.

I am speaking of those who bemoan with great passion shows they love closing early, be it BRIDGES (a show I liked more than not but have no great passion for) or BIG FISH (a show I thought was a distant shadow of the potential it could have been) or HANDS ON A HARDBODY (a show I thought was flawed but wonderfully unique)... name a show that closed early and there's likely someone blaming others for not feeling the way they felt and feeling great personal disappointment and tragedy in a show's closing. My argument is they should feel the opposite: I saw THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS the last week it played Broadway and felt honored to have seen such a performance. I also was at the closing performance of PROMISES, PROMISES and was kind of baffled at the enthusiastic cheering for nearly every joke and song but that's cool, I thought that production was pretty good. That emotions get heightened (in this respect, positively and negatively) at the end of a show's run is natural, it's how that manifests lately that I find curious.

What After Eight seems to be saying, and what I agree with, is that there is such fervor worked up over nearly every show nowadays that it can seem like a case of crying wolf. BRIDGES today, BIG FISH yesterday, HANDS ON A HARDBODY before that and SCANDALOUS (apparently, I can't believe there were people who bemoaned that closing but there were if I recall) and so on and so on. But to paraphrase from MATILDA, if every one of these productions was a miracle then doesn't it render them all unmiraculous?

Admittedly, the threads are a self-selected group of enthusiasts. This is where I'll agree with Jeff that it's of questionable taste to wander into a thread celebrating one show's demise to a group of members who were bemoaning it collectively. But that, honestly, is not what this thread seemed to be when A8 began it. His question was of moderation: why is it that every show seems to have a greater outpouring of ardent support than the average show seemed to years ago? I would at this point argue that the answer to that is probably boards like these, where those passionate fans convene in ways they likely didn't years ago, but also a greater sense of hyperbole that is absolutely confounding to me. The collective voice of some of these ardent supporters sounds like eager teenagers proclaiming a new "Greatest Musical Ever Written" every six months. That's what A8 seemed to be addressing and that's what I was agreeing with, taking it to my own pet peeve of finding that some of the voices in a show's choir seem to be even more outwardly aggressive, blaming others who disagree with their perspective for the failure of their beloved. That, to me, is problematic. That was what I addressed.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 12:00pm
"I'll agree with Jeff that it's of questionable taste to wander into a thread celebrating one show's demise to a group of members who were bemoaning it collectively. But that, honestly, is not what this thread seemed to be when A8 began it."

I was referring to A8 continually appearing in other threads for shows like Bridges and Fun Home, specifically to restate his dislike for the material. I didn't mean this thread.

And I've always found Bridges to be flawed, but the core of it (Steven, Kelli, songs, themes) was strong enough to get me past the other bits that didn't land as well.
Updated On: 5/19/14 at 12:00 PM
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mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 12:01pm
After Eight, I agree with you, though I find your post (and everybody else's posts on this thread) kind of confusing. I am not sure if this has to do with the times, the shows, or the people watching these shows, though I would heavily place it towards the last of these. However, unlike A8, I am not convinced that this is necessarily a bad thing. I for one, am happy that everybody can find a show to get excited about (God knows there aren't a lot of them out there for me) and that there are still people getting excited about Broadway, but if the average quality of the shows running in New York increased, people would only get more excited about these shows. At least there are still some shows every year that are good.
Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 12:06pm
Yeah, I know you didn't mean this thread Jeff. Don't worry.

And, personally, I am always curious to wander into the threads of shows I disliked just because I like trying to see what others may see in it. I usually don't write in them, unless specifically inspired for some odd reason, but I do at least like reading. I think you'd written wonderment at why someone would even open a thread of a show they didn't care for, so there's my two cents there.
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 12:12pm
"I am always curious to wander into the threads of shows I disliked just because I like trying to see what others may see in it. I usually don't write in them, unless specifically inspired for some odd reason, but I do at least like reading. I think you'd written wonderment at why someone would even open a thread of a show they didn't care for, so there's my two cents there."

Well, I usually try and see a show late in previews, if not the final preview (The only exception being if I'm really unclear what a show is or if I have a desire to see it, where I will read some preview comments to try and decide whether to get a ticket). After I see the show, I then read the entire previews thread, which can be several pages long, and then the following day or so, I will read the reviews as they come in, and those comments. At that point, I feel I kind of have all sides of the equation. Beyond that, it is often just people echoing the same sentiments based on them just having attended the show for the first time, etc.

So, I guess to clarify I wouldn't continue to revisit the threads of shows I dislike.
Updated On: 5/19/14 at 12:12 PM
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HogansHero
Leading Actor
joined:2/26/12
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 12:30pm
jnb-
1. I never said anything about scorn vis a vis a performance. Not sure where you got that but I think the divining is all yours.

2. People fall in love with different things. And the react differently to their "death." These are not things we can (or should) control in others. We see people crying hysterically over their dogs being run over by cars. When it is not ours, or one we know, we may say so what, or we may be non-plussed, or we may feel sorry for the person or the pet. Why would you want to micromanage what resonates for someone else?

3. It is obnoxious to suggest that people who like shows are crying wolf. Just disgusting. Do you want people to second guess your emotions?
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
Saturday Night Fervor
Posted: 5/19/14 at 12:44pm
In terms of fans’ “anger at the world” for not providing more of an audience for the show they love, I think it’s more a manifestation of sadness that more people don’t get the chance to experience what that person experienced in the theatre. When I see something I love and had one of those thrilling experiences as an audience member, all I want is for my family and friends (and as many people as possible) to get the chance to have the same experience I did. Perhaps this sadness is sometimes misdirected and fans of shows “blame” those who didn’t have the same feelings about the show as them, (which, in that case, is out of line), but I think most fans’ bemoaning a show closing early and is just out of sadness that others (or more people) didn’t get the chance to experience what they did.

His question was of moderation: why is it that every show seems to have a greater outpouring of ardent support than the average show seemed to years ago?

If this was his question, then my guess would be it having to do with how many different kinds of theatre offerings there are these days. Yes, there have always been different genres and special, unique shows. But, nowadays, I feel like there so many different types of unique, different theatrical experiences that are more accessible and more mainstream than ever before. Because of being able to experience so many different kinds of shows, I feel what people want to get out of a show when attending the theatre (and what kinds of shows people are attracted to) has really expanded and changed. There are so many different types of shows out there – it makes sense to me that there will at least be a small group for nearly all of them that has a core group of fans who largely connected with it. (This all came out a bit convoluted, as of course it’s only theorizing, but I hope it made some sense, nonetheless.)

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