Printer Friendly - Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by Borstalboy 2012-11-25 00:27:53

I have always been curious about it.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by Leadingplayer 2012-11-25 00:46:45

I think the cast recording is on Spotify....I forgot my user name and can't check though.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2012-11-25 00:55:17

Yes, I, and many others saw it.
I liked it a lot.
But I think THE ME NOBODY KNOWS was a stronger musical on a similar subject.
I wonder if schools do these shows? They should.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by goldenboy 2012-11-25 09:49:40

I've seen this musical twice... in two incarnations.
First on Broadway. And once at Stagedoor Manor. Call me schizoid but
I loved the Stagedoor Manor version and loathed ike the Broadway Version.

On Broadway, I found the music odd and
could not relate to the theme. I was uninvolved in the runaways lives.
It was a ho hum yawn night of theatre . Swados did her own orchestrations I believe.

But then I taught and directed a summer at Stagedoor Manor where Runaways was directed by the late Jack Romano and musically directed by the late Michael Devin. The musical was heaven! Michael re orchestrated the music and underneath that mess of orchestrations that was on Broadway was a Divine Score!!!! Who knew orchestrations could make such a difference. Jack Romano, task master that he was, made each and every kid/teen actor feel lost and alone and like a runaway. The result was marvelous.

What a difference a good director and good orchestrations make.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by dramamama611 2012-11-25 11:41:36

I am far more familiar with The Me Nobody Knows than Runaways (I've never seen Runaways produced, but know the music and have the script.) I also prefer The Me Nobody Knows. I've never known either to be produced by schools. I couldn't do either as I have a lily white school and also do HUGE musicals...I would be shooting myself in the foot to do either of these shows because of their small size. (I NEED the musical to fund the rest of my season -- it is the only show we make a profit on.)

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by 3bluenight 2012-11-25 11:52:04

I first encountered runaways at a michigan high school theatre competition. It was done by a high school as their entry for a fully staged production. Other selections that year (i think) were cat on a hot tin roof (with skipper wandering around as a ghost), waiting for lefty, and quilters. we submitted ramon delgado's the little toy dog.

as an adult i've looked at the piece for musical scenes and monologues for students. the material seems a like one might hear from parents about the content.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by trentsketch 2012-11-25 12:05:52

I work regularly with a high school theater teacher who saw the original production. We've had the "can we do it?" discussion on and off for years and the answer is no. We both love the show. We also have the cultural diversity to cast the show, so that's not the issue.

The issue is the subject matter. I can't imagine too many parents would approve of their daughter singing "Song of a Child Prostitute" or supporting the production once they find out what "No Lullabies for Louis" is actually about. That's not even getting into the childhood revenge fantasy or all the other references to violence and abuse.

We've helped students perform songs and monologues from the show for performance elements in theater classes but can't imagine actually being able to do the full show anytime soon. The students really respond well to the material in class. You can teach elements of the show in context in a public high school, but probably not do the show without a whole lot of outside drama. It's a shame, too.

That said, if you search on YouTube, you can find videos of high school productions of the show. I'm not saying they're good, but the material is performed. I think most are from competitions with advanced theater students and not staged productions for a paying audience.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by FindingNamo 2012-11-25 12:38:49

It was my first independent trip into Manhattan with my best friend in high school. Our teacher had seen it and raved about it, so we arranged a trip, which was not so easy to do before the interwebs.

Naturally, we both loved it. Except, of course, the "Gimme a P!" intro to "Where Are Those People Who Did HAIR?"

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by uncageg 2012-11-25 12:56:38

I never got to see it but bout the cast album as soon as it was released and was obsessed with rhe song "Let me be a kid".

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-11-25 22:08:38

I saw it and found the music very off-putting. I believe goldenboy explains why above.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by FindingNamo 2012-11-25 22:39:30

I am not at all surprised.

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by WOSQ 2012-11-26 11:24:11

See it? I worked backstage and heard it six days a week!

I found the show sorely lacking a sense of humor (as does Liz Swados). Nothing is downbeat all the time. The POV of the show was 'oh, these poor kids, and it is ALL bad". That has always been my biggest criticism of the show.

I say kids will have fun at some point or other in just about any situation.

I like the music a great deal.
The lyrics are mostly good.
The book is relentless.
Liz's direction underscored that relentlessness.

The cast by and large was wonderful and to this day I see some of them as adult performers doing good work. Sadly, a few of them went back to their pre-Runaways lives and disappeared.

But some of them like Jossie de Guzman, Carlo Imperato and Trini Alvarado were/are stellar talents and great people.

And that Ray Conteras was so talented and such a piece of jailbait that there ought to be an Equity rule. In retrospect, I suppose there is an Equity rule....

Did Anyone See Swados' RUNAWAYS?
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-11-26 17:58:44

I am not at all surprised.

Namo, you were 8 or 10 years younger than I when we saw it; perhaps your ear for popular music was more sophisticated than mine.

Frankly, I didn't really listen to anything but classic show tunes until the stepchildren set the TV tuner permanently to MTV in 1984.