Why are matinees less respected?

Armie3
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Why are matinees less respected?#1
Posted: 8/6/19 at 7:11am

Why do performers not give the same level of dedication to the afternoon shows that they do for evening ones? How many times have you gone to a show only to discover the featured star was not going on?

People have paid for the tickets, at high prices, but yet it is far more likely that performers will be out "sick" for afternoon shows? I get that eight shows a week is demanding and an extremely rigorous schedule, but why is the matinee the one that bears the brunt?

barcelona20
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Why are matinees less respected?#2
Posted: 8/6/19 at 7:28am
Examples?
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Why are matinees less respected?#3
Posted: 8/6/19 at 7:47am

I primarily attend matinees, and I almost always have the full cast giving it their all. 

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ljay889
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Why are matinees less respected?#4
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:00am

bwayphreak234 said: "I primarily attend matinees, and I almost always have the full cast giving it their all."

Same here! I quite enjoy matinees. 

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ChildofEarth
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Why are matinees less respected?#5
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:00am
Anyone who doesn’t give their all in a matinee shouldn’t be performing on Broadway.
Armie3
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Why are matinees less respected?#6
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:09am

Well, what prompted this thread is Kinky Boots coming on my earphones and then remembering how disappointed I was to miss Billy Porter on a Sunday matinee, followed by Popular then remembering how disappointed I was to miss Kristin Chenoweth at a Wednesday matinee. Also I watched a documentary on Gwen Verdon where is said that she would often cut one of the tougher numbers for matinees - after one patron complained she posted them the 43 cents, saying "this is what you missed"...or so the story goes.

Anyway, my comments are not really meant to focus on performers, but more the general attitude...myself included. If there's a show I really want to see and it's my first time, I would for sure prefer an evening performance. 

rg7759
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Why are matinees less respected?#7
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:12am

Not in terms of attendance, but movies have always been cheaper for a matinee, perhaps the average price paid is lower for matinee on broadway? You don't often see the power couples dressed to the 9's at matinees, one could argue there's just less at stake and less pressure. This isn't always the case, maybe it's a placebo effect, nothing is actually different about the show, a matinee just seems different.

 

I'm editing this to include my experience at band's visit, which requires 100% focus and silence, and people were there with plastic bags like it was just one of their inconvenient errands on their way home

Updated On: 8/6/19 at 08:12 AM
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vanbrig
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Why are matinees less respected?#8
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:21am

Well part of the reason actors are more likely to take off for a matinee could be that, if they have to miss a show due to another commitment (promo things or a personal commitment), there's a strong possibility it will be happening during the daytime.

Updated On: 8/6/19 at 08:21 AM
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poisonivy2
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Why are matinees less respected?#9
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:32am

Hmm maybe I'm lucky but I've had perfect attendance at matinees. 

Times I avoid seeing B'way shows:

1) The weekend of and right after Tony's. Many singers are burned out and I've noticed that many singers call out the weekend of and after the Tony's.

2) The dead of winter (around January-February). Notice many singers come down with awful colds around that time. 

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Why are matinees less respected?#10
Posted: 8/6/19 at 8:34am

I've been to dozens of matinees, mostly Wednesdays, and I've gone several years without seeing an understudy. Granted, it has something to do with the fact that I almost exclusively go during the final week of previews, when the chances of someone being out fall to practically zero.

Roscoe
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Why are matinees less respected?#11
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:09am

I saw Nathan Lane at a matinee performance of THE FROGS, and swore never to see him at anything other than an evening performance after that.  One of the laziest most utterly energy free performances I've ever seen, he was too busy scoping out the empty seats to actually work up any interest in what he was supposed to be doing.  He was so bored with the proceedings he actually injured himself during the first act finale, and we got to see his understudy for the second act, who at least seemed to giving 100% which was more than Lane had bothered to do.  

Likewise Lily Tomlin, all those years ago at a Wednesday matinee of SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE.  I'd seen it earlier in the run, and been enthralled, and eagerly went to see it at a matinee, and was appalled at her barely present performance.  Phoned in doesn't begin to describe it.

On the other hand, I saw the original production of MILLENNIUM APPROACHES at a Wednesday matinee, and saw Ron Liebman give one of the greatest most energized performances I've ever seen.  Likewise that Saturday matinee of SWEENEY TODD when Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury gave their all.  Clearly, it varies.

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Why are matinees less respected?#12
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:17am

I've been to many matinees, and while I can't say that I've experienced much disappointment from the performers, the audiences are sometimes quite another story entirely.

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Why are matinees less respected?#13
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:31am

Armie3 said: "If there's a show I really want to see and it's my first time, I would for sure prefer an evening performance."

What's preventing you from doing that?

Armie3
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Why are matinees less respected?#14
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:42am

Nothing.

Why do you ask?

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Why are matinees less respected?#15
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:54am

Armie3 said: "Nothing.

Why do you ask?
"

Just seems like an easy problem to fix. Of course, over time, you will also learn that performers call out of evening shows randomly, as well.

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Why are matinees less respected?#16
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:58am
How does one know when an actor isn’t “giving it their all” or is “phoning it in”? Maybe they were like that on opening night too, lol.
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Why are matinees less respected?#17
Posted: 8/6/19 at 9:59am

Lot666 said: "I've been to many matinees, and while I can't say that I've experienced much disappointment from the performers, the audiences are sometimes quite another story entirely."

 

Which raises some other interesting ways of looking at the issue:

1. That the audience’s energy has the potential to feed the performance. So a low-energy audience might lead to a lower-energy performance. Usually not, but it does happen. 

2. Being surrounded by lower-energy audience members (or rude/distracting audiences), can make someone like the OP feel as though the show they’re watching isn’t as enjoyable. 

or 

3. If someone goes into a performance with lower energy, they may project that feeling onto the show, and think that the actors are not delivering. 

 

chrishuyen
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Why are matinees less respected?#18
Posted: 8/6/19 at 10:11am
I think part of this also comes from alternates normally going on for matinees rather than evening shows if they have a set schedule. For me, I've always seen an evening show or movie as more of an "event" whether it be a date night or getting dressed up for dinner and a show. When I was younger we'd dress up for evening shows but matinees would be considered casual.

Part of it I think also comes from a two show day effect, where if performers know they're doing another show later in the evening they might make different performance choices to get through the later show as well. I'm not an actor so I don't know if there's specific things that actors do or if this is considered phoning it in but I feel like I've noticed a little less oomph to performers in matinees, especially for particularly demanding vocal parts.

Also, like another poster said, part of it may also come from low audience energy as matinees have carried a stigma of being a house full of elderly people (which as far as I can tell for weekday matinees isn't necessarily inaccurate), which could also just be that the house is less full or any number of other factors.
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Why are matinees less respected?#19
Posted: 8/6/19 at 10:16am

Armie3 said: "Well, what prompted this thread is Kinky Boots coming on my earphones and then remembering how disappointed I was to miss Billy Porter on a Sunday matinee, followed by Popular then remembering how disappointed I was to miss Kristin Chenoweth at a Wednesday matinee. Also I watched a documentary on Gwen Verdon where is said that she would often cut one of the tougher numbers for matinees - after one patron complained she posted them the 43 cents, saying "this is what you missed"...or so the story goes.

Anyway, my comments are not really meant to focus on performers, but more the general attitude...myself included. If there's a show I really want to see and it's my first time, I would for sure prefer an evening performance.
"

Its an incredibly physically taxing job.

Comparing it to something like baseball, it isn't uncommon for players to get the day game after a night game off, or not play both games of a doubleheader, or to get Sunday off in a week without an off day.

Like athletes, actors are not always at their peak, but it doesn't necesarily mean they are mailing it in. You really have no way of knowing if they were also off for the evening performence of that particular day.Thats true of anything with a human element to it and what raises the intrigue of any type of live performance, you get to experience the highs, lows and everything in between. You can watch a movie for a performance where there have been enough takes to get it right, but watching a movie of Jersey Boys, or The Producers isn't the same as seeing something live despite the risks.

I've also seen plenty of shows where the understudy has performed and I couldn't have imagined the lead performing any better. Saw Hamilton last week with Ryan Vasquez performing Aaron Burr and thought he stole the show.

Nothing wrong with getting upset when you see a dog performance. I don't like going to a sporting event and watching my team lose either, but thats the nature of anything performed live..

52889j
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Why are matinees less respected?#20
Posted: 8/6/19 at 10:23am

I used to think that matinees < evening performances in general, but I think every performance has a unique set of circumstances that affect the energy in the room.

I will say, in general, Wednesday matinees will be the lowest energy performance of the week to any show, but Wednesday evenings and Saturday evenings are not far behind because the cast has already done a show that afternoon.

Saturday matinees are better, but when the Sunday matinee is the only show of the day, I've found that there's a bit of a "finish strong" energy among the cast. Audiences also bring their lives into their seats with them. Laurie Metcalf (I believe) said on Marc Maron's podcast that Thursday evenings are the best audiences because they're looking for that shot of energy to send them into their last work day before the weekend. I think Sunday matinees are similar in that people are looking to finish their weekend strong and may even be brunch drunk. By Sunday evenings, many are ready for bed.

All of this can go right out the window for a brand new show during awards season or otherwise. For instance, I'm sure Wednesday matinees for Hamilton in June of 2016 were off-the-wall and not only full of tourists, but New Yorkers who are taking a long lunch break because it was the only possible time they could find their way in.

Dollypop
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Why are matinees less respected?#21
Posted: 8/6/19 at 10:34am
I have never seen Charlotte D'Amboise perform, whether matinee or evening. Matinees have nothing to do with abscence.
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Why are matinees less respected?#22
Posted: 8/6/19 at 10:53am

I recall for OBC of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda didn't perform on Sunday matinees (his alternate Javier Munoz did.) 

For School of Rock, Alex Brightman performed every performance for several months but later in his run, I recall his alternate Will Blum would perform at one of the matinees. 

For Dear Evan Hansen, a few months after the Tony Awards they made it official that Ben Platt won't perform at Wed/Sat matinees (his alternate Michael Lee Brown would perform.)

For Miss Saigon, there was an alternate schedule as well but I can't remember which performances Eva Noblezada performed in.

MollyJeanneMusic
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Why are matinees less respected?#23
Posted: 8/6/19 at 11:28am

Wick3 said: "For Dear Evan Hansen, a few monthsafter the Tony Awards they made it official thatBen Platt won't perform at Wed/Sat matinees (his alternate Michael Lee Brown would perform.)"

They still have that same schedule with Andrew Barth Feldman.  One of the things I do like about Sunday matinees in particular is you have the chance to see some cool experiences.  As most Broadway shows close on Sundays, and many cast members leave on Sundays, you always have the chance of seeing the "last performance" of someone or something, which can create a whole different energy.  (Example: When Michael Park cries during his last performance of To Break In a Glove, I cry during To Break In a Glove.)

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
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Why are matinees less respected?#24
Posted: 8/6/19 at 11:33am

Luke Evans actually said on the Graham Norton Show a few years back that you should never go to matinees, implying cast aren't always fully into it. I was shocked that he was admitting it so ridiculously publically

S16 episode 2 about 27 mins in if you want to look it up.

Updated On: 8/6/19 at 11:33 AM
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Why are matinees less respected?#25
Posted: 8/6/19 at 11:41am

I haven't noticed actors phoning it in when I've seen matinees (admittedly, I think the last one I saw was Dear Evan Hansen about a year ago), but I do notice the audience can be a mixed bag. You get an awful lot of groups- students, etc. who don't know how to behave in the theater.  But that's really all I got in terms of matinees and what I've noticed about them.