Why Should We Be Okay With an UNDERSTUDY?

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Chason
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Why Should We Be Okay With an UNDERSTUDY?#1
Posted: 8/18/07 at 10:15pm
Shouldn't you be informed upon buying a ticket to a Broadway show that the lead of the show will be "on vacation" at the performance you're buying tickets to?
Recently,friends of mine saw MARY POPPINS with a substitute in the lead. That's quite a bitter pill to swallow, in my opinion. My initial interest in TARZAN was to see Josh Strickland in the lead. I would have been stunned to find out that he was replaced that evening. I understand that Broadway shows are "about the show", not the cast - but within reason, I think. What if it's a STAR in the lead role? If Patti LuPone had been ill during one of her Gypsy performances recently,and a substitute went on, would any of you have just thought "oh, well... bless her heart... hope she feels better tomorrow".
You know what? It'd really piss me off! Shouldn't some kind of compensation be made? It's not like the audience gets some kind of discount for seeing the show on the night that the understudy got her big chance! And before you say that this is just the consequences in which you take in seeing a live show, I will say that the lead performers need to make their vacation WELL in advance... and then you should be informed (somehow) at the time you're buying tickets. If I go to see a Madonna concert, I don't want a half-drunk Cindi Lauper to show up instead!

George: Rubbing alcohol for you, Martha? Martha: Never mix, never worry!
Updated On: 8/20/07 at 10:15 PM
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LizzieCurry
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Oh, Sleethy. Never change.
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Becoz_i_knew_you21
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Substitute? Like a substitute teacher?
COOOOLkid
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If Patti was ill, then they would have cancelled the performance.

I think it's better to see the show than not see it at all.
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ThankstoPhantom
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Really, unless the show is a star vehicle, you should probably expect not to be informed about vacations/personal days. [ETA] In these cases, it's about the show, not the star.
How to properly use its/it's: Its is the possessive. It's is the contraction for it is...
Updated On: 8/18/07 at 10:20 PM
FranzRelax
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Sleeth! Why did you change your name?
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Maybe it's a SUBSTITUTE Sleeth.

I want my money back.
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Heybeenfood
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I would much rather see a half-drunk Cyndi Lauper than Madonna!
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But it's better than getting lead poisioning...
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hermionejuliet
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I will admit that I am often ticked when understudies are announced. Sometimes I am surprised at how talented the understudies are, and I enjoy the show regardless (though I don't know if I should be actually *surprised*, they are part of a broadway show!).

I understand disappointment, but that's life. With a concert, it is a one night event. A Broadway show is performed 8 times a week. There are bound to be days that people are out.

MOST people don't know the difference between the understudy and the lead except in shows with major stars. If you don't know who you are going to see, it won't really make a difference. For example, I was pretty ticked when I went to Wicked and Eden Espinosa was out, but the majority of the audience probably didn't care a bit.

Sometimes, I wish I knew less about the actors in shows. I am always worried that I will plan a trip to see someone, and they will be out.
So, that was the Drowsy Chaperone. Oh, I love it so much. I know it's not a perfect show...but it does what a musical is supposed to do. It takes you to another world, and it gives you a little tune to carry with you in your head for when you're feeling blue. Ya know?
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popular_elphie
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In the theater world, it's called an understudy.

You do realize that many tourists could care less if John Groff, Julia Murney, or lead X in a certain show were out, don't you? It's not their responsibility to make sure everyone knows about it, because most don't care. A vacation is a vacation.
And then what if you are?
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If I'm going to a show to see a specific person as the lead, then yes I am a little upset if they happen to be out..but there's nothing you can do about it. And with regards to understudies, elphie and hermione are right; the average audience member probably couldn't care less about who's playing the lead role unless the show is a star vehicle.

And I've seen some great performances from understudies, most recently the understudy for the Phantom in the touring company of POTO.
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Really, unless the show is a star vehicle, you should probably expect not to be informed about vacations/personal days. [ETA] In these cases, it's about the show, not the star.

Lock.

MOST people don't know the difference between the understudy and the lead except in shows with major stars. If you don't know who you are going to see, it won't really make a difference. For example, I was pretty ticked when I went to Wicked and Eden Espinosa was out, but the majority of the audience probably didn't care a bit.

Stock.


You do realize that many tourists could care less if John Groff, Julia Murney, or lead X in a certain show were out, don't you? It's not their responsibility to make sure everyone knows about it, because most don't care. A vacation is a vacation.

Barrel!
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It was called "Lupone Gypsy" for a reason. They didn't produce GYPSY to tell the story. They produced it so Patti could do it.

I love the rule about over-the-title billing. You are only entitled to a refund if a name billed above the title is out. Makes sense to me. They BILL the show with the star names and the title (do not confuse "bill" with "promote." Promoting an actor in a show is just publicity to get you to buy tickets. "Billing" is a contractual tie-in with the show).

For TARZAN, they didn't bill Josh Strickland to the show. The name "Disney's Tarzan" was enough.

You're certainly entitled to be pissed off that a performer is out, but unless they are billed above the title, that's all you're entitled to.

"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
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Updated On: 8/18/07 at 11:15 PM
COOOOLkid
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Actually, a lot of my non-theatre friends really do care about having an understudy. They don't care who is playing the role, however. The fact that an understudy is going on for the role somehow bugs them...
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Isn't that what the slips in the Playbills are for. To announce changes in the cast. You can exchange your tickets for another night, but only if the star's name is above the title.
What star were they hoping to see in Mary Poppins? All the understudies are just as good and some are better.

"Substitute teacher" that made me laugh. An understudy is by no means a substitute for the real thing, whereas when I was a sub teacher, I definitely was, cuz I'm not a teacher and have no training to be one just a degree.
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Because it is LIVE theatre.







(I saw a Mary Poppins understudy and a little let down but far from upset.)
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"If Patti was ill, then they would have cancelled the performance.

I think it's better to see the show than not see it at all".

What a contradiction!
1) If Patti is ill - CANCEL
2) For all other shows - better to see the show than not see it at all
a) Even if the substitute sucks (which I admit is rare).
b) Even if you payed the EXACT same price as those who saw the "star".
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"Maybe it's a SUBSTITUTE Sleeth.

I want my money back".

Lizzy - you're so f***ing cute! LOL Don't ever change!
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FranzRelax
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^ It's not really a contradiction. It's a FACT that GYPSY would have been canceled if Patti was sick. She had no understudy, therefore no one could perform the role of Rose if she got sick.

You still haven't answered why you changed your name Sleethy!?
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commasplice
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"If I go to see a Madonna concert, I don't want a half-drunk Cindi Lauper to show up instead!"

You have obviously never met half-drunk Cyndi Lauper, then. She's AWESOME.

And Franz, I thought that Alison Fraser was the Rose u/s? I thought I remembered reading that in another Gypsy thread.
FranzRelax
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I think that was a rumor. Rose had no listed stand by/understudy in the Playbill.
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WINSTON89 HAD AN AWESOME REPLY AND IT WAS DELETED. RARRRRR.
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COOOOLkid
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No. Patti LuPone did not have an understudy.

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/109857.html

And I think this was more of a dumber question than the one asking about how Elphaba flies.
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I agree with Chason 100%.

Carry on.
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Updated On: 8/19/07 at 01:06 AM