Calling Broadway Performers by First Name

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BobbyBubby
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Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#1
Posted: 10/19/08 at 7:37pm
Question. A big pet peeve on this site, which I've noticed has crept into the audiences (namely younger folks) at several shows I've been at lately, is the calling of Broaway performers by their first names. Now sure, Ethel, Bernadette, Patti, I get, they're well know divas who you can clearly identify by first name. But calling people Laura, Michael, Karen, etc, assuming we know who they are, feels to me like bragging. Is this the new trend? Treating Bway performers we respect like they're our new best friends?
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Drunk Chita Rivera
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No. It's not like people are acting like they are best friends. They just know them by first name. It's not weird.
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insertclevernamehere
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Wouldn't it be weirder to constantly call them by their first and last name?
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention...I'm the good cop, he's the bad cop.
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Schmerg_The_Impaler
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I always feel really awkward, because I usually end up saying first and last names. It's always Michael Ball this, Norm Lewis that, so on and so on. I feel squeamish about calling performers by their first names, but not because I feel like it sounds as though I know them-- it's because I don't like calling adults by their first names in general. When an adult says, for instance, "Call me Jen," it always makes me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I refer to performers by their last names, like "Mr. Ball" or "Mr. Lewis."

I don't think it's weird at all when other people call performers by their first names, I just don't usually do it myself. Maybe when I'm older.
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Updated On: 10/19/08 at 08:02 PM
sayokay
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It's actually Laura Bell, not Laura, just thought I'd point that out!

But I do think it's weird.
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"It's actually Laura Bell, not Laura, just thought I'd point that out!

But I do think it's weird."

Chances are they were talking about Laura Benanti. This isn't helping me prove my point so I don't know why I am posting this.
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I prefer to call them by their first and last names just to be sure that the other individuals know why one I'm talking about. It could also be a BFF issue with me as well... even though if I said
"Cheyenne was hilarious in legally brown!" people would know it's Cheyenne Jackson... but for me to say, "OMG! Michael was great in Hairspray! I waited for over an hour by the stagedoor to get a picture and autograph!" (which is true) I might want to through Ball in there!
I once heard someone describe her (Ruthie Henshall) singing as sounding as though she's trying to swallow a whole meatball slightly larger than her windpipe. (The same person compared Michael Ball's singing to sounding as though he's sitting on a washing machine on spin cycle and Colm Wilkinson's to a man with a paralyzed lip trying to eat cottage cheese.) --- Schmerg_The_Impaler
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legally_popular
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When it’s a performer I talk about often, I tend to use their first names. And I think it’s alright if it’s in regards to their show or performance. (i.e. “I love listening to Laura and Leigh Ann sing “If Mama Was Married.” or “Remember when Patti starting laughing during that scene?”)

Sometimes I use first and last though too. It doesn’t really matter to me.

If people think they’re BFF with an actor after meeting them at the stage door, then that’s a different story.
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I don't think it's as weird as calling them by their full names or by "Mr./Mrs. Whoever".
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I thoroughly agree with the OP and have expressed this to my friends often.
Londonskyguy
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She will always be "Ms.Lupone" to me.
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No big deal unless you are chasing him or her down the street with a lock of his hair in your hand screaming his first name. That could be a problem.
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I don't think it's weird to call them by their first name. I do think it's kind of odd to call them Mr. or Mrs. _____

If you are using their last name, it's almost as you seeing them as a "higher power" than you. For instance, you don't call your teachers in elementary school by their first name because they are your teacher, a "higher being" at that point in your life. If you call and actor Mr/Mrs.______, to me it just seems like they have more power over you.

Does that make sense?
I just reread that and it's not very articulate, I apologize.
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If you notice, when newspaper critics refer to actors, they often write Mr., Miss, Mrs., Ms. Mr. Brantley of the NYTimes always refers to actors this way.

Actors in professional theaters used to be addressed as such by stage managers and other staff. I'm not quite sure if that tradition still holds true.
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Well, honestly, that's why I don't like to call them by their first names-- because it makes me feel like I'm calling one of my teachers by his or her first name! But again, this is just because I hate calling adults by their first names in general. If I were in a show with a Broadway star, I'd probably call him "Mr. ____", but if I was in a film with a famous teenage celebrity, I'd probably call him by his first name. (Neither of these things will probably ever happen to me, so that doesn't really matter...)
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I call them by first and last names, but I think calling them Mr. or Ms. adds a level of much deserved respect to their title.
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#17
Posted: 10/19/08 at 10:39pm
I think some people do not want to be called Ms./Mrs.____ or Mr.____ because it makes them feel weird. It just makes them feel weird and awkward. It doesn't seem like they are treated like a real person which I think they wouldn't like. I know if someone came up to me after a show and called me Mr. [Last Name] I would feel weird. I personally do not want that "power"


If I was a teacher then that would be a different story.
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#18
Posted: 10/19/08 at 10:44pm
some people in this thread are saying they feel awkward calling adult broadway performers by their first names...but what about children broadway performers. for example, the cast of 13. or the kids of billy elliot?

at the stage door would you say Mr. Phillips (graham phillips) or would you say graham. its kind of awkward to call a child Mr. or Miss.......

how do you guys feel on that?? just wondering?
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#19
Posted: 10/19/08 at 10:44pm
some people in this thread are saying they feel awkward calling adult broadway performers by their first names...but what about children broadway performers. for example, the cast of 13. or the kids of billy elliot?

at the stage door would you say Mr. Phillips (graham phillips) or would you say graham. its kind of awkward to call a child Mr. or Miss.......

how do you guys feel on that?? just wondering?
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#20
Posted: 10/19/08 at 10:45pm
If I am at the stage door or on here I have no problem using their first name. I feel like using Mr or Ms sounds like they are above me when in fact they aren't. I don't think that every job out there deserves a title of respect. Giving them respect and showing it and using a name for it are two different things.
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#21
Posted: 10/19/08 at 11:04pm
They are Talented so unless you feel you are inferior to them or anything else just call them by there name or what ever you want....as long as its appropriate and respectable.
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#22
Posted: 10/19/08 at 11:38pm
I think our society has gone too far in familiarity. I mean, everyone is on a first name basis with everyone. However, I insist that my neighbors call me "Mister" and that children call me "Sir". It just makes me feel superior to the rest of them and I like the feeling.
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#23
Posted: 10/19/08 at 11:40pm
Actually, Brantley doesn't do that by choice - that's the New York Times stated house style. All persons in all articles and interviews are referred to with the appropriate honorific. You'll never see them write "Sondheim" or "LuPone". It'll always be "Mr. Sondheim" or "Ms. LuPone". I believe they're they only major paper left in the country that still utilizes that particular style.
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#24
Posted: 10/19/08 at 11:41pm
...and well they should.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
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re: Calling Broadway Performers by First Name#25
Posted: 10/20/08 at 12:30am
such a silly topic...

On the boards I think people are just lazy and dont want to type out someones full name so if its a topic about Hairspray and you say Harvey, one would hope the person reading the topic could reasonably conclude whom you mean given the context of the discussion.

In person sometimes you introduce yourself by your first name to someone and theyre chatting with you so first names work, and its not like they need you to remind them of their own name anyways so how often would you really be compelled to use it talking to the person. (Wow you go to that school? I went there and loved it!)
-If theyre not making light conversation then theyre probably the kind of person who likes their distance so a last name use might seem more polite. (Ms ___ do you mind if I take a picture?) Its really just a vibe in this case.

If its two people talking to each other outside a stagedoor about some performer then clearly they both know who theyre talking about so theres no need to qualify further with a last name.

The overall decrease in formality is not just a strange occurence here... for example the formal tense I was taught in Italian classes is not as common now as it was 10 years ago either.