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A question of previews

Princeton2
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A question of previews#1
Posted: 3/11/09 at 2:59am
Following on from Matt and Mama said in the Priscilla Previews thread, which I dont disagree with on the whole. However what if a show, while in previews, is charging the same (or there abouts) as after opening night? Then the public have every right to expect the show to be in pretty great shape and pass comment. Its not Joe Publics fault the show isnt ready, they just know they have spent their 50-60 and are expecting a quality production.

On the making of Chitty dvd Nicola McAuliffe makes a comment saying 'shes not there for the audience, they are there for her. To gage what works'. Now I dont know if Chitty had significantly reduced previews (I know it didnt have an out of town try out like planned).

The days of half priced, or significantly reduced previews seem to have passed on the whole. So surely the expectations of preview audiences are now (quite rightly) higher
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re: A question of previews#2
Posted: 3/11/09 at 9:14am
Unfortunately by definition a show in previews is not "ready". The whole purpose of previews is to try out a show with an audience to assist with its development, especially with brand new shows. Re-writes and constant changes are usually done during previews (for example, Sondheim wrote "Send In The Clowns" while "A Little Night Music" was previewing on Broadway.)

But I agree that theatres should not charge full prices during previews. At one time they didn't do so - but, as with many other aspects of theatre in more recent years, commercial greed has taken over.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Musical-Matt
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re: A question of previews#2
Posted: 3/11/09 at 3:05pm
very true ! the only show i know that has done out of town try out since i have been into theatre wich is now a good 6 years is mary poppins ! and i dont know if that had reduced price but i think doing out of town try outs works for a show but this is only my opinion but it seems to work for broadway productions !
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: A question of previews#3
Posted: 3/11/09 at 4:41pm
Up until the ate 1980s ALL shows had half price previews, every single one. Everyone went to a preview knowing they were seeing a work not yet complete.
These days with sometimes just a or 2 off each ticket everyone expects to see a full show ready and running for critics and the public alike!
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re: A question of previews#4
Posted: 3/11/09 at 5:33pm
I don't know why they don't do half price (or similar) previews. surely the loss made in the 2 or 3 weeks will be far outweighed. I suppose though if people will pay full price during previews why bother. Were Oliver's previews cheaper?

Wicked had 10 of each seat making rear circle seats 5, I went 3 times in previews and even took a few friends just because it was soo cheap.
Princeton2
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re: A question of previews#5
Posted: 3/11/09 at 5:40pm
Also ive noticed many shows advertising 'performances from...' or 'begin' and no mention of previews and opening nights.
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re: A question of previews#6
Posted: 3/11/09 at 5:54pm
i think we should have out of town tryouts !
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: A question of previews#7
Posted: 3/11/09 at 6:02pm
The main reason most shows don't have out-of-town tryouts is purely financial - they cost too much. At one time just about every new musical in the USA started out of town, now it only happens with a handful of shows because it's cheaper to do previews in town. I guess that's also the reason why they don't do reduced price previews too - producers are only concerned about costs and their return. It's a difficult problem because the paying public have a right to expect a show to be ready when paying full price for tickets but it's impossible for a show to be ready without developing through previews. It's a Catch 22.

(Hey - wait a minute - there's an idea. Catch 22 - the Musical! Now that WOULD be something different.)
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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re: A question of previews#8
Posted: 3/11/09 at 6:41pm
'However what if a show, while in previews, is charging the same (or there abouts) as after opening night? Then the public have every right to expect the show to be in pretty great shape and pass comment'.

So if a show goes wrong, such as a technical problem, or the preview is a shambles with the cast forgetting there lines and it stands out like a sore toe, are the punters entitled to get there money back?
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re: A question of previews#9
Posted: 3/11/09 at 7:07pm
No.

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re: A question of previews#10
Posted: 3/11/09 at 7:37pm
like mama said no ! i mean because if something goes wrong it goes wrong ! that is the greneral intentions of previews to get it wrong before the officail opening night ! shambles or not its live theatre and if you dont enjoy the preview then you either go again after the shows official opening hoping its better or dont bo back and lifes a bitch you went on a day then things went wrong and that is the draw of going to a preview ! lol thats how i see it anyway i may now get shouted out !
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: A question of previews#11
Posted: 3/11/09 at 7:45pm
Matt - you are spot on! The main draw of going to a preview is that you can actually be a part of the creative process, watching a show being pieced together. It can be really interesting to go to an early preview, a late preview and then go see the show after it's opened - to see how it's developed. (Though that can be an expensive lesson in musical theatre!)
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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re: A question of previews#12
Posted: 3/11/09 at 7:54pm
I did that with the Sydney production of Billy Elliot - went on the first preview, again during previews and again two weeks after the show opened. Was amazing to see how the show changed throughout that month.

The first time I saw it, it was pretty much an exact replica of the original London book and score that I saw at the Vic Palace in 2005. The second and third time around I kept noticing a sentence here and there added, dropped or changed.

The biggest change I noticed was the removal of the Maggie Thatcher puppet during the Act Two opener. I loved it (didn't quite get it, but was still amused by the nightmarish puppet appearing behind the stage) but I think the audience had had enough of the Iron Maiden references so it was cut.

Was a very interesting lesson in the development of a musical for a foreign market, although as bob pointed out, it was rather expensive.
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re: A question of previews#13
Posted: 3/12/09 at 4:00pm
So if a show goes wrong, such as a technical problem, or the preview is a shambles with the cast forgetting there lines and it stands out like a sore toe, are the punters entitled to get there money back?

It depends on the circumstances. If the show was clearly advertised as being a preview, then no - they should know what they're getting themselves into. But if there was no mention of it being in previews and they've paid the same price as a regular ticket then yes, they do deserve their money back as they're not getting what they paid for.

I think that even the box office staff can be a bit clueless about whether a show is in previews. I saw Hairspray soon after it opened, and when I phoned up to book I was asked what date I wanted. My answer was "Any Saturday after the opening night, i.e. not a preview." You know what? I was sold a preview. At 60.
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re: A question of previews#14
Posted: 3/12/09 at 4:09pm
thank you bob i wasnt sure if was completly right ! but i had a stab ! but i think being part of that process is good because you see songs that are cut or scenes that dont work ! its fantastic to see how different show can be the second or third time round you go !
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt