Thursday, July 24, 2008

who'll stop the rain?

so, okay.

nothing against the new star of broadway's legally blonde (cast via an mtv reality show, legions of fans were standing clear down the block to get her autograph last night, in the pouring rain.) nothing against the stars of the current broadway revival of grease. and i'm certainly not saying i could do any better (although i do think i'd make a fierce elle woods.)

but the key word in both of those sentences is broadway. lately, in certain instances, you could replace broadway with college theatre and you wouldn't be far off. here's a fun quote i found on wikipedia:
"Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world."
the highest level in the english-speaking world. wtf.

well, you know what? legally blonde is selling like nobody's business. and so are the t-shirts. i've made more dough-re-me in the last three weeks schlepping t-shirts and little stuffed chihuahuas in fuzzy pink purses than ever before. that mtv reality show has put money in my own pocket.

but at what cost? at what, dare i say, artistic cost.

that is not to say there isn't amazing stuff happening in broadway theaters every night. there is. lots of it has been brought in from chicago, sure. but some of it is new york based.

i have plenty of uber-talented friends who actually appear in shows nightly on the great white way. even after seven years, mamma mia has yet to bring in a "star" (although don't hold your breath or you'll miss the movie's amanda seyfried as sophie. nothing official, but just watch.) and of course, there's south pacific, there's lupone in gypsy, there's in the heights and passing...oops. no more passing strange.

and listen. i think even legally blonde has it's place. much of it is great fun, and performed with great precision and joy by real pros.

but mix that in with...the rest. and those midwesterners coming to see the theatre's "best and the brightest" might be better off buying a ticket to the malt house theater in burlington, wisconsin to see the neighborhood letter carrier in the music man.

at least they won't have to stand in line in the rain to get an autograph.

(btw: the image above is a painting by canadian artist emily strong. see more of her work here.)


  1. Is it really only possible to sell seats by hiring celebrities as opposed to producing good writing/acting and allowing that to speak for itself? I thought August Osage was where we were headed, not just a pleasant stop along the way. What happened to shows/producers/directors creating stars? I mean for christ sake where do celebrities come from once the old ones die out? This is maybe where I agree with LaChiusa's 'The Great Gray Way.'

    And how did you find that artist? Beautiful stuff!

  2. agreed ... and while i dont agree with the choice made for Legally Blonde, at least they didn't let America decide.


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