Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Defending Champion Takes on a Colossus

Blogger Rob Kozlowski just defended his title at the Drekfest. Two years running he has won the award for Worst Ten Minute Play!

He then turns to discuss the musical Wicked which is touring in Chicago (Here is just a section):

The musical is not terrible, and it's certainly less offensive than
tripe like Legally Blonde or The Wedding Singer, if only because the score is passable (albeit free of melody), the book plumbs unexpected depths, and it's certainly a beautiful-looking spectacle. But the rabid fan base completely perplexes me, especially those people who have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars seeing the show multiple times.

One of the benefits we're supposed to see from a keen interest in this
musical is the idea that a new generation of audiences is becoming interested in theater because of it. But how do you explain comments like this:

I am a baby-boomer gal and I have seen Wicked five times so far, twice in Chicago, once on Broadway, twice on the national tour. I will be seeing it in Chicago again on July 1 and now that I see it is closing, I will definitely make a trip back up in the fall to see it before it leaves. Yes, Bob K, I have paid hundreds of dollars to see Wicked multiple times and would pay hundreds more and probably will to see it many more times throughout the country and perhaps London. It is an awesome, inspirational,powerful, electrifying show and in all my years have never seen anything like it, nor do I expect to. Your loss Mr. K.

My loss, I suppose, because I don't have the kind of money necessary to travel the country and the world to see the same musical multiple times? I get to spend that kind of money on food. I wonder if she's from Hinsdale...

I see comments like these from people, and I ask myself, has Wicked
really exposed people to the appeal of theater or has it merely exposed people to Wicked?


So, I ask you: how do we attract the suburbanite audiences who are
going to see Wicked multiple times?

The answer, I believe, is: We don't. We can't.

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