Thursday, April 16, 2009

Next season's road shows in Spokane

WestCoast Entertainment has announced its 2009-10 Best of Broadway Spokane season.

Sept. 1-6
Fiddler on the Roof, with Topol

Oct. 24
The Chad Mitchell Trio

Nov. 11-Dec. 6
The Lion King

Feb. 11-14, 2010
Avenue Q

April 8-11, 2010
Little House on the Prairie: The Musical

Bobo must pronounce himself underwhelmed. Chad Mitchell and Lion King, been here before, and recently. Little House the Musical I don't know -- and rather liked the song sung on the trailer, projected on a large screen for subscribers to see on the INB stage this afternoon -- but it's another example of dredging up every known baby boomer TV show and movie and musicalizing it just to make a buck because boy, there sure are a lot of middle-aged folks with disposable income these days. Fiddler is one of my most beloved musicals - the end of the golden era, the guts to end unhappily, nearly every one of the first-act songs a classic -- and it'll be fun to see Topol in the role (though he does turn 74 in September). Avenue Q is the highlight of today's announcements. (And Lion King, if you haven't seen it -- Disney and Bobo may have stomped too hard on the publicity, but it's still a very good show. I just wish it were returning about five years from now and not already.)

Note that late Sept./early Oct., along with Jan., March and May 2010 are all open, so we're likely to hear some more announcements. There's hope.

The advertising campaign that we'll see more of ("Have you been ... amazed ... excited ... fulfilled today? [Actually, no, I haven't.] Experience Broadway. See a show!") is a textbook case of marketing to theater newbies as opposed to veteran audience members. (I'm sure I read somewhere that -- no, I heard Ben Cameron say this last year, the former head of TCG -- that if you want to draw in new audiences, you emphasize how emotionally moving a theater experience can be -- whereas, if you're chasing after theater aficionados' money, you underscore performances, actors, sets -- how these upcoming shows fit into the tradition. The idea is that rare theatergoers don't much care about all that crap, having little experience to contextualize it with.)



At April 17, 2009 6:36 PM , Anonymous Maria C. said...

"it's another example of dredging up every known baby boomer TV show and movie and musicalizing it just to make a buck"

No kidding. Who ever heard of that Laura Ingalls Wilder broad before Melissa Gilbert made her a star? It's not like she was a world-famous author whose books have remained on best-sellers lists for nearly 70 years. Perhaps if she'd been translated into 40 languages and received five Newbery Honor awards you might have heard of her before the TV series came along.

Maybe if she had a wikipedia entry you might know something about this author beyond her posthumous contributions to a cheesy television series.

Do your homework, Bobo.

At April 21, 2009 2:36 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

Actually, she _does_ have a Wikipedia entry, Maria. (I'm joking.) You're right, I was supercilious.
I was kinda vaguely aware that Wilder had written some books. I never watched the show for more than three minutes.
So you're right, critics shouldn't pop off about things they're ignorant of.
I have tried to ascertain sales figures for Wilder's books and ratings for the TV show. But here's my point: She may have sold milllions of books over 70-some years, but ... LH on the P was a top-20 show for seven years running. Tens of millions saw it there. Far more people know it through the TV show than through the books.
Takeaway points:
1. Bowen is an ignorant, arrogant jerk.
2. People don't LOVE theater, so producers can only market properties that are PRE-SOLD by virtue of prior name recognition. Boomers' nostalgia IS relevant here.
3. Bowen is still an ignorant, arrogant jerk.

At April 23, 2009 10:44 AM , Anonymous Maria C. said...

Aw, I'm sorry I was so bitchy about it. The truth is, there are a zillion rabid Laura Ingalls Wilder fans out there (ask me to show you my photos of the homestead) who are always excited to see anything new in regards LIW.

You said "Far more people know it through the TV show than through the books." I'd really disagree with that, especially since the series was filmed over 25 years ago. Seriously, the books are standard curriculum in schools. They're bigger than the show.

If I were going to criticize anything, from your perspective, I'd ask why a non-Broadway show is being included in the Broadway series. I was suprised to see it there, myself.


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