Tag Archives: theater

Not Quite Razzle Dazzled

22 Nov

On Friday, I decided to hop a Megabus to New York City.

I find it amusing that one of my old Lollipop Tuesdays (taking the Megabus) was the vehicle (Ha! HA!) for my new Lollipop Tuesday: seeing a Broadway show.

I’m so tickled that I’ve picked up a few noobs this week and so allow me to direct you to the top of this page where it says “What’s Lollipop Tuesday?”  You can click there if you’d like.  Or you can wander on in confusion.  The Jackie Blog is your oyster, noobs.

On to the matter at hand.  Having gone to one of the best conservatories in the country for performance, I have always felt like a bit of a fraud for the fact that I’ve never seen a Broadway show.    Well, I kind of saw one once.  It was called Lestat, and I went to a preview.  It was a vampire musical with a score by Elton John.  Allow me to repeat that: It was a vampire musical with a score by Elton John.

It was obviously awful.  There’s something about a vampire singing ballads that I just can’t get into.

I decided not to count it, for fear I lose my faith in Broadway forever.   Then, this past weekend, I scored some half price tickets to Chicago, which had, in my opinion, all the elements that one expects from Broadway: catchy songs, attractive (scantily-clad) ladies, and a whole big dose of pizzazz.  I was totally stoked to finally be seeing my first show and could barely contain my urine.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but I was underwhelmed.  Maybe it’s because the show has been running for so long, maybe it’s because the cast went out drinking heavily the night before.  Maybe it’s because I went to a school that had amazing dancers and so I expect cleaner lines and more energy.  I expect people to look like they’re having fun up there.  Especially on a Saturday night with a full house.

But they weren’t.  And so neither was I.  There were, of course, some good parts sprinkled in there.  But when the entire set is just the orchestra on stage and there are no costume changes, there had better be some damn fine performing.  Without anything to look at besides the actors, there’s nothing to distract me when they suck.  I actually started to get sleepy at the end of the first act and almost dreamed of the money I’d spent running back into my pocket.

But hey, I’m glad I went.  Very glad.  After all, John O’Hurley was on that night. There’s nothing like getting to see the guy who played Elaine’s boss in Seinfeld do a good Broadway tune.  

Speaking of which, perhaps it wouldn’t have hurt to have one of those leggy ladies do the Elaine Dance. Theater gold. 


Rebecca Black & Spiderman the Musical: Is a Train Wreck an Instant Ticket to Fame?

26 Mar

We need to talk about Rebecca Black.

If you haven’t heard the most mediocre song in the world yet, join the millions who have.

You might need some time with it.   With hard-hitting, witty lyrics like “Yesterday was Thursday, Today is it Friday, Tomorrow is it Saturday, and Sunday comes after that”, I feel like I should give you time to digest.

I don’t want to talk about how much Rebecca Black does or does not suck or about whether or not people are being too hard on her.  She’s a 13-year old girl who showed up to an audition and had to choose between two songs that were already written and just needed a tween to represent them.  Do you understand that? She had the choice between two songs and she chose this one.

Imagine what the other song must have been.

She didn’t write the lyrics.  She didn’t say she was any good.  There were just some guys who thought they could throw autotune on that, stick her in front of America, and watch what happened..   We seem to be pretty all right with singers that sound like robots.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate the song with the firey rage of a thousand hellfire flames.   The video is a pathetic excuse for entertainment, and though she can certainly be blamed for the lack of enthusiasm and energy she shows in it, none of that is really relevant.   Because the point isn’t that it’s awful.  The point is that people are listening to it.

People are listening to her just because they think it sucks so much.  I’ll admit that the only reason I viewed it is because 20% of my friends’ Facebook statuses linked that video and something hilariously awful they had to say about it.

Her suckiness is viral gold.

Think about that.  Really stop and think about that.  Her video went from 4,000 to 70,000 views in one night.  The next morning, it had exploded into 200,000.   Now, it sits at 48 mill and climbing.  In spite of the fact that it has ~90,000 likes and ~766,000 dislikes it’s growing like a big, bad, mind-numbing monster.

Have you heard about Spiderman the musical?  It isn’t quite as high-profile as Rebecca Black given the nature of the medium, but suffice it to say it’s kinda in a similar boat.  After being plagued by severely injured actors, hiring a new writer, a new director, slashing ticket prices, pushing back opening dates, coming to a dead hault on final dress, and facing about 13 grand in OSHA violations, the musical is the costliest show to ever be produced on Broadway.  It will have to run 5 years at full capacity in order to make up the production cost alone.

That’s pretty sucky.

And you know what? People are going nuts over it.  When people spread news on Spiderman, it’s because they’re checking in on the next disaster.  High profile problems with the show keep people coming back to check for more.  The show is now running previews and is selling out.

That’s right; It’s selling out.

Whether or not it ends up being any good is irrelevant.  What put butts in the seats is people’s anticipation of disaster.  When polled during invited rehearsals, audience members claimed to have shown up because they heard what a mess it was and couldn’t wait to see it for themselves.

This just blows my mind.  And, quite frankly, scares the hell out of me.  Is this the future of entertainment? Is it possible that if you suck hard enough you can grab yourself a golden ticket to fame?

Rebecca Black could be just the beginning.  Imagine – an entire crop of tweens could take opportunity by the reigns.  Rich parents everywhere could throw money at producers and crank out an Auto-Tuned pieces of horror that will haunt our computers and social media.  And I, for one, am truly frightened.

Hey – this could be William Hung‘s big comeback. 


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