In which your humble narrator goes on a rant about the production he’s currently in.
Few things, while working in the entertainment industry, are more frustrating than knowing you have a good, or great product on your hands, and the Theatre or organization for which you’re working does nothing, or almost nothing to support it. Wow, how’s that for a run-on sentence? Anyway, the thing about this production of Spelling Bee that I’m in, is that we’ve gotten stellar reviews, and crowds that roar with laughter, cheer for the spellers, and go nuts with applause at the end. BUT, they’ve been crowds that have only either half-filled up or three-quarters filled the house. And this is NOT a huge theatre. It’s not tiny, but it’s not huge. So what gives? I personally look to the Board. That is, those who claim to “run” the theatre. The same people who came on preview night, said it was one of the best things this particular theatre’s ever produced, and yet do f— all to get word out about the show. The publicity has been next-to-nill. In fact, ya know who’s done most of the publicizing? THE ACTORS!, via social networking, etc. Can you imagine telling a cast on Broadway, “Uh, gosh guys, we’re not really gonna do a big marketing campaign for yer little show here, but um, it’d sure be swell if you hopped on facebook and talked about it a lot!” ? I can tell you this, without the actors having done what we’ve done via social networking there would literally be houses of maybe 20-4o people every night. Pathetic! The actors, who should be focusing on their, oh, I dunno, ACTING, are instead moved to act as a publicity team, because the Theatre won’t put theirs to use. Fantastic. Oh, and here’s another gem the board’s given us: “Well, I mean, these are the biggest crowds we’ve ever had for one of our shows while the Rodeo was going on, so you guys should be happy!” Really? Oh, of course, we should always strive for mediocrity when we could have excellence, right? Amazing. “Hey, come on, let’s shoot for the middle-ground guys, woo hoo!” So sad. I’ve been in theatrical productions since I was a very little kid, and I’m saying this in all seriousness, this is the BEST show I’ve ever been in that’s ever drawn such pathetically small houses. Honestly, this show should be selling out every night, with a waiting list of 50 people snaking out the door waiting to get in. Trust me, I’ve been in really LAME shows where that pretty much was the case.
So, off to the theatre I’ll traipse tonight, to do another performance, and people will laugh, cheer, say how much they loved it, and yet somewhere between 75-100 seats will remain empty. What a shame. I will never work for this Theatre again.