Scandalous. Even as I type this, I am resisting the urge to delete the whole thing and just take the high road. I rarely respond to negative criticism for my reviews (or any praise I get, for that matter). After all, reviews are the considered opinions of the people who write them. Who am I to deny you your opinion? But I really have to address the response I got to my review of this particular musical.
On the plus side, I have gotten many an email in agreement with me, and not a few that say I was still too kind. On the negative side, I've gotten several emails that have called me everything from a "a talent-less hack who criticizes because [I] can't do theatre" to a "gay scourge that represents all that is wrong with society today." I'm told I couldn't recognize talent "if God himself introduced [me] to it." And I'm told I'm "just an atheist with an ax to grind against a good Christian like Kathie Lee Gifford." I found something interesting: 100% of the supportive notes I've gotten were from people whose interest is purely in musical theatre. And 100% of the negative email I've gotten bring up religion, God, and my "poor" relationship with Him. Folks, my religiousness has nothing to do with how rotten - and I mean rotten - Scandalous is.
I'd like to think I have a pretty thick skin about this stuff, but then a few of you zealots felt the need to get personal. (I attached one of the "cleaner" hate mails to my review, along with my response. Click HERE to see that. Please come back!) After the sting subsided, I went back to those other religious-themed emails, and I noticed something interesting, if not entirely surprising. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE "CHRISTIANS" - 100% - paired their religious feelings and Bible quotes with venomous, personal attacks on my character. Hypocrisy at its absolute finest. EXACTLY why I don't trust most of the so-called believers that I come into contact with in my everyday life. I have zero respect for people who preach but can't live by their own so-called set of high morals and family values. I not only have no respect for your kind, you literally make me sick to my stomach. That said, even as un-religious as I am, I hope all of you hypocrites find what you are looking for, though if it actually is what you think it is, you'll be in Hell right next to me. Yes, that very same Hell you have threatened that I will end up in if I don't see the evil in my ways and fix it! (WWASD? - What would Aimee Semple do?)
And as for Ms. Gifford, consider this:
- First and foremost, I'd like to congratulate Ms. Gifford on doing what countless others only dream of doing: you wrote and had a Broadway musical produced. That is a major and wondrous achievement. I don't think I could be more sincere when I say that.
- BUT Kathie Lee is not the paragon of virtue or even professionalism you, or worse, she, thinks she is.
- She is at least an "entertainment reporter" if not a "journalist." Aren't there some rules about reporting the news versus being the news? OK, so NBC allowed you the time to shill your show. I don't blame you for snapping up the opportunity. But, next time, if you are so blessed, how about losing that pious, self-serving and sickeningly sweet sanctimonious smirk? It is just not right on so many levels.
- And while you are shilling, LOSE THE CROCODILE TEARS, BOW OUT GRACEFULLY and TELL THE TRUTH. The week before last, the week I saw the show, you were on TV talking about how 99% of the audience at Scandalous had professed to LOVING it. Was this a formal poll? If so, you missed me, my friend and the old lady who fell asleep on my shoulder during both acts, while her husband tried to read the Playbill by the stage lighting throughout. I mention that there were 4 of us in Row J that afternoon, and if there were a total of 200 people there after they herded everyone down to the orchestra seats, I'd be shocked. (That is including you, Kathie Lee, trying to be noticed as much as possible, all while feigning embarrassment at being "caught there.") The four of us clearly were not "loving it," and we were at least 2% of the audience. That doesn't include the couple of dozen who left at intermission... and if word on the street is even remotely true, this was typical... 99% "loving it" is a bit steep.
- And just how much can you blame on Hurricane Sandy? Almost all shows struggle to get an audience going in the early winter/late fall months, hurricanes or not. But shows that get the shit end of the review stick like yours did fail whether there's a storm or not. Even critically acclaimed shows struggle. (Last season, Lysistrata Jones folded fast despite getting raves that Wicked wishes it had gotten and there was not a hurricane to blame it on...) The fact is, that by the time things returned to normal, the week of Thanksgiving, TWELVE shows posted grosses of $1M or more. Hell, the week OF the storm, several shows cleared $1M+.
- And as for attendance: you were giving away tickets (literally - buy one, get one) and still you couldn't fill the house. And ironies of ironies, last week, your sales figures included tickets purchased by The New York Dream Center and given out FREE to victims of that storm, and STILL no one came.
The only honest thing you really had to say was that your cast is terrific. Yes, they are, and God bless 'em, I hope they find steady, good work for years to come. May God grant them a creative team and producers who know how to put on a musical the next time. And I hope, once you are done shedding your tears and shaking your head at how "no one gets" your show, that you will take the time to reflect and be honest with yourself about the extraordinary opportunity you were given and totally messed up. And maybe you'll find some actual humility and get rid of that desperate attention whore that I saw making a scene-to-be-seen sitting in row J, seat 101. Your minions who think I'm a Godless, lost soul should note that I started this with praise and ended with genuine pity.
No hypocrisy here. I hated Scandalous, I stated clearly several reasons why, and I stand by my words. And all without a fake, self-deprecating smile on my face.
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