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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

When a Show Closes...

Earlier this week, SpongeBob SquarePants announced a closing date of September 16.  That's 10 weeks from now.  As with any show closing announcement, I'm always intrigued by the reaction to it. Intrigued, but not surprised. The reactions are virtually all the same:

1. "I'm so sad! Thinking of all the cast and crew who are losing their jobs."

  • To me, this is the "thoughts and prayers" of Broadway reactions. Of course, no one wants people to lose their jobs. But really, let's remember that this is a business. And when it no longer makes financial sense to keep the show open, it closes. And don't think the cast and crew don't (usually) realize it had to be coming soon. At least in SpongeBob's case, cast and fans were given 10 weeks' notice. Most other jobs don't give employees that kind of time. And now all of those people will be free to be in another great show!
2. "Thank God! I hated that show!"
  • Well, good for you, Nancy Drew! Thanks for sharing. But did you ever notice that these people are usually the ones who then have to dig in and really let us know that they hated it.  And usually with a tone of smug superiority. You don't like it? Fine. Why spend so much time thinking about it?
If Fun Home (a favorite) hadn't closed...

3. "Eh...I never was interested in that show. Who cares?"
  • See # 2. But really, isn't it a good thing that everyone doesn't like the same thing? Can you imagine how boring art and life would be if everyone had the interests and tastes?
...In Transit (a new, original musical) wouldn't have tried...
and if it hadn't closed...

4. "It's about time! I am so over that show. It is so stale."
  • Again, I say that this is a business.  If there was enough interest to keep it running for years, it runs. We've all been to shows that seem to have lost their...mojo. The blessing and the curse of live theatre is that it is LIVE, and never the same thing twice. But it also runs the risk of having an "off day," or a not-as-great-as-the-original replacement or maybe the cast seems bored. It's  regrettable, certainly.
...then Once On This Island (a new favorite) wouldn't
be around!

5. "It should never have been on Broadway to begin with."
  • Translation: the show is odd in some way, or asks a lot of its audience, or it is too creative for its own good. In other words, it wasn't "mainstream" enough, or it wasn't "big" enough. Over the years, I've found that many of the people who say this are the same people who complain that there aren't enough creative, original, thought-provoking shows on Broadway. You can't have it both ways...
It is always disappointing when a show you love closes. I totally understand that - especially when you don't get the chance to see it again. I'm still missing my second chance to see American Psycho. But after nearly 35 years of theater-going, I've learned to take solace in the fact that if shows don't close, there's no room for a potential new favorite show to play. I try to remember that if Fun Home hadn't closed, the fantastic revival of Once On This Island wouldn't be where it is now. I miss the three Alisons for sure. But I'm so happy I got to meet Ti Moune, Daniel and four gods!

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