40 Years of Broadway:
The Worst Shows
Well, at last, we have come to the end of our celebration of four wonderful decades of seeing Broadway shows. Today will be the final article in this series. I'm actually a bit loathe to write it. I don't want to be negative during a celebration. Why write it then? Because when I asked you what you wanted to read about during this series, the overwhelming response was: What are the worst shows you've seen on Broadway?
I am so lucky to have the means to attend the theater and have learned so much from the experience. One of the biggest lessons has been the ability to recognize what I think are great shows, good shows, and, well, bad shows. But it isn't entirely about personal taste. It's also being able to recognize that I may not love a certain show, but can respect it for its quality and artistic merit. Hamilton is one such production. I've said this many times over the years on this site and to friends who go with me, and then graciously listen while I pontificate about what we've just seen. I think there is something to learn from every play and musical presentation.
Sadly, the ten shows listed below (in NYT alphabetical order, not by amount of disdain) offered little to nothing in the way of learning or appreciating the work. They committed the one cardinal sin of theater (at least to me): I felt "meh" about them. To feel euphoria is always the goal, but if it makes me angry or disgusted or even good old hate, at least I'm feeling something. The only thing these shows make me feel - even today - is the aggravation that I'll never get those wasted hours back. They include the only show I voluntarily left at intermission, one show that I laughed so loud during a quiet moment that a future Tony-winner looked out directly at me, one where I was, unfortunately, in the front row, and didn't clap - the cast saw me, and one show I fell asleep at more than once, and snored!
I still appreciate Christopher Gattelli (choreographer), Eugene Lee (set design), Ken Billington (lighting design), Harriet D. Foy, Erin Mackey, Chuck Cooper, Tom Hewitt (actors)
I still appreciate Anna Louizos (set design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Beth Leavel, Christina Sajous, Brandon Uranowitz (Broadway debut!) (actors)
I still appreciate Susan Stroman (director/choreographer), Santo Loquasto (set design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), Marin Mazzie, Nick Cordero, Brooks Ashmanskas, Zach Braff (Broadway debut!), Karen Ziemba, Casey Garvin, Paige Faure (actors & ensemblists)
I still appreciate Des McAnuff (director), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Paul Tazewell (costume design), Tom Hewitt, Paul Alexander Nolan, Tam Mutu (Broadway debut!), Bradley Dean, Robert Hager, Ericka Hunter (actors/ensemblists)
Seriously, I tried...
I still appreciate Frank Wildhorn (composer), Jeff Calhoun (director/choreographer), Teal Wicks, Ashley Loren, Emmy Raver-Lampman (actors/ensemblists)
I still appreciate Natasha Katz (lighting design), Carolee Carmello, George Hearn, Roz Ryan, Andrew Samonsky, Betsy Struxness (actors & ensemblists)
I still appreciate Eric Anderson, Amber Iman, Ian Paget, Heather Parcells (actors & ensemblists)
I still appreciate Kathleen Marshall (choreographer), Kathy Fitzgerald (Broadway Debut!), Michael McGrath, Eugene Fleming (actors & ensemblists)
In looking over this list, I realized that nearly all of them have people attached to them that I have the utmost respect for, and I am a big fan of those people. Everyone has their bad moments, and they can use those to create something much better the next time. Ha! I guess I did actually get something out of each one on the list!
Contest Question #20:
How many of the 10 shows above are based on real-life people and events?
That's all the questions for this contest! Be sure to gather your answers and review the rules. We will post how to enter on Monday, October 30th. Tap HERE to see all the articles and questions.