Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Throughout my undergrad I was told that the revival carries a specific message. A show is brought back to life for one reason, and it’s not how eternal the material is. Shows (particularly on Broadway) are revived when the market is dying. Ticket sales are needed and a few people are in danger of pink slips (do they still use those?) because butts are not in seats. What do you do? You pick a show that everyone knows. You see this in particular with playwrights like Arthur Miller. Every grandma knew his relationship with Marilyn Monroe and every high school student read his work in class. As a producer, you can bank the audience will show up.
A few shows (particularly plays- yay!) are being revived at present. However, these shows are banking on some big star power to fill their houses. I once saw a production of You Can’t Take It With You and one production was all I needed. However, put James Earl Jones in a lead role? I would buy a ticket. And sure enough that’s what they did. The revivals are successes according to the NY Times and The Village Voice but at a cost. Big (Hollywood) names are attached to the projects, and we know they come with a big price tag.
With plays in particular being revived with Hollywood royalty (Scarlett Johansson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof comes to mind) is theatre selling its soul to stay in business?