Howard, Akie and I discussed the early closing of the lauded production in this week’s Perpetual Post.
One shouldn’t shell out $80 a ticket for just any theater experience. I like to make sure I’m getting the most for my money. Before I consider buying tickets, I tend to ask myself certain questions—questions like, ‘are there puppets in this show?’ and ‘does the title contain the word ‘urine’?’ This is just one way to make sure that a Broadway show will be worth its weight in all the other shows you’ll need to Tivo while you spend an entire evening out of the house and not wearing sweatpants.
I’ve also found that if a show is at least three times removed from its primary incarnation– for instance, if it’s based on a videogame that was made into an action-figure that became a mini-series—you’re bound to at least know what you’re getting into. And if there’s one thing I’m fond of entertainment-wise, it’s the comfortingly familiar.
Celebrities I’ve seen on television and in the movies also help to add a sense of familiarity to a stage play. Fortunately the website Broadway.com allows you to filter your search for shows by the category, “Celebs on Stage”. Throwing Jude Law or James Gandolfini into a performance also gives me something to actually talk about at work the next day. Trust me, none of my coworkers want to hear about my evening spent watching Brighton Beach Memoirs when they can hear about how I saw Harry Potter’s magic wand in Equus.
Brighton Beach Memoirs in particularly is very family-unfriendly. It may be the story of a young boy who comes of age, but it’s certainly not for children, who will be unable to focus on the storyline and characters without a commercial break every few minutes. Plus none of the characters are cartoons or talking animals, and there are no straightforward and educational messages to be gleaned like, “don’t talk to strangers” and “brushing your teeth is fun”.
In fact, don’t even think about bringing your kids to a Broadway show if it doesn’t have performers dressed up like giraffes, gamboling through the audience on stilts, or if the title lacks the phrase ‘-on Ice’. By the time your kids stop whining about how you made them silence their cell phones, it will be intermission and they’ll be begging you for an $8 KitKat. If you thought movie theater refreshments were expensive, wait ‘til you get a load of the concession stand at the Gershwin. Plus, while most musicals have at least a few souvenir T-shirts and other merchandise, very few plays have gotten the memo that people don’t rely on their memories anymore—they rely on buying things that will remind them of experiences they’ve had. Did you even SEE Wicked if you didn’t leave the theater clutching an $18 witch hat keychain? I think not. Brighton Beach Memoirs, if I can’t buy a lunchbox with a picture of your cast on it, you’re wasting my time even more.