Producers Released For Amateurs!!!!!!!
Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:27 AM
Having read about what seems to be the imminent release of The Producers, Our House and Drowsy Chaperone for Amateurs, and the usual furore over Which club is worthy to get "The premiere" it set me thinking and inspired me to add my own thoughts on the matter. Don't attack me too much as it's only MY opinion, but I know it may sound familiar to others......
If I were the chairman of a Musical theatre society, I would be wary full stop of putting anything on that had just "died" on a professional UK tour. The Producers is an incredible show, and I saw it so many times in London and New York where it was hysterically funny, but I can't help feeling that it just doesn't have the regional "pulling Power" or attraction for local audiences (Bristol's last minute cancellation due to appalling ticket sales as a case in point) or the strength of cast no matter how funny the "Top Boy" in the local club may be.
Having been brought up in the amateur theatre enviroment myself, and if the rest of the country's clubs operate in a similar fashion to certain societies in the South West , there will be the usual big greedy fight to secure "The Premiere" (Does anyone remember the scuffles surrounding CHESS & JCS when they became available?) even though the club or society will not have the artistic merits to produce it.
I'll probably get a big backlash over this, but hopefully others will realate to the reality that we can expect the usual suspects in the amateur scene rehashing choreography and staging from a pirate DVD of the original they've acquired from someone who has EVERY West End show preserved in this manner; There'll be lots of unnecessary people (older housewives, fat men with boring day jobs and over eager children) in scenes that don't need them but they will be there all the same because it gives them something to do, and keeps the clubs' subs fund healthy every week. This fodder will be the backbone of the show's success as they will inevitably sell lots of tickets to all their friends who they want to see them play 8th USHERETTE at the back or 15th office junior clerk! Meanwhile, up front, the Same faces in the society will be taking the leading roles (as they have done EVERY year) even though they are too old or frankly NOT good enough to get past the first round of auditions for the show should it be casting professionally again! With only One main female role in The Producers, we can expect some delightful backstgae biting from all those girls who think they should get the role despite the fact that half of them will be too short and unable to belt half of her material, yet in the end, favourtism will prevail and the comitteee will opt for the old "pro" who's been with the club for ten years so therefore "Deserves" it (apart from the fact that she will IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER be related to ANYONE on the committee or anyone who makes costums for the show!!!)
With regard to other principals, we will almost certainly see very bad Roger DeBries, excessively OTT gay acting from Carmen Ghia's, Leo's that are too old and a torrent of Max Bialystock's that will have No concept whatsoever of Genuine Jewish American humour. I can't wait!
I may sound bitter, and not all Am Dram shows operate in this manner, but a lot DO, and my observations are sadly based on experiences with lots of AM dram society's across the country, not all identical, yet operating in similar circumstances. I'm torn between sadness and anger when I hear amateur comitees (made up of ordinary Joes, mother's, housewives etc) standing around in the foyer's during the interval proclaiming their production "Better than the original" when it is generally a mess.....but lots of pretty costumes!!!!
I have it first hand that ALW withdrew Evita way before talks of a new pro version after seeing an horrific butchering by a regional company that had a LOT of dosh to spend, but sod all creativity or imagination yet openly calls itself one of the best in the country.
I realise I'm contradicting myself when I I'm all for AM DRAM moving away from the same tired old suspects (The King and I, Carousel, Guys & Dolls etc....) and trying new things, but I really hope that some shows DON'T get an Am Dram release such as OUR HOUSE or THE PRODUCERS and preserve their integrity until lots of companies can prove that they are producing them for the right reasons!
As I said, I'm interested to hear what other's think, particularly those that have grown up in Am Dram like I did. Incidentally, before anyone suggests it, these days I prefer WATCHING shows and not performing so my comments aren't those of a bitter untalented actor. Lol
Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:39 AM
Posted 01 October 2007 - 04:37 PM
Posted 01 October 2007 - 05:13 PM
I am lucky enough to be chairman of a very talented Operatic Society. We have recently celebrated 100 years as a group and fully intend to try for the next 100. This is only going to happen by the release of newer shows.
Fine...The Producers had the tour pulled eventually. But who in a typical amateur performance audience is going to know or care about that. It is a show that will get the audiences in due to 1] recent West end status, 2] Mel Brooks above title so a known name, 3] if people know nothing else about it, Springtime for Hitler. Plus as far as a Society is concerned it is a wonderful company show. The amount of doubling performed by the original chorus means part can be distributed whilst keeping the talent level at a suitable level.
Finally why the last two posters state, 'I don't think these big shows should be released as it doesn't do them any good'. Doesn't do who any good. Producers....i dont think so, royalties will prob be fairly high.........Writers??..The show has run its course and in this case Mel Brookes would def have the final say.......Performers the Pro's who have been in it what do they care.....and finally the amateurs looking forward to perform it..............Great news.
'as it doesn't do them any good' they are not tangible things but words on a page so theres no emotional problems. there have been alot of West ENd shows that have been very slow coming to amateurs and they lose some of the impetus by then[I do realise there is a counter argument for this, buts its just my opinion.]
I hope its properly released soon as I for one will be fighting for our society to perform it.
Posted 01 October 2007 - 05:41 PM
Posted 01 October 2007 - 08:08 PM
The original poster seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder about amdram. Even if every amateur production of the Producers is complete rubbish, what harm will it do? It's not coming back to the WE for the forseeable future (we're talking 15- 20 years) and there won't be another tour for at least 5 years. Why does it matter if there's a substandard production. I'm sure anyone who buys a ticket will know they're taking a risk.
Posted 01 October 2007 - 09:05 PM
It's not like a helicopter has to land!
Posted 01 October 2007 - 09:37 PM
But very soon it will my friend!!
Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:45 PM
Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:33 AM
Having been disappointed by the quality of The Producers at Drury Lane, I thought it already was.
The quality of amateur shows varies wildly. I've seen some that would give professionals a run for their money. I've seen others that should be run out of town.
A decade or so ago I knew an amateur group that did the job properly. If there were m roles for men and f roles for women then they cast m+f people and that was it. If you weren't good enough you didn't get into the show. There was another group using the same theatre that followed a policy of "the more people we cast the more tickets we'll sell to friends and relatives". Sometimes they had so many people on stage it looked like the London Underground during the morning rush hour.
Guess which company's audiences fell asleep?
I'd like to see more adventurous selection of shows by amateur groups, who have the potential to bring to the stage some of the largely forgotten musicals that might otherwise never be performed. After all, if a show suffers a high-profile commercial disaster no commercial producer is going to touch it with a ten foot pole, but an amateur company that has built up a regular audience may give it a try.
I don't think any show should be preserved for professionals only. It's a show, for crying out loud, not some sort of sacred relic. If an amateur company makes a mess of it, so what? I've seen professionals ruin shows like Pal Joey, A Chorus Line and Kiss Me, Kate, and as for "produced by, directed by and starring" vanity shows ... well, I don't want to go there. Shows can survive bad productions, whether amateur or professional. If it's a dreadful production audiences will vote with their wallets.
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