Shows and Star Performances.
Posted 06 March 2007 - 09:09 AM
For me I generally go and see a production of a musical or a play that appeals regardless of who is in it - although I am not an average punter who I believe is very influenced by the star involved. Some shows are sold on the show alone - Les Mis, Phantom, Lion King etc and the public have no idea who is performing. However, some shows rely heavily on the pulling power of their star.
The Sound of Music (to name only one example) is a show which does not generally discount its ticket price as it has been "sold" on star names. Both Connie and Lesley are off at the moment (see other threads) and although the producers are well within their legal rights to substitute performers (see the back of any theatre ticket) surely it is very bad management to see the show purely on the star performer and not deliver the star. Obviously illness cannot be helped but to allow Lesley Garrett off a huge amount of shows for TV work is surely not acceptible.
Even though I go to see a show for the show I would be dissapointed if Richard Griffiths was not appearing in Equus the night I paid £50, or Maggie Smith in The Lady From Dubuque for example. I can well understand a families dissapointment at travelling to London form Scotland at great expence and not seeing Connie in SOM however good the understudy is.
The Drowsey Chaperone ( a fun show by the way ) is being sold on the star quality of Elaine Paige to sell the tickets - fair enough - but we all know that ladies reputation for not doing all eight shows a week ( cue a whole hue and cry on this board in a few weeks time!!) - indeed she started the trend as far as I know with Evita only doing six shows a week as the part was so demanding!!?? Elena Roger has continued the trend currently and this is another show which has largly been sold on how brilliant her performance is. Incidentally have leading parts become more vocally demanding in the last 20 years? Barring illness Julie Andrews, Ethel Merman, Mary Martn etc all did eight shows a week and this before the age of radio mics. However, that is a whole differnent topic!
So is it morally right (or have producers no morals?) to market a show on a star name alone and then not offer discounts or refund tickets if the star is off? Would anyone pay £50 not to see Maggie Smith?
Posted 06 March 2007 - 12:20 PM
Posted 06 March 2007 - 02:46 PM
As far as I'm aware that has never been a rule, but merely something people thought was a rule. It's like the widespread belief that it's OK to break copyright so long as you don't make money in the process: it's not true, but people imagine it to be true.
I was involved in this type of discussion on rec.arts.theatre.musicals a few weeks ago and there were a couple of people with the same attitude of "You have a right to see the star". I disagreed, and eventually they were forced to admit that OK, you didn't actually have any right to see the star at all.
When you (that's a generic you, not a personal you) buy a ticket you may hope that you'll see a particular performer, but unless you're as dumb as a brick you know that the production cannot guarantee anything. People get sick, accidents happen, things go wrong. When you buy a ticket you do so in the knowledge that nothing is certain. You have an expectation (and a legal right to expect) that the performance will go ahead on a best-effort basis, but you also know that the fates don't care one bit for your hopes.
So if you turn up at the theatre and find that the person you wanted to see is off it's a bit late to start moaning. When you bought the ticket you accepted that circumstances may cause changes to the cast. Not only is it ridiculous to expect otherwise regardless of the placing of the star's name, but the terms and conditions under which the ticket is sold state this explicitly. You can't retroactively add your own conditions to the contract. The production made no promises and has no contractual obligation to do anything other than provide a show to an acceptable standard of professionalism. If you read more into the star billing than is actually there then more fool you.
If the production decides to offer ticket exchanges that's nice of them, but they have no obligations unless they're unable provide anyone sufficiently rehearsed to play the lead. Having unrealistic expectations and then thinking you have a right to compensation when reality shoulders its way in and breaks up your fantasy world just doesn't fly.
If you want a guaranteed cast then go see a film.
Posted 06 March 2007 - 03:06 PM
Posted 06 March 2007 - 04:27 PM
the same with tickets, obviously people get ill etc, but thats why these shows have big money insurances to make sure they are covered in such circumstances - dont think that just because you are buying a ticket you have no rights because you do.
theatre's wont advertise this fact as they will face a problem if 100% of their audience wanted to claim their money back.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 12:39 PM
Therein lies the problem with the TV show that promoted Connie. I'm sure many people who watched the TV show were first time theatregoers and had no real idea about what happens. For all intents and purposes they expected to see Connie.
But of course as long as its made clear to people at the time of booking that these things can and will happen then there is no problem and producers do not need to refund or exhange tickets.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 12:54 PM
If you book a specific holiday and the hotel is not as described, or another hotel is substituted, you are entitled to compensation.
If you book a concert and the band/singer cancels then you get a refund - even if the supporting bands may have given upto to half the entertainment. A substitute is - I think - never an option. "Sorry Madonna is indisposed tonite but instead we have Tina Arena"
If you buy anything which is deemed "not fit for purpose" you are entitled to a full refund.
But theatres get away with a raft of get-outs giving them the right to alter or substitute the entertainment, charge supplements over the advertised prices, and deprive the customers of most of their rights, which is simply against the law in other situations.
And who could see that the road would twist
Posted 07 March 2007 - 01:00 PM
The only shows I've seen in the past couple of years based on the star were Underneath the Lintel and Heroes, if the stars hadn't been there then I'd have been upset but thats life. It wasn't Martine McCutcheon when I saw My Fair Lady (indeed it was the understudies understudy) but I've never felt the need to complain, the material is the real star.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 07:25 PM
I agree that you can't guarentee that an actor will turn up but I do think it's reasonable that an actor will only be off for planned (and properly advertised holidays) or actual sickness. Anyone remember when Val Kilmer was in London and the management refused to give information about whether he might bother to turn up that night? Or Martine's sick leave spent in posh Islington restaurants? I do think the audience has a right to be a little miffed if the actors are taking the mickey and I just hope Billie Piper isn't doing the same thing.
Posted 08 March 2007 - 01:48 AM
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