When You Don’t Like The Show

February 22, 2012

DISCLAIMER: This post is not about the show I am currently music directing!

Occasionally my private students are cast in shows at their schools that they hate. Sometimes I agree with them. I always counsel them to do what I do when I dislike the show; keep your mouth shut about it until the show has closed. Why?

1) Putting a show together takes a lot of positive energy. Your snarky comments may be true, but they will sap the group’s will to do the piece justice.

2) As an interpreter of the show, your job is to make the show the best it can be; to discover how the show works and focus the performance of it so that the best qualities are operating at peak capacity. Your withering ironic statements about the show put you against the piece, placing you outside looking in, as it were, sitting in judgment of the piece. Your place is inside, facing in the direction the piece faces. Whether it’s perfect or even good is irrelevant after somebody’s made the decision to put the show on. The question now is how you can make it the best it can be.

3) Your eyes rolling and your parody lyrics offstage will cause your fellow actors not to take your actual performance seriously and will undermine both your work and the work of your scene partners. When a joke is made about a work, something is irretrievably lost; namely the ability to take the original seriously.

AFTER your show closes, have at it. Disliking bad musicals is your birthright and a sign that you understand musical theatre enough to know what works and what doesn’t.


One comment

  1. Love, love, love this, Peter. Applies to plays, as well. A good reminder for both me and my students…

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