Even Opera reviewers suck.
A review of La Boheme at the Met from today’s NY Times:
Metropolitan Opera audiences have loved Franco Zeffirelli’s production of “La Boheme” for its overstuffed, hyper-realistic sets ever since the company first staged it in 1981, and critics have disparaged it for nearly as long . . .
It turns out that the Zeffirelli “Boheme” has had more performances than any other productions in the Met’s history . . .
27 years of La Boheme, despite the bad reviews.
Even at the fancy-schmancy opera, what the people want always wins.
I have to respect the Times who calling out the fact that the reviewers and the people have two very different agendas. So why do we still worry so much about them?
Is Wicked not enough of a poster child to demonstrate that reviews don’t matter as much as we think? Just read these wonderful quotes from their round of reviews.
Here’s my feelings on reviews:
Have you ever played Monopoly?
Great reviews are like “Advance to Go, Collect $200” cards. They send a surge of sales your way quickly, and allow you to sell tickets to your early weeks of performances without advertising. They let you skip past that hotel on Boardwalk so you can have time to build your own someplace else.
But then it’s up to you. If the people don’t like enjoy it, they won’t keep coming. And there may be some backlash. (Thom Pain anyone?)
Bad reviews are like “Go to Jail” cards. You don’t get a chance to collect an easy $200, but you’ll be out with a few rolls of the die (or maybe you have your own card up your sleeve) . . . IF you can wait it out.
How do you wait it out the jail time?
Make sure your show has an economic model that can withstand those first few weeks when the people don’t rush to see it because some guy who they wouldn’t be friends with in high school even if his Dad owned an amusement park told them not to.
Stay in jail until your word of mouth takes over.
And don’t create shows to please one guy or girl. Create shows that please millions AND one guy or girl. You.
Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.