It’s hard for me to enjoy theater.
The problem is that when you work in an industry and then you’re asked to sit back and give yourself over to a product from that same industry, it’s hard to stop your mind from spinning and wondering, “how much did that cost” or “why did they cast that actress” or “what did they do in terms of marketing to actually get me to buy a ticket?” Or, sometimes, like when watching Dance of the Vampires, you just wonder . . . “Why?”
It’s not just theater. It’s every business. I mean, if you run a cheese factory, and all that you think about all day and all night are the differences between provolone and Swiss, it’s not going to be easy to keep your curds in check if a friend offers you a grilled brie sandwich. (Ok, I’ll admit, that sentence was the cheesiest thing I’ve ever written. 🙂 Ok. I’ll stop now.)
So that’s why it’s hard for me to enjoy theater. And that’s also how I know when I’m witnessing something truly spectacular, because if a show can get me to STOP asking questions, then it’s something truly remarkable. And that’s how I felt last week when I saw KA.
Cirque has done this to me once before, when I saw O. They do things on stage and with stages that most people could never even dream
I’ll admit that whenever I see one of their shows, I’m a little envious of the amazing things they do on stage. And then I remember . . .about. I’m convinced that the production budget for their shows includes a line item for hallucinogens. You just wouldn’t believe the stuff they do if I told you, so you just have to see it. And, in true “remarkable” style, there is only one place to see it . . . Las Vegas. It’s an amazing example of a Purple
Theater in Las Vegas isn’t the primary revenue stream. It doesn’t have to make artistic sense OR financial sense, because it’s there just to draw other people to gamble everything they’ve earned at their cheese factory. That doesn’t work for Broadway. We’re not feeding another revenue stream (unless maybe you are Disney). We are the revenue stream.
So no hallucinogens for you when you are planning your next show. But definitely go see what they’ve been smoking in Vegas. Oh yeah, and at KA, they let me have popcorn and coke at my seat.
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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.