Elephants

O.K., I admit I probably found this newsgroup post way more disturbing than I should:

1954

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2010.

As someone who does not make it to the Great White Way very often, I rely on events like this annual parade to give me a glimpse of what’s current.

Memphis looks like a project possible only with the success of Hairspray. The white-person being-redeemed-by-black-music theme has been overplayed. The dancing was good, however.

A musical of the movie Elf? Speaking about your love of Santa Claus is one thing, singing about it is something else altogether.  For two hours.The movie was a sort of satire on the incorporation of Christmas. Nothing is more ironic than the musical version playing outside of Macy’s replete with corporate brand.

Million Dollar Quartet. It should have been a 13 year girl leaning on Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano. The guy playing Johnny Cash was successful in capturing Cash’s spirit. The guy playing Elvis fit his profile if not exactly his charisma. The guy playing Carl Perkins did not quite capture the great singer. A testament to the unique abilities of Carl Perkins.

Granted lip-synching outdoors in front of millions is a challenge and what I viewed were brief moments.

Not enough, I’m afraid to catch a flight and a show.

It appears we live in a world where some people decide whether or not to come to New York and attend a Broadway musical based on how three shows appeared amidst the elephants, marching bands and cartoon character balloons on the Thanksgiving Parade broadcast.

Should we now fashion our shows to look good on a TV snippet?

The skill it takes to create a flashy three-minute advertisement for a show is different than the skill it takes to engage an audience for an evening in the theatre.  Reading a single paragraph of Faulkner won’t give a remotely accurate impression of one of his novels.

I feel a similar annoyance each year after the Tony Award broadcast.  People who’ve not followed Broadway, except by watching this one TV presentation always give me their opinions of how various shows looked.  For example, I heard from all sorts of people that Next To Normal looked terrible.  Well, when you take three actors and chop up two songs to fit in the small screen in people’s living rooms, Next To Normal doesn’t look too impressive.  In the theatre, when you can wrap your mind and heart around a carefully unfolding story, acted and sung with shattering expertise, Next To Normal is very impressive.  A whole different ball of wax.

Makes me long for the day when people put a little effort into learning about what’s happening on Broadway.  You’d talk to friends.  You’d read reviews.  I know a lot of people like to complain that critics frequently get it wrong.  I disagree.  Read enough reviews, and a consensus emerges: valuable information when choosing what to see.

I think it was a clothing store that used the slogan,

An educated consumer is our best customer.


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