Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Drama Drop -

#1- A subject that has been burning up the Twitterverse lately, comes from audience members who have gone to see the latest revival of West Side Story on Broadway. Most of them feel cheated and down-right pissed off because the $14 million production has been plagued by absenteeism. At some performances as many as five actors have been out.

According to an article in the New York Post, the worst offender is Karen Olivo, who won the Tony Award for playing Anita. She was missing for several days right after she accepted her award and has been in and out ever since.

Matt Cavenaugh and Josefina Scaglione, who are Tony and Maria, have also been no-shows. Scaglione most notably because of some reported vocal trouble.

Of course the actors have their reasons. Whether it be illnesses, vocal troubles, or whatever... look, this isn't an easy show. The music was written for people with classical or operatic (gasp!) vocal training and if you don't have that, the roles can rip your voice to shreds if you're not careful.

The situation has become so troublesome that last week Arthur Laurents, who wrote the show and directed this revival, got involved and reportely read his cast the riot act. Michael Riedel of the NY Post writes:
His tone, I'm told, was chilling. The 91-year-old told them that professionals don't miss performances, and that they'd better get their acts together or find another line of work.
Ronald S. Lee, who appeared in the original production of West Side Story and is an investor in the revival told the Post, "Bloodied and bowed, you crawled on the stage. 'The show must go on' was imprinted in your brain. It was part of the work ethic. Today, the work ethic seems to be, 'How many swings [substitute dancers] is the show employing, so how many shows can I miss this week?' "

Many performers suffer real injuries during some shows - but, when the list of those missing continues to grow, producers and audience members grow suspect. Again, from the Post:
Producers say they suspect drinking, partying and general carousing are often the real culprits.

"Musicals employ a lot of kids," one producer says. "They're in New York, they're making money, they're having fun. You have to stay on top of them." Another, speaking of buff chorus boys, says: "Some of them are more loyal to their gym than they are to their show".
NO! Really? Now, where have I read something like that before?

"Actors are like Kleenex," I heard a director once say. "You grab one to use it and another one pops up in it's place. If you can't do it, step aside 'cuz there is someone else waiting in the wings". It sounds to me like these WSS cast members were finally told the same thing... by a legend.

Take note, friends.

[Photo- (L-R Front Row) Actors George Akram, Karen Olivo, Matt Cavenaugh, Josefina Scaglione and Cody Green West Side Story on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)]

The Associate Press is reporting that Riccardo Muti has agreed to lead Rome's opera house.

The Italian capital is trying to raise its music profile in a country where La Scala (Milan) seriously commands the cultural stage. "We in Rome want excellence, and in the case of lyric opera, we've succeeded. Muti's with us," Rome's Mayor Gianni Alemanno said in an interview on Wednesday.

Muti will continue to be the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's music director after recently signing a five year contract. He will take his post in Rome starting in December 2010.

[Photo- Teatro dell'Opera, Rome]

1 comment:

Rick Stein said...

Gee, did any of them claim to get mercury poisoning from too much sushi? (:-) Not just musical theater actors are prone to illness these days, it seems.

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