- OnStage Editor-in-Chief
A while back we would do a monthly Q&A with our readers. As time went by, we didn't always get as many questions as we'd hope for, so we stopped doing them for a while.
However recently, our inbox has started to get fill up again with questions from you regarding everything under the theatrical sun. So we figured we'd start this feature up again.
If you have any questions about anything theatre related, please email me at email@example.com or message us on Facebook or Twitter @onstageblog, with the subject "Mailbag" and I'll do my best to answer them.
And now, as always, these are actual questions from actual readers.
I love the the series you're doing regarding looking at musicals from different perspectives. When can we expect the next one?
Tomorrow actually. I've been working on one lately and it might just surprise you. It surprised me when I took a look at it.
Do you think Hamilton's success hurt other shows this year? I've noticed a lot of closings posted lately.
No, as much as I hate to say it, this is typically normal for this time of year. Shows that didn't necessarily get the boost from the Tonys they had hoped for, would likely be the first to close up shop.
There hasn't been a single closing that's surprised me except for Shuffle Along. I thought it had more legs in it to keep going after Audra left. While the show I hear is excellent, I can't help but think that it would have been better off waiting until this coming season to open. They would have had more time to develop, not have to worry about a Hamilton award domination and could have found themselves a different start rather than Audra. But the way everything was handled by producer Scott Rudin, who is terrible by the way, was awful.
Next year looks like a crowded field for Best Musical. Do you see any front runners as of yet?
I wouldn't say front runners but certainly strong contenders. I think Dear Evan Hansen is going to be a multiple nominee. I also think Natasha Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 has a strong chance as well. With some trimming, Anastasia could be a factor. Also don't forget about Holiday Inn, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, A Bronx Tale, Gotta Dance and The Bandstand. It's going to be an interesting year.
There is a theatre in my area that is doing Ragtime and is having trouble finding black actors to cast in it. This isn't a theatre that typically does racially diverse shows, so I can't help but think, it's kind of their fault that they're having difficulty casting it. Am I wrong?
I wouldn't say you're wrong. The Catch-22 for local theatres is that if they don't normally do shows with racially diverse casts, they're not going to attract performers of color. So performing shows like Ragtime, Aida, Miss Saigon, In the Heights are going to be very difficult to pull off. I would encourage this theatre to keep doing more racially diverse shows to attract performers of color to come and populate these roles.
What are your thoughts on Hello Dolly! next year?
I would say it's going to be one extreme or the other. It's either going to be phenomenal or a disaster, nothing in between.
How do you think the Wicked movie is going to turn out?
I think it's going to be one of the most heavily scrutinized/adored movie musical of this century. It is hands down, the most successful and popular musical of its decade and an entire generation of fans are going to devour this. If you take the love/hate levels of Les MIserables, Chicago, Mamma Mia, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd and combine them, you're still not going to match the anticipation levels of this movie.
This year was the year of diversity on Broadway, what do you think the main story of 2016-17 will be on Broadway?
I don't think the conversation about racial diversity in shows is over. But I think one of the topics that must be discussed this coming year is ticket pricing. While Hamilton's success is wonderful, it revealed a lot of dark things regarding the business side of Broadway.
I also think that unfortunately women are being forced to take a step back next season as well. So far from what I've seen is that there isn't a single theatre group, other than the Manhattan Theatre Club, that are doing shows written/composed by women. For 2017, that's a problem.