Patrick will be starring in the Last Cyclist at the West End Theater this May - June. Click here for info

Friday, October 8, 2010

Downtown Independent Theater Woes

What is going on with auditions and shows!!

There is a scary trend I'm seeing lately in Downtown NY Theater. It's something that has been building over the past few years. The Independent theater scene in New York is a place where we can go for new works. Edgy pieces that no Broadway producer in their right mind would ever pay for. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss, but we still go and give these new ideas a chance.

So why why why why why are companies reviving past shows? Broadway does it. I get that. A revival of some past classic. Carrie is coming back soon. And every year there are numerous rumors of other works. Some of these revivals work like La Cage, some like Guys and Dolls just fade away. But thats the place for revivals. Revivals are part of Broadway. A way to showcase past successes or reimagine them for a new audience and generation.

But why I ask to no one in particular, is the hub of creative edgy theater reviving past works? I've seen shows that have been done 3 times prior being brought back again! And it's not that they're 20 years old. No no no, they've been done 3 times within the past 5-10 years. Why?

I can see a show being fun to do, but if it didn't work the second or third time, It's not going to work now. I don't care who you get to do it. Maybe these companies don't realize we're as smart as we are? everything. (google if you're reading this, do i get a kickback for mentioning you?) I search information about companies and shows all the time. I get so annoyed when I see another small independent company is bringing back their big hit from way back when.

Or I walk into an audition the other day and the first thing I'm told is that the show was "amazing 4 years ago when it was done originally, so we figure lets do it again." Which was followed by, "we're going to build off the buzz from the last version 5 years ago."

Really? 5 year old buzz? There is no such thing.

What artistic value does that have? What about new pieces of theater? New stories? New twists? Ok ok, if it's a new twist or an updated version, I see some merit. There are show's I've seen that I would love to be a part of. Hell, I'd love to see them again because I enjoyed them so much. For example, as much fun as Penny Dreadful was, Season 10 would make me want to claw my eyes out I'm sure. (Again, a show that was so entertaining to do. I learned a lot from it as well.) If the creators behind it had a V2.0 they were going to attempt I'd be on board only if it was not a copy of the previous incarnation.

I've been a part of "revivals" where the director read blocking notes off of old faded pads of paper from past productions. Or worse yet, we watched the old version on video and were told "do that." There is no art in copying. Unless you're a monk in the pre-Gutenberg days. I mean that was some impressive stuff there.

This is my rant. If you can give me a viable reason for bringing back old shows from a mediocre company's past please tell me. But to me the beautiful thing about NY theater is that there is so much new and amazingly courageous work being done. I Just get so annoyed combing through auditions and seeing so many old shows coming back. Who is going to see this show again?

Come on Backstage, don't let me down.

And now going over lines for the radio show I've been cast in. It's going to be a good weekend of words words words..At least thats something new and original. And should also be fun!

I hope I don't come off as an elitist about shows. I love performing. I just don't like doing someone else's work.