Saturday, August 25, 2012

“On The Avenue I’m Taking You To . . .”

We have tickets for tonight’s performance of the musical, “42nd Street”, at Bloomington Civic Theatre.

Local reviewers praised everything about the show . . . except the book and the “acting”.

Criticizing the book of “42nd Street” is perfectly fine insofar as it goes—the book is totally cornball (yet probably intentionally so)—but the licenser of the show requires the book to be performed “as is”, and reviewers surely know this. Bloomington Civic Theatre was not free to alter the book of “42nd Street” to suit its pleasure.

Consequently, I find it odd that the local reviewers seized upon the book of an over-familiar musical, already performed countless times in the Twin Cities, and identified it as a major impediment to the show—and offered such wisdom as if they were dispensing fresh and penetrating assessments.

The staging of the musical numbers and the singing and dancing of the large cast were widely praised—but the reviewers criticized the “acting”, contending that it was not as fine as the singing and dancing and, further, bordered on the “amateur”.

I have a major news bulletin for the reviewers: Bloomington Civic Theatre’s productions ARE amateur productions. Cast members are not paid, and members of the stage crew are not paid. The only persons who are paid are the director, the choreographer, the designers, and the musicians in the pit. Everyone else associated with the show is an unpaid volunteer, working for pleasure and pure love of theater.

And I have an additional news announcement: no one goes to “42nd Street” in order to experience an illuminating reading of the text.

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