I very seldom sit down for a full viewing of a show after it opens. Typically I’ll look in and catch most of the show but in smaller bites. There are several reasons for that.
I’m always moving on to the next show.
Audience reaction tells me more than my own.
‘Improvements’ that actors bring to a show often make fuel my love/hate relationship with actors.
I’ve got an excellent stage manager in Malia Arguello who knows what I want, often more than I do. I trust her to keep things in excellent shape and she does.
But Southern Crossroads is different. We created this piece literally on the fly to save some cash and try and keep out struggling theatre open. Because we have some interest from other theatres, I need to watch the show to see what work we still need to do to make it even better. (No show is ever perfect.)
We hoped it would appeal to audiences, and it has. In a big way. We’ve had standing ovations for every performance and the audience/actor engagement is amazing. It is what you hope happens in any show. Folks literally throw money at the stage, boo the villains, and sing along with the songs. )So, yesterday when we had some family and friends in town to see the show, I decided to watch the afternoon matinee from start to finish.
I was amazed. I found myself laughing uncontrollably and crying in the same manner at moments in the show, and I knew I what was coming. I haven’t seen the full show in over a month now, and it managed to pick me up and transport me out of my typical cynical, analytical role into a place where I was swept up in the story and the music. Southern Crossroads grabs and audience and takes them on a great ride, and it is astonishing to see how it works its magic.
The comments after a performance are so enthusiastic and warm, and the number of folks who find the immediacy of this tale of our first depression hopeful and timely really are heartfelt.
We’ve got two customers who are lobbying the new president to come to see the show through a letter writing campaign. I think he’s a little too busy to make the 70 mile trek out to Middletown to see the show, but the fact that folks are tying our story into today’s insanity and are passionate about communicating to others is really what theatre is all about.
I can’t wait to watch the show again.
If you haven’t already, come check out the show. It runs through March 14. I’d love to see you at the theatre (and if you contact me I might even arrange a discount.) If you’re on Facebook, join our fan page. I think it is going to have a long life, as is the show.
I’m sitting here in Memphis at the UPTA auditions between callbacks and was checking my email. A patron of ours emailed me after seeing out new World Premiere production of Southern Crossroads to tell me how much he enjoyed it. I emailed him back and asked if I could publish his comments and he agreed as long as I don’t use his name, so here goes.
Midway through the third day of the UPTA auditions and we’re having a tough slog through the generals. That said, those we call back are giving us some great stuff and I’m pleased with the options we have so far.
Wardrobe choices continue to haunt folks. Someone should buy them a mirror, or at least teach them how to look at one. One young man fainted onstage after completing his audition today, but he’s fine. Stress and no food sound like the contributing factors. We’re all really glad he’s OK, but I’m guessing he won’t forget this audition, and he’ll always have a moment to remember and be remembered for.
I hear from back home at Wayside Theatre, Southern Crossroads has received a standing ovation after each performance so far. We’ve been open a week, and audiences are getting into the act, tossing nickels at the stage and booing the villains. Let’s hope that continues.
We’ve started a Facebook page for the show and if you’d like to join, please do so at this link. You can read all about the show there as well. Several producers here at UPTA are very interested in the show, so I think we might be looking at a longer life.
Well, the rave reviews keep coming in. Here’s a link to one from the Warren Sentinel. I’m away at the UPTA auditions and the buzz is starting to fly around. Please help us keep it going by linking to the review on Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, or wherever. Don’t think it won’t help. It really will.
Congrats to all. It looks like we are indeed a hit. Now if we can just translate this into ticket sales, we’ll improve out odds. We’re working on a grass roots level with marketing these days, so anyone who sees this and wants to favor the review with a link, will have our undying gratitude. Of course if you’re reading this and want to come see the show, we’d love to see you at the theatre as well.
When you create a new play or musical you never know what you have until the audience shows up and tells you. Yesterday they showed up for both a preview matinee and the evening’s official opening night. And if we are to judge from just those two audiences I’d say we did our jobs and created something special.
Here we go. Today we do a matinee preview and then open Southern Crossroads tonight. We've got good houses for both shows and we're all excited, nervous, anxious, worried, and eager to get on with it. We had a small audience for the final dress last night and they uniformly loved what we have created. That was encouraging and I think it lifted all of our spirits a bit.
Today is the real test though. We've made no secret about how and why we are doing this show, everyone who pays attention in our community knows we are struggling to keep moving ahead. There is tremendous emotional support out there for the theatre, but in the end the reaction to the show will tell the story.
Are we ready? Yep. Will we succeed? I believe in my heart we will. We'll know soon enough.