Friday, June 23, 2017

Orange Julius Caesar

The base ‘Orange’ Julius Caesar shit is annoying the hell out of me. Thankfully, it is closed and as a New Yorker, I hadn’t heard a peep about it till the controversy started in its final week. God, the Public does scandal/promotion as subtly as Madonna. In the end, the production is just what the ignorant rednecks who want to kill the NEA needed - more ammunition. People don’t read vital material; do you really think they are going to read what the Public hoped the audience would walk away with after seeing the production? The Public gets $100,000 a yr from the NEA. That’s probably nothing to them, but it could mean survival for literally dozens of other companies. As far as the 'fall out' from the private sponsors, ALL of their grants say you can't pull that kind of political stuff in their grant applications. They Public knew what they were doing, but now they can play victim and garner more money via their online fundraisers for their free plays. I know, we all need to get attention, but you’d think they would be above pandering. They have plenty of money. They have critics that will kiss their ass no matter what they produce. I believe theatre should push boundaries and occasionally upset people, but this example was as basic and on the level of Trump himself. “Lame.” Yet, volunteer based and professional theatres from Maine to Texas to California are receiving death threats over this unrelated mildly imaginative staging. Our actions have consequences. Trust me, I’ve faced my share but I’ve never done anything that I knew might harm others. Fuckers.
Years ago, with the bazillions being spent on Spider-man the Musical, I was afraid that show was the end of Broadway. If it were a smash, I expected all shows to need 5 billion dollars to get mounted (instead of the current 1 billion). As I’ve learned in so many ways in life, the ‘spider’ sneaks in where you’re not looking – in this case, another Public Theatre Trojan horse. That show which will stay unnamed can charge $900 a ticket and claim to bring diversity to Broadway, yet I’ve stood outside the theatre on several occasions, and from my experience, I would bet it has the richest, whitest, oldest audience of any show. There is NOTHING wrong with that, but don’t spin it, as a not-for-profit, to be anything other than it is.
Half of the theatrical performance shouldn’t be in the marketing, but that seems to be the trend.