Sunday, 18 April 2010

Don't feed the fangirls!

The title could be offensive to certain people, and I apologise for that. I just thought it was clever, because my Mum went to see Wicked for the second time yesterday and Wicked is infamous for its fan girls. It's also a parody (if that's the right word) of the song "Don't feed the plants" from Little Shop of Horrors, which also has a cult following.

I guess this post is really about seeing shows repeatedly. This is something that I've never really done. I've seen We Will Rock You twice, the second time being for a friend's birthday, and also Beauty and the Beast, the second time being for a school trip, but other than that I have only seen each show once. I know several people who see certain shows again and again until they are well into double figures. I can understand this to an extent, even though I've never done it myself.

No two performances are ever the same. This is a fact. Performers may hit different notes, perform better on some days, and of course accidents do happen. Then there are special performances such as cast changes, the chance to say goodbye to perfomers that one paticularly admires.

Then there are the performers themselves. I have several performers which I love and admire, Kerry Ellis, Ruthie Henshall and Katie Rowley-Jones to name but a few. I think I am different from most performer fans in that I'll see them once in a paticular show and treasure that memory, whereas others will keep on going back to relive the moment.

Understudies. I have a friend who repeatedly sees Avenue Q, finding out the days when certain actors will be off and their role played by their understudy, presumably to compare the two and again, to see a different performance or interpretation of the role.

I suppose there is also the love of the show itself. This seems paticularly true of classics such as Les Misérables.

So why have I never seen a show more than once, aside from the two exceptions mentioned above?

I suppose the main reason for this is my age. Not only am I not yet able to travel to London alone, which would allow me to go for dayseats and visit Tkts to obtain cheaper revisits, and also not to have to make someone else come and see the show again, but I have only really been a real theatregoer for just over a year. In this time I have managed to see quite an impressive amount of shows, but there is still so much that I haven't seen that I would rather see different things than go and see the same thing again. With age, the time will come when I do go and see things again, but for now I would rather go and see new things.

I've seen 25 different musicals on the stage. Just scrolling through the list, I thought it would be interesting to list the ones that I would see again, and why:

This was my introduction to Bob Fosse, and really what made me first start thinking about a career in the theatre. I would definitely see this again because there are so many different ways that the lead characters could be interpreted/played, and I just love the music. As a matter of fact, I'm listening to it now. Ruthie Henshall is currently playing Roxie Hart in London, and I had to fight the urge inside myself to go again just to see her. It's just over thirteen months since I first saw the show, and although I would dearly have loved to see Ruthie, I am almost certain that I'll have another opportunity to see her on stage one day. I will definitely go and see Chicago again before the London production closes, though.

Sunset Boulevard
I was moved through an emotional whirlwind by last year's revival, directed by Craig Revel-Horwood. I have never liked an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical as much as this, I usually listen once then get bored, but with Sunset I always go back for more. The character of Norma Desmond still fascinates me, and it was the first time that I'd seen an actor-musician show. I would definitely see Sunset again, and am looking forward to the almost inevitable revival, probably in ten years time, whether it is an actor-musician show or not.

Avenue Q
I am addicted to the cast recording, and almost know it off by heart. It resonates with me so powerfully, and made me a fan of Julie Atherton. It was so original, offbeat and humourous. I would definitely go, considering the show has now moved for the second time, to the Wyndham's, so it would not only be a different cast, but also a different theatre.

Les Misérables
I think in five years time, if the show is still running, which it most probably will be, I would go and see this again. Even though the musical is nearly perfect, I didn't love it as much as I've loved other things, but it still amazed me, and I think when I've nearly forgotten the staging, I would probably go and see this again. I also now look on it differently, having read the novel.

The amateur production we saw was quite possibly the best amateur production of anything that I've ever seen. If there was a production of this within 100 miles of my home, I would be there immediately. The story is just wonderful, and I find the ending so uplifting. I can't stop myself from listening to the cast recording, reading the script and living the lives of the bohemians.

Annie Get Your Gun
The Young Vic production was a great update to the classic musical. I'd really like to see a different interpretation, perhaps more intune with the original production. I also love Irving Berlin's score.

Blood Brothers
For the same reasons as Les Miz, except for the bit about the novel. I would also be interested in seeing a different actress play Mrs. Johnston. I'm also curious as to whether I would have less of an emotional reaction the second time around. Either way, the show is marvellous and different to almost every other musical I can think of.

I would also go and see (in the future) different revivals of Sweet Charity and La Cage aux Folles, though I think it would be difficult to top the Menier productions.

Other than that, I don't think I would go and see any other shows I have seen for a second time, with the possible exception of a performer I really like being cast. This, for me, reflects the nature of theatre - the creation of a special moment for the audience, which is different each night.

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