Kevin Smith, the director of the 1994 cult-hit Clerks as well as several follow-up films such as Mall Rats, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and Chasing Amy (as well as playing Silent Bob in many of those same films) has made a new movie. Titled Red State, this horror/thriller is about a group of sex-crazed teens who encounter a gay-hating minister and his group of fundamentalists with a sinister agenda.
While this genre is a bit of a departure from Smith’s prior efforts, his method of marketing and distribution for the film harkens back to his Clerks days when he sold his comic book collection and maxed out credit cards in order to achieve independent film maker status. This time around, he is completely bypassing the Hollywood machine – instead choosing to use his fan base through social media to release the film, as well as a fifteen-city screening tour that will make a stop at Kuss Auditorium at the Clark State Performing Arts Center on March 14th.
Smith plans to work directly with movie theater owners in order to get the movie on screen by the targeted October 19, 2011 date, a plan he unveiled at the film’s Sundance Film Festival premiere this past Sunday where he had originally indicated he’d be auctioning the film to a distributor live on the stage. Instead, he “bought” the film himself for $20 and gave the proverbial middle finger to Hollywood. As an added twist, the film is supposedly based on the Christian fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for picketing soldiers’ funerals with “God Hates Fags” signs. That group predictably protested the premiere and will likely be in Springfield in March for the screening.
Tickets to the local screening go on sale for $67 this Friday at 10am in person at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, with online tickets available that same day at noon.
Generation Dayton is offering a Speaker Series for 2011 that will be a great opportunity for young professionals to “network-up.” These events will bring young professionals and local business leaders together, offering frequent high-level professional development and mentoring opportunities.
“The 2011 Speaker Series will provide a unique opportunity for young professionals to meet, network with, and learn from top-level businesses and community leaders who have a desire and passion to share their expertise with tomorrow’s leaders,” says Generation Dayton Chair, Jennifer Rettig.
The list of speakers includes Phil Parker, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commissioner, Neil Arthur, Publisher of the Dayton Business Journal, Peggy Lehner, Ohio Senator for the 6th District, and many more. Sample topics include the Economic State of the Dayton Region and Climbing the News Ladder in the Digital Age.
The first lunch will be held on January 28th at the Crowne Plaza. Former Governor Taft will be speaking on the topic of Education and Innovation.
Visit www.generationdayton.org for details about the event and organization, or visit Generation Dayton on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GenDayton. For a list of upcoming speakers and topics lined up, please see below:
|Fourth Friday Lunch||January 28, 2011||Stars Lounge, Crowne Plaza||Former Governor Taft||Education and Innovation|
|Business & Breakfast||February 15, 2011||Racquet Club||Phil Parker, President and CEO of Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce||Generation Dayton’s Role in the Overall Mission of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce|
|Fourth Friday Lunch||February 25, 2011||Dayton Art Institute||Ginny Strausburg, Director, DP&L Foundation||Choosing Board Positions Wisely: Questions Young Professionals Should Ask|
|Business & Breakfast||March 15, 2011||Cracker Barrel, Miller Lane||Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commissioner||Montgomery County Economic Update|
|Fourth Friday Lunch||March 25, 2011||Schuster Center Donor Lounge||Ken Neufeld, President and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association||Get Excited About the Arts in Dayton|
|Business & Breakfast||April 19, 2011||Mimi’s||Neil Arthur, Publisher of the Dayton Business Journal||Climbing the News Ladder in the Digital Age|
|Fourth Friday Lunch||April 29, 2011||Norton’s||Peggy Lehner, Ohio Senator for the 6th District||Update on Ohio’s State Budget|
|Business & Breakfast||May 17, 2011||First Watch, Kettering||Dr. Steven Johnson, President of Sinclair Community College||TBA|
|Fourth Friday Lunch||May 27, 2011||Racquet Club||Jim Leftwich, CEO and President of Dayton Development Coalition||Economic State of the Dayton Region|
|Business & Breakfast||June 21, 2011||Courtyard by Marriott, University of Dayton||Allen Elijah, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area||The Aladdin Factor- One of the Greatest Lessons You’ll Ever Learn|
|Fourth Friday Lunch||June 24, 2011||Amber Rose||Dr. Roy Chew, President of Kettering Medical Center||Healthcare Reform and It’s Impact on You|
RSVP’s are required for attendance. Please RSVP to [email protected]
Generation Dayton, established in 2006, is the place for the diverse pool of talented young professionals who live and work in the Dayton region to meet, network, learn, grow and establish themselves as integral components in the future success of the Dayton region.
True Grit – Christmas, 2010
Rave Motion Pictures
I love Coen brothers movies. Everything they do is entertaining. So, when I see one of their movies and don’t instantly recognize it as terrific, I tend to be disappointed. That’s not to say that their True Grit remake wasn’t good. It was. It’s just that it wasn’t the funniest movie I’ve ever seen, as was The Big Lebowski, wasn’t Fargo perfect, and didn’t leave me fearing an indifferent Universe, Like The Man Who Wasn’t There did.
While I did enjoy True Grit, that feeling of, “I’m all in. I need to find out what happens to the hero,” that typically accompanies a Coen brothers movie was absent. I just wasn’t fully invested in the story. While the circumstances of the characters may have been somewhat uncompelling, the characters themselves were great. Jeff Bridges as tough, drunk U.S. Marshal and remorseless killer, Rooster Cogburn, is fun to root for. Matt Damon unsurprisingly plays likably arrogant well as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, and the two butt heads throughout their time together as legal authorities with opposing outlooks on the law likely would. Relative unknown Hailee Steinfeld does well to be noticeable on screen alongside movie stars as Mattie Ross, a teenage girl who elicits the help of Rooster to capture her father’s murderer, Tom Chaney. True grit is carried by the performances of these three and the combative, comedic interactions between them. Those looking for a dark, suspenseful take on a timid classic will be surprised to find that True Grit is more of a comedy than anything else.
Smallish yet quality roles by Josh Brolin (Milk, The Goonies), playing Chaney and Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, 61*) as Lucky Ned Pepper, the leader of a group of outlaws with which Chaney has found refuge, give the story energy. Ned Pepper’s rough appearance and demeanor has no doubt convinced Dayton audiences that he’d have no problem fitting in at a local establishment of the same name. Seeing these famous faces get relatively little screen time served as a reminder of the pull of the Coen brothers. I watched the 1969 original for the first time after I saw the remake, and was pleased to see that the original was similarly cast, with Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper making big impacts despite brief appearances.
Surely, had this movie been made by unknown filmmakers and had I left my unfairly high expectations of the Coen brothers at the door, I’d be speaking about True Grit in more glowing terms. As it stands, I can say that True Grit at least kept my attention and that I’ll carry the same unfairly high expectations with me into the next Coen brothers movie I see.
High intensity, bar-to-bar dirt-bike racing at its finest is coming to Dayton as the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series brings some heat during the Winter season with its annual visit to the Ervin J. Nutter Center on Saturday, January 22. Tickets for Round 3 of the world’s most intimate form of racing are on sale now at TicketMaster.com and the Nutter Center box office. (special DaytonMostMetro.com ticket promotion info at the end of this article)
Hundreds of the best Arenacross riders from around the globe will compete for their chance to be one of just 32 riders to make a pair of 16-rider main events in the AMA Arenacross and AMA Arenacross Lites classes. The national series travels throughout the country to several of the most renowned arenas in the United States, bringing in 150 truckloads of dirt to sculpt a man made dirt battleground. Technical obstacles, close competition and impressive airtime combine to create one of the most unique spectacles in the sporting world.
Anything can and does happen in Arenacross and the man left standing atop the podium at the end of the night with the coveted trophy will have earned his prize. The defending champion Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLube Kawasaki team and riders Chad Johnson, Tyler Bowers and Gray Davenport lead a highly-talented group of riders hungry to claim the prestigious national AMA Arenacross Series title.
Last season in Dayton, 2008 AMA Arenacross Series champion Chad Johnson captured his second win of the season for Babbitt’s Kawasaki. The win helped the two-time series champion stay within striking distance of his teammate and eventual champion Josh Demuth as the battle for the championship came down to the wire.
The AMA Arenacross Series is fun for the whole family! The always popular track walk and post-race autograph session gives an opportunity for fans of all ages to get up close and personal with the stars of Arenacross and get the a coveted autograph from some of the best riders in the world.
A limited number of Gold Circle seating is available. Kid’s seats are just $8 (excluding Gold Circle)! Adults admission starts at just $20! Tickets are available at the Nutter Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Tickets for all rounds of the 2011 season can be purchased by clicking here. And for a DaytonMostMetro.com $4 discount, enter the promo code MMETRO. (Restrictions: Not valid on Gold Circle seats; limit 4 per transaction; valid on the Sat, JAN.22, 7:30pm performance only)
WIN FREE TICKETS HERE ON DAYTONMOSTMETRO.COM!
For a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series at the Nutter Center, simply click the Facebook Like button to share this article with your FB friends, fill out the form below and leave a comment. We’ll announce 10 winners this coming weekend.
Note – we will not share this info nor make it public. We need your address so we can mail you tickets if you win, and you wont’ receive anything else from us – because hey, postage is expensive these days and we’d rather you just join our FB page![contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
The following was submitted by Juliette Rocheleau of the updayton Entrepreneurship Team, and is their first of several future feature articles about Dayton-area entrepreneurs.
Co-owner of the Dayton Weekly News, Donerik Black knows that being an entrepreneur is no easy task. The Dayton Weekly News celebrated its seventeenth year in circulation this November, with Black juggling the duties of project manager salesman, designer and more. While the different tasks of entrepreneurship can be demanding, Black admitted in most other professions he would, “be bored to death.”
A native of the Dayton Region, Black chose to stay in the area after he finished college. Post-graduation Black realized, “Unless I won the lottery, I was going to work for somebody. What better person to work for than my dad?” Black and his business partner father, Don Black, first owned and operated a public relations and consulting business. Additionally, both knew the Dayton area well, having been born and raised in and around the city.
In the early nineties, the perception of Dayton was extremely negative. Despite its reputation, Black knew there was a better story to tell. “We felt that there was a need for Dayton’s urban community to have a voice,” said Black. He and his father set out to create a newspaper. Originally they used a publisher in the Columbus area. Due to simple geographical complications, the paper was labeled as “a Columbus paper with a Dayton masthead.” Consequently, the two businessmen severed ties with the Columbus branch. From there the Dayton Weekly News was born.
“…even if we have to give them away, we still want people to see the paper.”
The early days were tough. However, thanks to their public relations and consulting business, the Blacks had already created many good relationships with social organizations and churches in the area. Using, “guerilla marketing,” as Black puts it, the business, “hired young kids to go door to door and [gave] away a lot of complimentary copies of the paper.” The Blacks followed up each give-away with another paper, turning recipients into potential readers.
After years of successful business, the Blacks are still trying new and inventive ways to raise awareness of the Dayton Weekly News. Black explained, “We’ll have subscription drives. We’ve even had young kids who have used it as fundraising projects—even if we have to give them away, we still want people to see the paper.”
Black serves on the board of the United Health Solutions, an organization focused on enriching the lives of those who are less fortunate in the Dayton community. The cause is important to Black, explaining, “They’re a great organization. And, we try to get as involved with them as possible.” Black also encourages the Dayton Weekly News to get involved with the American Heart Association. For Black, the organization hits close to home. A heart patient himself, he advocates the importance of health.
Each year in April, which is Minority Health Month, the Dayton Weekly News covers important medical details. “Minority Health Month is something that we’ve really tried to put our hands around. We let our readership know what’s going on within the community so they can get tested for ailments that really plague African Americans, like diabetes and high blood pressure, that are preventable and controllable.” Black added, “We really like to get involved with those organizations that are putting out information that help our readers make healthier choices.”
As an entrepreneur, Black admitted it would be easier to calculate how many hours a week he doesn’t work. “When I’m sleeping, I’m typically not working,” he said, “From the entrepreneurial standpoint, you’re always working.” Long hours aren’t the only necessity for starting and owning your own business. According to Black, “Everybody’s a salesman. Everybody sells something to someone everyday. Period. Pointblank.” Black believes the need to sell drives all jobs. “If you don’t like selling,” he said, “you’re going to have a hard time doing anything.” Passion for what you do should fuel your desire to sell. Black knows, “You need to love what you do.”
“For lack of a better term, I enjoy the ‘smallness’ of Dayton”
He also emphasized both the need to “be a people person” and “be ready to close when you get the opportunity.” Black explained, the “kiss of death” for small business owners is when an opportunity is lost and the potential client moves on to the next company. “A lot of times as a small business person, you many only get one shot to make a good impression.” He continued, “When you get an opportunity, you have to seize it by any means necessary.”
As a resident and business owner in the Dayton area, Black most appreciates the city’s size. “For lack of a better term, I enjoy the ‘smallness’ of Dayton, “ describing Dayton as an accessible city and a “ninety-minute market.” Black likes that Dayton’s not far from larger cities such as Chicago and Atlanta, both a few hours away via car or plane. As for the city itself, Black said, “From a business perspective it’s a good place to work, because if you have innovative ideas, you can really cut your teeth in a town like Dayton.” The key to Dayton, or to any big city, is to be aggressive.
Black admits that Dayton has the tendency to slip into complacency. However, he does not consider it to be negative. “If everyone’s going to sleep,” said Black, “I’m just going to tiptoe right through it—chomp it all up.” Dayton is a “reactionary city,” with events happening in and around Dayton. “Policy is passed, things are done, and we have to take control of it,” he said. Black added, “As a whole, the smallness could be Dayton’s best attribute and its worst.” And yet, there are many opportunities. “Dayton would be a wonderful place to come and test the waters,” said Black, “I hope more people look at it as a hub for technology.”
The Dayton Weekly News is looking to expand digitally and offer a version of the paper online. Currently the website is geared toward advertising. “Baby steps” is Black’s answer to expanding. The team is working to both offer the paper online and maintain subscription numbers. Black isn’t too concerned about adding a digital version of the paper. With a loyal readership, Black trusts the Dayton citizens. “We’re going to get that support,” he explained. “The larger number of supporters will subscribe because they want to see this paper survive.” Black thinks in the end, “People will always want that hard copy.”
The Dayton Weekly News is working hard to bring the people of Dayton an efficient, cost-effective, timely newspaper. “That’s always my mission,” Black proudly declared. “Every week I enjoy opening it up, looking through it, and selling that paper.”
Although I’m a knowledgeable sports fan, I entered the Dayton Mall theatre knowing little to nothing about the life of working class boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his half brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). I assumed, though, that as a boxing movie, “The Fighter” was most likely about a lovable, down and out boxer who improbably seized a fluke opportunity to realize his dream of becoming world champ. The fact that this assumption turned out to be accurate did not make “The Fighter” any less enjoyable.
I’d imagine that this was a passable plot line in the eyes of Paramount execs despite the predictability and commonality of it (“Rocky,” “Cinderella Man,” “Million Dollar Baby”) because, you know, it actually happened and it’s a good story. What stands out about “The Fighter” in comparison to other boxing movies are the authenticity of the fight scenes and Micky’s comically destructive family, who, despite their good intentions, almost seem to be actively trying to keep him from any sort of success. At the forefront is Dicky, a former promising boxer turned crack addict who unsurprisingly can’t figure out how to balance crack addiction and helping Micky realize his own unfulfilled dreams. Christian Bale absolutely kills it as Dicky Eklund; shedding his celebrity in a scene-stealing supportive role.
Had I not seen Wahlberg explain the process of shooting the fight scenes while being interviewed on Conan, “We beat the crap out of each other,” I wouldn’t have known how they captured such realistic landed punches. I watched clips of a number of Micky Ward’s actual fights and was not surprised to see that the fight scenes from “The Fighter” looked like shot for shot remakes of the real thing. Wahlberg completely avoids the clumsy actor portraying a fluid athlete problem that is often a distraction in sports movies. DiCaprio in “Basketball Diaries” and Tom Berenger in “Major League” come to mind.
In most boxing movies I’ve seen, I find myself impatiently waiting for the next fight scene. In “The Fighter” the fight scenes are exciting, impeccably done and there are actually relatively few of them, but the excitement and anticipation of the fights does not overshadow the surrounding story. The absurdity of Micky’s family – from Dicky’s antics, to their overprotective, maniacally controlling mother (Melissa Leo),
to his seven sisters blindly serving the will of their mom – speak to the unlikeliness of Micky’s success in the ring and encourage the audience to be personally invested in the outcome of the fights.
As much as I enjoyed “The Fighter,” I was disappointed by the ending. The obligatory biographical movie ending – white text on black background explaining Micky’s life after movie – was fine with me, but seeing merely in text that he went on to have his most memorable, brutal fights against all time great Arturo Gatti left me thinking, “Really? What the hell? Show me THAT!” Fortunately, the fight scenes and the acting performances, especially Bale’s, more than make up for the feelings of unfulfillment the ending leaves with the audience and make “The Fighter” well worth a watch.
(Submitted by Samantha Enslen)
Waited till the last minute to get your holiday shopping done? There’s still time to get some great gifts. Best of all, you can get one-of-a-kind items made right here in Dayton, many created by local artists and designers.
Ready to shop?
Real Art. Designers designing? Who would’ve thunk it? But these designs are different—they’re things you can pick up, put on, write in, put stuff in. All knitted, sewn, photographed, or constructed by the talented folks at Real Art, one of Dayton’s premier design studios.
A Modern Eden. Creations for kids that are adorable—without being sappy? Yes, they exist. And at A Modern Eden, they exist in the form of iPhone apps, flashcards, posters, and tote bags. Created by the designers at Forge, one of Dayton’s newest marketing firms.
Four Ambition. “No art, no heart?” That’s the way we see it. Show everyone what you believe by wearing a Four Ambition t-shirt. Are you “Uncaged?” They got that. A “Gypsy?” Got that too. All designed by the three brains behind Four Ambition, a Dayton-based screen-printing shop.
Society Bodycare. Stephen Rumbaugh, a former instructor at Dayton’s School for Advertising Art, formulates and creates unique organic soaps, with packaging that could only come from a great designer. With soaps like The Art School Bar, the Yellow Springs Bar, and the Black Forest Bar, how can you go wrong?
Oregon District Galleries. Take a walk along Fifth and Brown Streets and pick up one-of-a-kind pieces
PNC 2nd Street Market. Stop by Dayton’s best farmer’s market Thursday through Saturday and pick up gifts from local growers,
bakers, chefs, and crafters. The Market will be open a special day — Wednesday, Dec. 22 — for last-minute purchases.
Go Home. Yes, it’s a home store, but this ain’t no Pottery Barn. Alongside beautiful modern furniture, you’ll find pieces by Dayton sculptors, glassworkers, and photographers like Mike Elsass, Jim DeLange, Penny Stewart, and Steven Lee Johnson. Plus, during the holiday season, Go Home carries a variety of Real Mart items.
So what are you waiting for? Start shopping … and remember … shop local, shop creatively!
Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial and bought all her Christmas presents at Dayton and Tipp City shops. Except for the Twister game she got at Target. This article was originally published by the Dayton Creative Syndicate.
Filmmaker Andy Copp’s latest film festival is an all night endurance test of truly bad cinema called “Pay To Get Out Alive”.
This first-time event is unlike anything experienced in Dayton, so I’ll let Andy explain the concept:
“Here is how it works. $15 bucks to get in at 9:30 pm and it goes for 12 hours – all night long. The most mind punishing cinematic trash I could lay hands on. After the first two hours you start to earn money back towards getting back out the door. Each hour you stay after those first two you get $1 back. So if you stay the whole duration the whole event only costs you $5!!!
But can you stand it is the question? The films include:
Black Devil Doll From Hell (1986) – Considered by most to be the WORST movie ever made. Worse than TROLL 2, worse than any Ed Wood movie. You do not know bad until you have seen this.
THE GEEK (1971) You ever wonder if Bigfoot has sex? Well this movie answers that question as well as shows lots of scenic footage of the Oregon countryside.
ROAD OF DEATH (1971) – Insane biker trash starring BOTH of Thora Birtch’s adult film star parents! Directed by the immensely untalented master behind the anti-classic THE GUY FROM HARLEM!
RUBBER’S LOVER (1996) A genuinely good film in the Japanese cyberpunk tradition full of exploding bodies, arterial spray, excessive medical experimentation, unhealthy sexual desires, and the entire cast screaming for 90 minutes.
APHRODISIAC: THE SEXUAL SECRETS OF MARIJUANA (1970) – Truly inspired and brain damaged “educational” film film about how pot increases your sexual abilities and can save the world.
There will also be lots of other films, surprise shorts, trailers and other bits and pieces to fill out the festival.
There will be contests and prizes and a most outrageous costume event.”
For additional info visit the “Pay To Get Out Alive” facebook page.
Kander & Ebb’s Final Masterpiece
By most standards, Broadway is enjoying a banner year. Last year’s huge musical hits – Next to Normal, Memphis, Promises, Promises, Rock of Ages and Green Day’s American Idiot are still running to great houses. Many of these shows are heading out on the road if not already. Current news in New York has the $65 Million gamble – Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (directed by Julie “Lion King” Taymor with music by U2’s Bone and The Edge) generating huge buzz and new film-turned-musicals Catch Me If You Can, Sister Act, and Leap Of Faith all announcing spring openings. Even in the world of non-musical fare, the hits keep on coming – Free Man Of Color, Driving Miss Daisy, War Horse, Time Stands Still, Lombardi, and a star-studded The Merchant of Venice.
“Slowly but surely, Dayton seems ready to embrace NEW ORIGINAL work, but is it enough?”
Here in Dayton this season, we’ll see the arrival of Avenue Q (after a much lauded tour of Spring Awakening just passed through) as well as NEW emerging musicals and plays in development from Dayton Playhouse, The Human Race Theatre Company, Encore Theater Company and others. Slowly but surely, Dayton seems ready to embrace NEW ORIGINAL work, but is it enough?
Amid all of New York openings is a terrifying reality as well. Two of the most critically acclaimed and game-changing ORIGINAL musicals have opened and posted closing notices despite being considered by many as changing the course of American Theatre. The emo-punk musical history lesson – Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Scottsboro Boys – the final work from the legendary creative team of John Kander & Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret, etc.)
Directed by 5-time Tony® Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers), this daring and wildly entertaining musical explores a fascinating chapter in American history with arresting originality. The show is based on the notorious “Scottsboro” case in the 1930s, in which 9 African-American men were unjustly accused of a terrible crime. Their shocking and inspiring story – told though a mix of innovative staging and piercing new songs – demands to be shared. And yet, after December 12 – it will be gone.
Christopher Dimond – a New York-based musical theatre composer and good friend of Encore Theater Company – recently discussed his sadness – not only about the closing of this definitive show – but what it says about audiences willing to take risks on something ‘new’ instead of always falling back on the tried and true. We here at onStageDayton felt it was well worth re-printing here.
How I Failed the Scottsboro Boys
It’s easy to gripe about the state of Broadway these days. Trust me, I do it a lot. Original musicals are a rarity. Juke Box shows and movie adaptations dominate the Great White Way, cotton candy and bubble gum pop for the tourist crowd. Fluff trumps substance.
Who’s to blame for this? My personal favorite scapegoats are producers. “If only producers had some balls,” I whine after watching an MTV telecast of a musical about a girl who goes to law school to impress her boyfriend, “Then we’d actually see the high-quality, in-your-face, change-your-life kind of musicals that we should be seeing.”
“It’s an absolute crime, a soul-crushing travesty, that this show is closing, while elsewhere lighthearted Abba tunes will be sung in seeming perpetuity.”
So, who’s to blame when producers with balls take a risk on something daring, audacious, and effing beautiful and it still “fails” on Broadway?
The short answer: me.
The Scottsboro Boys is a triumph of modern musical theater. It’s brilliant, it’s bold, it’s provocative, it’s moving, it’s surprising, it’s a whole bunch of adjectives that collectively still do not do it justice. And most of all, it’s a story that needs to be told, told in an incredibly powerful manner. It’s the best musical I’ve seen in years. In no way, NO WAY, can this show be described as a failure.
The cast, Kander and Ebb’s score, David Thompson’s book, Susan Stroman’s direction/choreography, the design… it’s not perfect, but it’s about as close to perfect a production as you’ll find on Broadway today.
And yet, producers announced this week that the show will close December 12th, after 49 performances and 29 previews.
Does that make the production a “failure”? Does it mean that we need some alternate model for producing smaller, edgier musicals than the Broadway one? Those are conversations I’ll save for another time.
The simple fact of the matter is this: People are going to lose money producing a brilliant piece of theater. And, more devastatingly, A LOT of people are going to miss out on the chance to see The Scottsboro Boys. It’s an absolute crime, a soul-crushing travesty, that this show is closing, while elsewhere lighthearted Abba tunes will be sung in seeming perpetuity.
Yes, the show had a healthy run at the Vineyard, and no, the point of creating art should not be to turn a profit. You can even make the argument that it was a mistake to try to transfer such a risky show. But I’m not buying it. This show deserves to be seen, and it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. Broadway gives it the best chance to do that.
I refuse to believe, POSITIVELY WILL NOT ACCEPT the idea that there are not enough people out there who want to be moved, to be challenged, to be changed by a musical in order to keep this show running.
It’s going to be easy to blame the marketing of the show, or the subject matter, claiming that it’s just too tough of a sell for Broadway. Bullshit. Here’s all the marketing a show like this should need: “It’s fucking amazing. Go see it. Now.”
Years down the road, pundits will shake their heads and say, “The show simply didn’t find its audience.” I’ll argue differently. The audience simply didn’t find its show.
If we are going to complain about the state of Broadway, then we, as an audience, AS A THEATER COMMUNITY, have a responsibility to actively seek out productions that are extraordinary, to support them by paying for tickets, and to promote the hell out of them through word of mouth, social media, blackmail, whatever’s necessary to advance the cause of innovative, exceptional theater.
I didn’t do that with The Scottsboro Boys. I waited until the closing notice had been posted to buy my ticket. I should have rushed out immediately. I should have been the first in line. I should have shouted from the rooftops.
I didn’t do that.
And, apparently, I wasn’t the only one.