I was most interested to see the number from Spamalot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Tony’s last night. Last year I was really taken by Avenue Q, got the soundtrack and loved it even more. The stupid thing is that I was in New York in Jan 2004 and could have seen Avenue Q and didn’t!
There really isn’t anything quite like Broadway. I lucked out and got 10th row centre seats for Little Shop of Horrors. The singing was so good it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. At the end of the play, the head of the monster plant moved forward, left the set (left the set!) and came out over the audience at least five rows. A pretty amazing experience.
At this point of my writing life, I’m pretty sure that I will never have a play on Broadway. And that’s fine. Because the fantasy of being on Broadway is a far cry from the reality. Even the simplest of plays cost millions of dollars. There’s no taking chances. Straight plays do not last the way that the musicals do. Would I like to be on Broadway? Of course! Do I need to be on Broadway or want it? Not really. What I want is to make a living as a playwright. And I do.
So I was really disappointed in the Spamalot number. It didn’t grab me at all. I was expecting it to be cheesy but I was expecting it to be a better kind of cheese. Spamalot has been getting rather healthy reviews so, in theory, that should translate into something. Shouldn’t it?
I laughed at the Bee number, but wasn’t sure about it either. The musical is all about a spelling bee – which if you’ve ever watched the National Scripps Spelling Bee (they were just on last week – I’ve been watching it for years. I love that they show it on a sports channel!) has a lot of “interesting” characters. The musical capitalized on this but was I laughing at them or with them? Not sure. But it’s been doing a ton of business since it’s sold out runs Off-Broadway. It’s also a guarantee that it will be performed in schools for years to come.