Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two Months

I'll keep this short and simple.

Åbo Svenska Teater's production of Jesus Christ Superstar...
  1. is one of the top three best musicals I've ever seen
  2. is loved by critics and bloggers and audiences alike
  3. had sold over 10 000 tickets two weeks after the premiere already
  4. is closing in April, after a run of only two and a half months???
I would shrug the Facebook post off as a cheap advertising trick (let's make the audience think the show is closing so they'll panic and buy a lot of tickets!) if I hadn't also heard the news in person from two different members of the theatre's box office personnel. Since they're all saying the same... It's starting to sound way too real.

For the life of me, I cannot understand what has motivated the theatre to make a decision such as this.

A musical that has been flashily advertised since the summer of 2013, a musical that's been called the theatre's 175th anniversary production and the big investment of the anniversary year... This is a fine anniversary if I've ever heard of one. Party hard for a whopping 20% of the anniversary year!!

Åbo Svenska Teater is known for their musicals – and said musicals have previously had rather reasonable runs. Evita (170th anniversary musical) ran from fall 2008 to spring 2009. Les Misérables was first scheduled to run from fall 2010 to spring 2011 but was extended all the way to winter 2012. Even Hair, with an ensemble that mostly consisted of theatre students, ran for about five months in fall 2012 and spring 2013. How does a run of two and a half months fit into this pattern? It doesn't.

What on earth went wrong? Was the budget completely messed up in the first place? Did some internal trouble within the theatre get ridiculously out of hand? I have no idea – but to be honest, it doesn't matter to me what the reason is, I'm still mad. From an audience member's perspective, this makes zero sense and seems both embarrassing and infuriating. You'd think that whatever the case, having a musical production running would beat not having a musical in the repertoire. Little do I understand, apparently.

I'm deeply upset. As said, ÅST's JCS is one of the best musicals I've ever seen. Of course I would've wanted to enjoy it for the full year! As anyone who reads my blog knows, I'm not one to see musicals only once. I would've wanted to see it again and again, watch the production develop and grow. Moreover, I'm also annoyed and upset for my friends' sake. Ever since the theatre started dropping hints that the production is closing, I've heard lots of fellow theatre fans lament they haven't the time to see the production in the spring. Silly us, counting on the show continuing in the fall!

I hope, with all my energy, that this turns out to be something of a bad joke and a fall season will still be announced – but that doesn't seem like a particularily realistic wish. At the moment, it looks like the theatre management has made up their minds to shut down one of the best musicals this country has ever seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment