Corks may pop but it's just a show
Sunday 18 July 1993
No, it was Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, which went under after four weeks at the Criterion Theatre playing to 20 per cent houses and losing pounds 15,000 a week. In the helter- skelter of last week it slipped away, virtually unnoticed.
In a week of glitz we might have seen not just two hyped openings but one successfully hyped closure. After the American producers of the widely praised but poorly attended City of Angels gave the cast notice to quit, the ensuing publicity resulted in full houses. The producers are now considering a reprieve.
Questions are also being asked about whether the glitz and all its expense - pounds 100,000 for the Savoy Hotel party thrown by Andrew Lloyd Webber after Sunset Boulevard opened - actually sells a single ticket.
Innocent fans came off badly in the hype surrounding Grease. Hundreds of teenage girls came to London for a widely publicised audition for the lead role which, surprise, surprise, went to an American pop singer.
Michael White, the veteran West End producer of musicals such as A Chorus Line, Annie, and the current hit Crazy for You, started the first night party tradition in the 1970s. Before that, as he recalls, stars would just go round to the producer's house for dinner. He has now become sceptical of the value of the first night party - with one exception.
'Sunset Boulevard's was stunning,' he said. 'It was like the ultimate luxury liner. It helps gives the impression of success.'
Mark Borkowski, a promoter in charge of publicising the forthcoming show Maxwell, The Musical has already had offers from top caterers to run the first night party, as have the producers of Hair, scheduled for September.
But ticket-selling publicity does not come from parties but from the word-of-mouth of satisfied customers and from properly targeted marketing. Mr White stages a special afternoon preview during early rehearsals of his musicals for coach party tour operators.
This might explain why City of Angels was only playing to 60 per cent houses. Its poster of
a half-naked woman, Raymond Chandler style, had little to say to the coach party musical fans. It was witty and cleverly staged. But it had unmemorable tunes.
As the musicals expert Mark Steyn said last week: 'It was the pounds 30 seats which proved hard to sell. For that price you want Miss Saigon. It's not the same going back home and saying you saw a show where there were some pretty funny fellows and some nice songs.'
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities, Religious Education ...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Physics Teacher Long Term from S...
£50 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Newcastle: Our client is looking for a N...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Math Teacher - 2 Terms - Lincoln...