30 Musicals in 30 Days: A Musical Everyone Should See Live

Post a song from a musical which everyone should see performed live.

I should be posting a song from A Chorus Line today. But there are other things on my mind and I am going to go with another show brought to life on stage by the incomparable Michael Bennett: Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen’s Dreamgirls. Why is this show foremost on my mind? Because I was planning to see the show in June when it played in its current incarnation, the recent tour started at the Apollo Theatre, at the Artscape Theatre Complex in June and yesterday a press release to the following effect was published on Artslink:

Showtime Management, producers of the international hit musical, Dreamgirls, today advised the cancellation of the show’s Cape Town season. It was scheduled to open on 8 June 2011 at Artscape.

‘It is with much regret that we are cancelling the Cape Town run,” says Hazel Feldman, the show’s producer. “We are sorry to disappoint patrons who have already purchased tickets and ask them to contact Computicket to obtain their refunds.”

Despite being hailed unanimously by leading local critics and celebrities as “the finest” musical ever staged in South Africa, poor public support resulted in this very hard decision. Currently on stage at The Teatro at Montecasino, Dreamgirls ends its Johannesburg season on 8 May 2011.

So the show hasn’t sold well in Johannesburg, and based on that fact as well as, one presumes, the knowledge of whatever pre-sales have managed to take place in Cape Town, the producers have made this ‘hard’ decision. But what did the producers expect when Cape Town is an already tough sell, a fact that is known to anyone and everyone, one that should have influenced their initial decision to produce the show there rather than at this late stage? What did they expect from advance sales in Cape Town when there has been significant Cape Town targeted marketing in the midst of the media hype they have tried to stir up for the run in Johannesburg? I’m totally disgruntled. Why should I, as a consumer, trust their brand again in the future, especially when they implicate me as a member of the public in the reasoning behind their decision? The flaw lies in their producing and their inability to live up to their commitments for misunderstanding, not knowing or even blatantly ignoring the market to which they have to sell their product! That is the cause behind this effect, along with extravagant ticket prices, not mere public apathy – a hard sell though they might be.

The video I’ve chosen to commemorate this travesty of an event is a clip from the Tony Awards from the original 1982 production of the show: the sequence that ends the first act (“It’s All Over” / “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” / “Love Love Me Baby”). Enjoy it.

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