Saturday, May 14, 2005

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Singin', Dancin', Stalkin'
5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, WA

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a show that the 5th Avenue whipped together to, I imagine, make some quick money to fund the marketing campaign of the upcoming world premiere of Princesses (though - hello?). And how do they secure this cash? Let us count the ways:

1. Lucy Lawless in lead role. Former Xena star can sing and dance, and she brings with her instant credibility and a fan base that wants VERY MUCH TO TOUCH HER.

2. Solid cast. Other leads are imported theater luminaries and local favorites that make season ticket holders feel comforted that they will be consuming quality entertainment. In addition to "real" actors, the cast includes Pat Cashman and John Curley, who both are or were on the TV. They could bring in more people who don't normally go to the theater, but see these guys in local media all the time.

3. Seattle Men's Chorus. I think their motto should be "as gay as you expect." The huge chorus is wonderful, knows the music, and adds crowd-pleasing choreography. There are 250 of them, and they each have friends & fans that see all of their shows.

So even though the leads are on book (meaning they have scripts in their hands during the performance), people EAT THIS UP. During intermission my friend and I go out to look at the crowd. It's gay, it's old, it's young, it's hefty, it's devoid of style, it's stylish. Not until we really break down the demographics (season ticket holders, gay boys, lesbians) does any of it make sense. But once it does, it reveals the 5th Ave. artistic staff as BRILLIANT. Even the program features targeted advertising: gay cruises, gay tuxedo shops, gay Hawaii getaways. Selling this thing must have been an advertiser's wet dream, as it were.

After the show we go around back to collect my friend's boyfriend, who is one of the dancers. There is a MOB of people out there. Mostly women whose eyeglass frames could use updating, these are Lucy's most devout fans. They are armed with cameras, Sharpies, and promotional photos, and they scream every time the stage door opens to spit out another chorus member. I'm sure Lucy is used to this, but it wigs me out.

Even considering the number of people in the balcony attending the show on a comp ticket and the number of people on stage who need to be paid, this show will rake it in over the weekend. I just hope some of these new folks come back to see the new shows that they just helped fund. And they should come if only to acknowledge that they've been marketed to in an effective, joyous way that not only got their rocks off, but gave a few of them something to blog about.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great report! As a Lucy fan I knew there would those that waited for her outside the stage door, but as Sound residents, and Associates of the SMC, my partner and I are even bigger fans of the guys.

We hope her stay in our beautiful city is pleasant and her appearance with the chorus makes for a pleasant, and peaceful memory whenever she thinks of us. Also that the publicity the chorus has gotten this past week brings new fans of the chorus for the next series of shows, and also will give the women's chorus shows a try!

Proud resident of the Sound

9:01 AM  

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