Tonight I went with my sister Amy to go see the musical Sweet Charity starring Molly Ringwald at the Paramount. I had no real expectations going into this musical, but figured if it was a touring production at the Paramount, it's bound to be good.
Boy was I wrong.
If there was a genre of "classical musicals" this would firmly fit in. In fact, the original musical opened on Broadway in 1966. I usually enjoy the classic musicals, just as I enjoy most of the more contemporary musicals. It includes several classic tunes such as "Hey, Big Spender" and "If They Could See Me Now", but even the music couldn't save this show. It's hard for me to dedicate even much time reminiscing of this musical, other than to express my extreme disappointment.
My first warning should have been that the theatre was probably 1/2 to 2/3 empty. The 3rd mezzanine was almost completely empty, and probably most of the people in the theatre were actually season ticket holders who had nothing better to do. I have never been to such an empty performance at the Paramount.
The show was plagued with 15-minute long song and dance numbers (which shouldn't be surprising considering the original production was choreographed by Bob Fosse). I nearly fell asleep a couple of times, which is very atypical for me as well.
At intermission I considered it a 2-star performance on my rating scale... I should have left at intermission, the second act was only worse... overall it rates as a lonely 1-star out of 5. I would not recommend it, nor voluntarily go see it again.
On a related rant, some would argue that there should not be courtesy applause after a poor performance. I actually believe that courtesy applause is only customary at the conclusion of a show. Good or bad, the actors who performed are doing a service and should be applauded for their performance. HOWEVER... there is NO such thing as a courtesy standing ovation. If the conclusion of the show doesn't make you want to spring to your feet and cheer, then don't. There are some people who rise to their feet with a standing ovation at the conclusion of nearly every performance, especially the bad ones. Tonight's show was no exception... though more annoying is the fact that most of those people seem to always sit in the 1st row. As a result, you have several other involuntary standing ovations:
1) standing because the person in front of you is standing and you can't see if you don't stand too.
2) standing because other people are standing, and if they're standing it probably means you should too.
3) standing because you're trying to get out as fast as you can
I REFUSE! It cheapens the impact of a standing ovation when it is overused. If you aren't compelled by the performance to leap to your feet, THEN DON'T! DO NOT BE TEMPTED!
Tonight was the perfect demonstration. At the conclusion of the show, a mild courtesy applause arose for the cast taking their bows, and of course, 4 people sitting in the row immediately in front of me stand in ovation. I refuse, but in a strange change of scenery, I glance to the sides and behind me, and most everyone else is refusing to stand as well. The result was basically everyone who was standing looked like idiots-- either idiots for standing at the end of a performance that obviously did not merit it, or idiots for believing that the performance actually did merit it.
RESIST THE COURTESY OVATION!