Theatre Thursday: Picking Shows

Today I ended up having to rush in to the theatre because, for the second year in a row I was not notified of the important meeting that was yesterday morning.  At least I made it there only about seven minutes late, but I was kind of mad that again I hadn’t got the memo.  No, it isn’t because they didn’t want me there, it was merely because I was not on the email distribution list.  Go figure.  It made me feel good that the people in charge felt bad that they forgot me AGAIN!

Why is this meeting so important you ask?  I mean most meetings I probably wouldn’t care about missing, but this one is somewhat important.  This is the annual meeting where we talk about potential shows for next season.  Sure, it really all comes down to our artistic director’s choice, but I think that he does consider many of the comments that we put forth.  I can tell you though, we don’t really pay too much heed to the audience survey that we put out.  We do a little, and this year more than others, but not always.

Amazingly, the meeting this year didn’t go on for as long as it has in the past, but I think that there were some good ideas.  I am probably not really supposed to talk about the shows that we discussed, but since the decision will have to be made within a week or so, I can’t imagine that it really makes a difference.  I am also pretty sure that I would not be the only leak.  Also, I am interested in opinions from outside of Utah, since our survey only looks at our patrons.

Here are the shows that made the “short list,” a list that our artistic director is seriously considering (in no particular order).  Also keep in mind that most of the time we like to do the musicals as the first and last shows of the season.


  • Rent
  • Spamalot
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • White Christmas


  • Dracula
  • In
  • Hamlet
  • August: Osage County
  • Diary of Anne Frank*
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Fallen Angels
  • Black Comedy
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I crossed off White Christmas, because no one really wants to do it, and the odds are very much against it.  I believe it was only on the list to see if there would be any favorable reaction to it.  The * by Anne Frank is there because there is the possibility that it could be a co-produced show with another regional theatre, however the thought was that if the co-production doesn’t happen, we would probably not pursue the show on our own.  There were also other shows on the  survey that I think might be good choices that were not on this list.

My personal thoughts are that in musical land we should do Rent and Spamalot.  I think that it would be a big mistake NOT to do Rent because people come out of the woodwork to see that show.  I also like the show, I know there are many who don’t.  I think that it has the potential to really kick off the season with some high energy.  I would only put Rent at the beginning of the season because of the business end of things, inevitably we will turn some people off by producing Rent, and having it at the end may affect season ticket sales more than at the beginning.  I think that Spamalot would be a really fun closing show, who doesn’t like Monty Python?!  Also, we would probably be the regional theatre premiere of the show.

In the world of plays, at first look it is kind of a dark list, but they are all pretty interesting/good shows.  I think with the current vampire craze Dracula would be a good choice.  It would also probably go in our second slot so it would be running around Halloween.  I think pulling out the original vampire and getting away from sparkly, virgin, teenage, angst filled vampires is a good thing, and I think people will come.  Dracula also ranked number two on our audience survey.

I would like to do Cat as it is a great American classic that I have never worked on.  I think that would be interesting.  I haven’t read or seen August, but I hear that it is similar to Cat in themes but right now is pretty popular which could make it a good choice.  Anne Frank is a great show and the co-production possibility is kind of interesting, I just wonder if the show is overdone.  I like it though and would be happy to do it.  Out of the Shakespeare choices I would lean a little towards Shrew as otherwise we are really lining up a dark season.

Beyond that, I don’t really know Fallen Angels (I am told it’s a comedy), The Philadelphia Story, or In.  I think that would make my picks: Rent, Spamalot, Dracula, Anne Frank, Black Comedy, Shrew, and Cat.  I could probably go either way on Cat or August though.

So what shows would you pick?  There is a poll below, you may choose five (5) plays and two (2) musicals.  By the way, if you pick White Christmas, you are fired 🙂

I apologize for the long-ish post, but I thought it would be fun to see if anyone had ideas/thoughts/input.



    So why did they end up going with White Christmas if everyone seemed to hate it?

    • We are going with White Christmas because it will probably make us a lot of money at the box office.

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