Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rant: 5th Avenue Theater, Seattle - UnCool

August 15 and I find myself with a balcony seat to watch the world premier of "Shrek the Musical" at the 5th Ave. Theater in Seattle. The show program includes a very informative article "From the Desk of David Armstrong - Producing Artistic Director" announcing the opening of the fabulous 'Downstairs at the 5th (DAT) Rehearsal and Education Space". It's 14,730 square feet of studios, a green room, stage management and visiting artist offices. David goes on to positively gush about investment made in this space and to thank the grand folk involved.

David, I always thought that theater was about the audience experience and their enjoyment of that which is being presented. Take my advice, go sit in the balcony (in fact go sit in "GT CTR Row: C Seat: 10") for an evening performance of Shrek and then tell me how much you enjoyed the show. That's if you are not then ensconced in a cold shower for the remainder of the evening trying to get you core body temperature below the 25 gazillion degrees to which it has risen as the 5th ave theater has *terrible* air conditioning. I don't just mean a little warm and uncomfortable. I mean sweat pouring down my face and me tossing a mental coin every couple of minutes to determine if I should just bail. And it wasn't me. Lot's of folks sweating the night through Shrek's swamp.

A suggestion. Redirect any money left over from the DAT5 space and invest it in the enjoyment of your visiting public (who do, after all, pay the bills). Sorry if your fancy "visiting artist office" won't get painted this season -- but the theater-going public will appreciate watching your productions in something that doesn't resemble a Thai sauna (without the happy ending).

The good news. The Shrek show program made a passable fan for a good percentage of the audience.

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