Bad Shows

On Thursday night, I did something I hadn’t done in almost three years: I left a show at intermission. Matt and I went to see an Off-Broadway musical that Matt had heard good things about. For the sake of politeness, I’m not going to name it here, but 25 percent of the cast of this show was made up of 40 percent of the cast of a really great Off-Broadway musical we saw several months ago.

The cast itself was great – the show was well-sung and well-performed by appealing actors. But the plot was implausible and clichéd, and most of the songs were bland pop-rock (though a couple of them had entertaining lyrics). And not to be such a homocentrist, but the plot was completely hetero – it was basically about straight young people hooking up in New York – and it didn’t interest me in the slightest, though that’s probably due more to the aforementioned implausible and clichéd plot. I can enjoy a good heterosexual romance as much as anyone, but when a show is what I expect “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” to be like (“It’s ‘Seinfeld’ Set to Music!”, the ads blare), I can skip it. (I’ve never seen that show, but I have some (possibly unfair) negative preconceived notions of it, based solely on that advertising line. “Seinfeld” was a great show, but any musical that compares itself to “Seinfeld” is trying too hard.)

Anyway, I knew about three minutes into the show that I wasn’t going to like it, and I resolved to leave after Act One. The tickets were only $21 each, so it wasn’t much of a loss. Matt decided to stick it out for Act Two, but I went home, after stopping off at Gristede’s for some Ben & Jerry’s (at Matt’s request, though I’ve eaten my fair share of the pint so far). When Matt came home, he said I’d made the right decision.

Incidentally, the last show I left at intermission was Vincent in Brixton. (The ticket was free.) Yawners.

I considered walking out of Drowning Crow last year, but I found it so outrageously bad that I just had to see it through. Unlike the other two shows mentioned above, it was at least entertaining.

The moral is, if you’re going to make a bad show, you may as well go all out.

4 thoughts on “Bad Shows

  1. I have yet to walk out on a piece of theater (either because the ticket was so expensive or because I knew someone in the cast). I guess the closest I ever came was when I walked out on Top Gun when I was 8.

  2. We left Dead End (Los Angeles, Ahmanson) last week at the first intermission. Amazing set, fairly well acted, and incredibly uninteresting. But in general, I’ll always stick it out, because you can find something interesting even if you don’t like the show itself.

  3. leonard bernstein had a quote: “if you’re going to fail, fail big!” Amen. If i might add a corrolary: if you’re going to fail, be brief. Please.

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