Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Glory Days" gored

Glory Days: Are these boys jumping for joy, or jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge?

Did anybody really think this slight little musical could make a successful Broadway transfer?

I applauded the effort, as it is good for the local theatrical community to be represented on the Great White Way. But I'm sorry to see that my initial reactions to Glory Days when it ran at Signature have been echoed by the critics in New York. They have even been reflected in the review Peter Marks filed in the Washington Post. Marks raved about the show during its Signature run, but in a fascinating illustration of successful backpedaling, he revisited the show in New York, and claimed that he never meant the show was much good, but rather that it was a worthy first effort for the twentysomething guys who wrote the thing.

It does NOT do the DC theatrical community much good to submit a show to Broadway which opens and closes on the same day. Such has been the fate of Glory Days. The largely dismissive reviews the show garnered only reinforces the New York attitude that all shows grown in the provinces must be regarded with suspicion.

And I wonder what this 2.5 million dollar flop might mean for the next Signature shows which are aiming for Broadway? The Visit, opening soon in Arlington, stars Chita Rivera and George Hearn and an ensemble which was cast and rehearsed in New York, with every intention of transferring to Broadway. (This show may have a fighting chance, with its Tony-winning stars on board, and the terrific Frank Gelati, a Tony-winner himself, directing the piece.)

But what of next season's planned projectile, Ace? Even as I write this, casting is underway for this show which is being announced as a pre-Broadway engagement. This one, however, is being directed by Signature's artistic director Eric Schaeffer, who helmed the flopped Glory Days, as well as several previous endeavors which failed their transfers to Broadway: Witches of Eastwick, Over and Over, The Rhythm Club, and Mame, among others.

I hate to say it, but maybe Signature Theatre is not ready for the Great White Way...
ADDENDUM: The Tony Awards Committee has deemed "Glory Days" ineligible for award consideration in any category.