Imagine being enrolled for a five-day course that provides professional level musical performance training for artists that are 15 and older; with the obligation of performing at the historic Berklee Performance Center to show it all off. That number again is: Five days! This daunting task was supervised by Berklee's own Caroline Harvey, a multi-talented writer/performer who is an Assistant Professor at the Liberal Arts Department. The young performers displayed a remarkable show with enthusiasm, charm and raw talent. They have a long way to go, but the preview of the rewards (and demands) of musical theatre will forever remain encoded in their creative souls.
Speaking of musical theatre, the future may be bleak for the entry-level Broadway freshmen trying to break into the business and the soaring ticket prices on Broadway are not for the faint at heart. In fact, the industry may price itself out of a business if it keeps up the current pricing system. The surge of Hollywood stars, revivals and 'karaoke' shows indicate that the investors are willing to take less chances on new musicals, preferring to bank on juke-box shows like Motown, Mamma Mia and Rock Of Ages.
Considering the fact that it may take $300.000 a week to sustain a show on Broadway, no wonder a lot of actors, writers and directors are out of work. The previously praised economic model is dangerously unsustainable.
Movie stars with drawing power are called in for the rescue: Bette Midler in "I'll Eat You Last" is an interesting example. Without any music, choreography or additional cast, the legendary Divine Miss M. had a sold-out run on Broadway, recouping $2.4 Million of initial investment by sitting on a couch (for 90 minutes) as Sue Mengers in a muumuu. She accomplished this in 8-weeks with an (approximately) $250 price tag for the average ticket. Tom Hanks was also lucky with "Lucky Guy", but most shows on Broadway have to close early due to poor ticket sales, even with various discount offerings.
The so-called 'dynamic' pricing system of Broadway -- a play on a 'supply-demand' scheme that drove ticket prices to ridiculous highs -- may be responsible for the current stale year at the box office. Is the 'survival of the fittest' model for theatre a good idea? When audience participation is severely discouraged through burdensome pricing, when young enthusiasts are unable to experience the glory of musical theatre collaboratives, when actors, dancers, directors, writers and crew are out of work, how can this cornerstone of American culture survive the Donald Trump approach to performance art?