The Last Starfighter - info on the show, dates and times: Sept 28 - Oct 7
The Brain From Planet X - info on the show - dates and times. Only two days left, Sept 28 and Sept 30
Is science fiction musical theater dead? If we're to go by the reception of the New York Musical Theater Festival production, The Brain From Planet X, it might be. But there's one more sci fi musical to be seen, The Last Starfighter, which starts tomorrow.
There are 30 productions being put on during this three week Festival, only two of them with a science fiction theme. If I were in New York I'd go see both of them - although I don't care for the type of humor apparently on display in Brain and I didn't particularly like the movie version of The Last Starfighter!
I've been keeping track of the evolution of The Brain From Planet X, because its producer/director/co-writer/lyricist has a blog where he's been detailing this every step of the way, from gathering the money to put the show on, to casting it, to rehearsing, to actually doing the show. It's a fascinating insight into how these things are done, and i must say the level of ineptitude displayed - NOT by the Brain people but by the Festival people, is really shocking. I could think this guy was exaggerating, except I've been reading reviews of the other shows and they comment on show start timess delayed because of sound problems, and mikes not working during preformances - which is what happened to the Brain... and I just don't understand it. I know quality is going down in practically every profession...but the theatre too? [Well, better the theatre than the construction industry, but the quality of work in the construction industry is in the toilet, too. But that's a rant for another day.]
Anyway, the Brain had its opening night, and apparently a critic from the New York Times was there. But, I've yet to see a review from the Times. I have seen some other reviews, which praise the actors but criticize the book and music. [So I found it kind of amusing that when the guy referenced above tried to "shill" his show [his words] on a site called TalkinBroadway, he referenced that the show had gotten mediocre reviews, but that was when the kinks were still being worked out, and now they were solved. Ignoring the fact that the reviews had praised the actors and had not mentioned the technical problems...only criticizing the things that the technical difficulties had had nothing to do with - the book and the music!]
So, I'm surfing the web trying to find comments from audience members who actually saw the show. There are threads for the Festival on TalkinBroadway and at Broadway World...and no one at TalkinBroadway mentions the show at all, but they do mention other Festival shows, and it took the longest time for somebody on BroadwayWorld to talk about the show - and they referenced the humor that I know I wouldn't like...
Upshot of all the above is...The Brain From Planet X does not appear to even be a blip on the radar at the Festival. It had first been staged in Los Angeles, with different actors, and had been "invited" to do the Festival (but they still had to pay to put it on, the Festival just provides the space.)
Anyway, an education into the world of the theatre.
I wish the guy doing The Last Starfighter would have a blog as well, but he doesn't. But I'm sure he's having the same kind of technical problems as the Brain guy. Apparently they rehearse in one location, and only get to see the theater they'll actually be performing in... on the day that that is to occur! No wonder sound problems are a given. Again, the Festival people are to blame for that, not the show itself.
So...the tickets are only $20, as compared to $50 or more for regular productions...and at only $20, why not go out and see these shows?
I hope to have better news to report on the reception of The Last Starfighter. It'll be interesting to see if it gets any reviews!
The theme of this entry is to wonder whether an SF musical is viable in New York. However, it must be remembered that the Festival allows these shows NO advertising budget... so if people aren't a fan of theatre/musical theatre to begin with..chances are they will never even learn about these shows...
If advertising were available...who knows?