Look Down On Your Life

Philip Leveling and Taylor Pietz in Love Kills
We're halfway through the run and this sure is one of the stranger experiences we've had. Love Kills is a very intense show, and though almost everyone who sees it is blown away by it, and though the reviews have been really strong -- some of them outright raves -- still our audiences have been awfully small compared to our other shows.

It will be interesting to see if our audiences grow these last two weeks or if this is a show that appeals only to a small subset of our usual audience.

I mentioned this in an earlier blog but it continues -- to this day, halfway through the run, our audiences still do not applaud after the songs in this show. On opening night, I tired to get applause started after the first song, and the night Zak's family was there, they tried to applaud Zak's two big songs. But other than that, no one has applauded at all for a single other song. It is apparently not that they don't like the show, but somehow it doesn't feel right to them to applaud. When we ask them about it after the show, some of them honestly don't realize they hadn't been applauding. We assume -- we hope -- that they're just so tuned in to the show that nothing can break that focus. We do notice during some long pauses in the show that no one in the audience even moves. There is dead silence. I don't think that would be true if folks weren't engaged in the story. And yet they don't applaud...

Weird, huh?

It is very cool to work on a four-character show. The only shows we've done that are this small were Songs for a New World (four actors) in 1998 and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (two actors) in 2004. It's really different than having our usual cast of 10-14. First of all, it's easier to polish the show because there are fewer performances to work on. Second, it's easier to avoid egos with so few actors. And third, the cast gets really closely bonded. Don't get me wrong, the New Line casts usually bond pretty strongly, but this is different.

It's been so nice for me to be able to send the author Kyle all these great reviews. There aren't a lot of companies that would have taken a risk like this -- it's a tough, little show and it demands something from its audience. It's not commercial. But now with these glowing reviews in hand, maybe Kyle will be able to find future productions and this beautiful show can have further life.

We're going to lose a shitload of money on this show, but this is why we exist -- to do challenging, relevant musical theatre that other companies are afraid of. We ended last season with a surplus and we'll probably deplete it all on this show, but it is so worth it.

I am so proud of our choice to do Love Kills, of our amazing cast, and of the excellent work we've all done on it.

Long Live the Musical!