My Opinion on the Waterloo Community Playhouse Doing “High School Musical”

Since people insist on asking my opinion on WCP doing “High School Musical” as their summer musical, in addition to their continued caterwauling about the show, I decided to give my opinion on it here.

While theater is an art form, it is also a business, even for non-profits. They have to figure out how to get butts in their seats. And while last year’s musical, “Into the Woods”, was definitely art, it did not sell very well.

By doing a recognizable commodity such as “High School Musical”, Waterloo Community Playhouse will hopefully have a run of the show that sells very well. At the very least there will be younger audience members, which God knows the Waterloo Community Playhouse needs.

And so for all those out there upset over the selection of that show as the musical, I ask you to say what you wish they were doing? I know one person wishes they could do “Avenue Q”, which I believe doesn’t have amateur rights available. Do you wish they could do “Rocky Horror Show”? Too vulgar for the donors, trust me. Do you wish they could do “Hairspray” or “Sweeney Todd”? For the first, royalties are probably too much and very restricted. For the second, it’s too dark for the donors.

If “High School Musical” is anything like the film, it is a sanitized look at high school that doesn’t show how horrible of an experience it can be, especially for the gay drama geeks. And since some high schools are doing it, I would have to assume that the royalties aren’t that expensive. Sounds like that will satisfy everyone.

For those that are complaining, I invite you to do two things: for starters, you can look at WCP and Cedar Falls Community Theatre’s 2009-2010 season line-up. And last, but not least, wonder what the lack of audience members, particularly younger audiences, will do to the live theater scene in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area.

It would die.

Thank you.


3 thoughts on “My Opinion on the Waterloo Community Playhouse Doing “High School Musical”

  1. Chris Robert Hansen

    Dear Monica, As a member of WCP’s playreading committee the last two seasons, may I say that you hit the nail squarely on the head. It was hoped that “High School Musical” would provide the greatest opportunity for maximum ticket sales this summer. We were all disappointed that ticket sales were down for “Into the Woods”. It was a high quality production that deserved a better fate. Best always, Chris.

  2. I am also very afraid for live theater when I see so many bald and white haired people in the seats. So many young adults have not seen live theater and have a hard time with their attention spans. This show may be a chance to at least get them started in the direction of opening up their eyes to something better than a TV reality show.

    I do not care for the show, even though my cousin Kevin appreciated the royalties because he has a song in it. WCP always delivers an excellent performance, even if the show lacks much depth, and I am hoping their exuberance will charm the older audience and attract new members. We MUST save live theater in Waterloo, and this may be a baby step in that direction.

  3. I was very pleased to see at “Kiss Me, Kate” the amount of younger audience members that I did see. At some plays I go to that I’m reviewing, the next youngest person in the audience is thirty years older than I am. I think that there is the lack of younger audience members is a bit obvious, unfortunately, and theaters do need to work on younger people coming to the theater.

    I think doing a show that most teenagers and preteens are familiar with is a good way to start doing that. Sadly, it’s a show that so many of them are familiar with that they either love it or hate it. Another thing I worry about is the ticket prices. Are teenagers willing to pay $19 for a ticket, even though it’s less than a movie game?

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