Strictly Ballroom Review

Strictly Ballroom is a new musical based on an Australian movie of the same name. It premiered in Sydney, Australia in 2014, had a run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, England, and is now doing a run in Toronto, Canada until June 25. Baz Luhrmann directed the movie and created and wrote the book for the musical.

The plot of this musical is very simple, which is one of the things I like about this musical. Competitive ballroom dancer, Scott Hastings (Sam Lips), runs into trouble at a major competition because he wants to dance to the beat of his heart and not the beat of the music. This causes his long time partner, Elizabeth Holt (Lauren Stroud), to leave him for a new partner. Thankfully, Fran, Just Fran (Gemma Sutton), who works at Scott’s dance studio, Kendall’s, tells him that she wants to be his new partner. Fran is just a beginner ballroom dancer but she knows he needs a partner and says she is willing to learn and wants to do it. Scott is desperate and needs a partner for the biggest competition in Australia that is only three weeks away and reluctantly agrees. And the rest is history. It’s a classic story of follow the rules or follow your heart, do what you want to do or do what your parents want you to do, and what lengths would you go to win. What really is “winning” anyways?

This show was a heck of a lot of fun to be at. The music was such a bop! There was some ballroom type music (like tango and salsa put to lyrics), some traditional Broadway style songs, and since Fran is Spanish some songs had a Spanish flare. The sets and costumes were also so extravagant. There were sparkles and sequins everywhere and every colour was the brightest you could possibly imagine. Like highlighter pink and bright turquoise. They were beautiful and so detailed and I really thought they captured the world of competitive dance really well. In the world of competitive dance, there are a lot of sparkles, sequins, and extravagant costumes. The set was also really cool. It was like one piece that got moved around and opened and closed and served as many locations from Kendall’s dance studio to Scott’s home to Fran’s home to the dance hall and it was really cool.

Because this is a musical about ballroom dancing, this musical is obviously very dance heavy. This musical made me fall back in love with dance. I mean Newsies did a good job of that too but this is different. This made me fall in love with the art of dance and what it means to be a dancer. I grew up doing ballet, modern, and jazz 3-5 days a week. Scott Hastings has a really beautiful solo early in the show (and Sam Lips is a gorgeous dancer) and it just made me re-realize that dance is a beautiful art form and I wish I had half the talent of everyone in the cast. Dance is powerful. It’s about expressing yourself and there’s a certain freedom to it that non-dancers can’t understand. I think this mentality was something that Scott was struggling with throughout the show and it was just super relatable to someone who is a dancer.

Overall, I enjoyed this show. It wasn’t my favourite show ever, but it was alright. It was not super elaborate or deep and meaningful, it was just a fun afternoon. I liked this show because I think some people forget that musical theatre is about more than just singing an acting. There’s a heck of a lot of dancing involved in it too, especially if you’re in the ensemble. Most musicals have an ensemble doing all kinds of dance elements but I think they are often overlooked because people are paying more attention to the principal actors, which I guess is kind of the point. But still, dance is a powerful storyteller and deserves more recognition in the musical theatre world. If you’re looking for something fun to do for a few hours in the next week or so, go see this show, tickets are cheap and it is a fun show.

Which “triple-threat” activity would you like to do? Sing? Act? Dance? Let me know in the comments!

This week, I made a playlist called Blue (I think I named it that since there’s blue on all the album covers) but it’s just a compilation of songs that I think go really well together. Check out my Mixtapes page and enjoy!

Award Show Season Part 3: The Tonys

 “Don’t waste any time trying to be anyone but yourself. The things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.” – Ben Platt

The Tonys are Broadway’s biggest night and last night was no exception! After such an incredible 2016/2017 season, it’s no surprise that The Tonys officially ended the season in an incredible way!

The 2016/2017 season was filled with incredible musicals, both new and revivals. I love that there were performances from all the nominees for Best Musical and Best Revival. It gave a little taste of what happens during these shows, even bringing in the sets that are used in the show to make it feel authentic, which I think is pretty cool. How they get all those sets and set up in Radio City Music Hall is beyond me though. My favourite performance of the night was Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. I loved how they made the more traditional stage at Radio City like their immersive staging at the Imperial Theatre and I loved how they did a mashup of songs from the show. Great Comet has such diverse styles of music so the mashup made sense and it worked beautifully. A+ music arranger! Their ensemble is also amazing and it made the performance really enjoyable to watch. The cast of Dear Evan Hansen (or should I say Ben Platt) performed Waving Through a Window. I thought it was really good but I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t You Will Be Found. I just think that’s an incredibly powerful song with an important message that should be shared on live television and everyone in the cast has a role in the song. I love Ben Platt and think he’s super talented but I think the rest of the cast was overlooked by just having them singing the background harmonies. Because I’m Canadian, I feel obligated to say that I loved Come From Away’s Performance, which is 100% true. They performed the opening number Welcome to the Rock. I’d hoped they’d perform Screech In, but since this musical is mostly sung through and there’s no overture, Welcome to the Rock gives a good overview and feel for the show, which is great. Falsettos’s performance was also super fun and super cute (Anthony Rosenthal is the cutest human on Broadway). I have to say though, I’m disappointed that Hello, Dolly! did a performance without Dolly (aka Bette Midler). I was really looking forward to seeing her perform. All the performances were amazing and it’s amazing that they can do that for 2.5 hours (not just one song) 8 times a week!

One thing that I really liked about this year’s awards was that there was a lot of love given to plays and playwrights. I don’t know why, but plays always seem to take a back seat to musicals. Writing a play and getting it produced on Broadway is just as impressive as writing a musical and getting it produced on Broadway. However, plays can’t really do “performances” of a song like musicals can. So I appreciated the fact that each of the playwrights for the nominees for Best Play were given the chance to give a brief synopsis and talk about the themes in their play.

With 38 new shows opening on Broadway in the 2016/2017 season, there was bound to be some tough competition for the actual awards. The Best Featured Actress category was one of the toughest I’ve ever seen:

  • Jenn Colella (Come From Away)
  • Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen)
  • Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos)
  • Kate Baldwin (Hello, Dolly!)
  • Mary Beth Piel (Anastasia)

I thought this category would be between Jenn and Stephanie and to be honest, I never thought Rachel had a chance in hell of winning, but yet she did. Not that Rachel didn’t deserve to win (all these women deserved to win), I just really thought that Jenn Colella should’ve won because her performance in Come From Away is just one of the best performances of any actress that I’ve ever seen. On stage, she makes me laugh, she makes me cry, and off stage, she is one of the kindest, humblest human beings.

One of the things I dislike about the Tonys in general is that the “creative” categories like Scenic Design, Choreography, Orchestrations, and Lighting Design are not televised. These artists winning these awards deserve to be recognized just as much as anyone else involved in a production. They matter too. If it weren’t for these people the show would not have the same level of pizazz and impressiveness as they currently do. I was really happy that Alex Lacamoire won Best Orchestrations for Dear Evan Hansen because his strings arrangements just make me sob. That makes back to back Tony wins for Lac after winning last year for Hamilton. Andy Blankenbuehler also collected back to back Tony wins for Best Choreography, again after winning for Hamilton last year. But this year Andy both directed and choreographed Bandstand. From the one number that I’ve seen (called Nobody), I love the choreography and I would love to see this show. For me, it’s definitely a bucket list item to take a dance class from Andy Blankenbuehler. Great Comet obviously won Scenic Design of a musical. This was predictable because of the immersive nature of the show and how they’ve designed the Imperial Theatre. I don’t know about you, but I would happily watch an extra hour of the Tonys if it meant I got to see these people win their awards and their acceptance speeches.

Of course, the big award of the night is Best Musical and this year it so deservingly went to Dear Evan Hansen. I really thought Come From Away might give DEH a run for its money at the Tonys but apparently I was wrong and I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed. As soon as Benj Pasek and Justin Paul won for Best Original Score and Steven Levenson won for Best Book, I knew that Dear Evan Hansen had Best Musical locked up, since well the book and the score are what make a musical. The Tony for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical was Ben Platt’s to lose (there was no real competition) and he 10000% earned this award. He puts his heart and soul and emotions into this show 8 times a week and does a beautiful job. I can’t believe he’s only 23! He’s such a talent and will go so far. I haven’t seen DEH but I’ve been listening to the cast album since it came out and it truly is a beautiful story that has such a fitting place in the 21st century and I really do love it. “You have been seen. You matter. You will be found.”

Overall, I have to say, the show itself was severely mediocre. Kevin Spacey was a fine host.The jokes and the food bit were fine.  The awards themselves were fine, if not a little disappointing. I really thought Come From Away deserved more than just Best Direction of a Musical for Christopher Ashley (which was so well deserved). I really thought they should’ve had Best Book, even though it’s mostly sung through and Best Featured Actress for Jenn Colella. Come From Away took home 1 out of 7 nominations, Dear Evan Hansen took home 6 out of 9 nominations, Great Comet took home 2 out of 12 nominations, and Hello, Dolly! took home 4 out of 10 nominations. In terms of plays, there was no clear “winner” but several different shows took home a Tony, which is wonderful.

I just want to say, thank you, Broadway for being a light in the darkness, for giving me things to obsess over, for giving me new stories and music to fall in love with, and reminding me to keep dreaming big and believe in something magical. How lucky I am to love something like the theatre.

What were your favourite moments of the Tonys and the overall 2017/2018 Broadway season? Let me know in the comments!


The Power of Music

Music has had a profound impact on my life in so many ways and I know that it’s something that everyone enjoys and can relate to at least a little bit on some level. Everyone likes different music and just to be clear, you are not above anyone else because of your taste in so called “good” music. Just let everyone enjoy their music.

My parents always played music around the house when I was younger. I remember them playing All Star by Smashmouth, My Own Worst Enemy by Lit, If I had $1000000 by the Barenaked Ladies, and there was always U2 on and stuff similar to that. I think that largely shaped my music tastes that I have today. I would describe my taste in music as everything from Classic Rock (The Beatles, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Queen) to Alternative (Of Monsters & Men, Imagine Dragons, Halsey) to pop (Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Adele) to Broadway show tunes and everything in between. One of my favourite things sharing music with other people. I always find it really cool to find out what kind of music people listen to because music really says so much about a person. That’s why I really like sites like 8tracks and Spotify because you can share your playlists if you want or you can listen to other people’s and discover new music.

Concerts are one of my favourite things in the world. I absolutely love live performances of any kind but concerts are especially fun. Concerts are so much fun because they bring together people who all share a common interest – the particular band/artist. It’s also just a lot of fun to see your favourite artists live and maybe if you’re lucky enough to meet them either through VIP tickets or after the show. The best moment of concerts is when the performer stops singing but the audience keeps singing. That is an absolutely magical feeling.

I’ve done a fair bit of travelling over my life and one of the coolest things about music is that it’s kind of a universal language. Different countries have different genres and different artists and some even have a style their known for but wherever there’s music playing, there is always people singing, dancing, smiling, or just clapping along. I think it’s really neat how music can bring people people together to have a good time whether it’s at a concert in Toronto or a beach party in Mexico. If you ever take any history courses in your life, there’s no doubt that there will be a section on arts, culture, and music in the textbook. Music has been around forever and it’s become a global thing that everyone partakes in in one way or another whether it’s through learning an instrument or listening to an album on your cell phone.

Fun fact about me, I can also play music! I will be forever grateful that my parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was little. I played piano for about 5 years and did my Grade 1 Royal Conservatory of Music exam (yeah, I know that doesn’t sound like much but it taught me so much). I also played the clarinet in school from grade 7-10 and sang in choir for most of my school life, which was pretty fun. Learning these instruments taught me so much about being able to read music (which I think is a pretty cool skill) a little bit about math, perseverance and concentration, and creativity. Because of this, I can pick up a piece of sheet music and learn it on the piano in a short amount of time (if I practice). I also taught myself how to play the ukulele, which was easier because of my background in music. Because I understand how to make music, I feel like I get so much more out of listening to music because I can hear the different instruments and all the little background sounds, the pitch, tempo, etc. Learning music was hands down one of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned in my life and it has truly shaped who I am today.

So, because I love sharing music and discovering new music, starting this week, every week (at least for now, I might go to every second week but we’ll see how things go) I will be releasing a new Spotify playlist on the ‘Mixtapes’ link at the top of my blog. I love making playlists and mixes of songs that sound good together so I thought this would be fun. Here you will find songs that I’m currently enjoying or songs I think go well together. Some playlists might have a theme or relate to the week’s post or it might be just something random. Either way, I hope you find some new music that you enjoy!

This week’s playlist is called, I’m Going to Be Okay and needs no explanation but I recommend listening to it in order.’

What are some of your favourite songs and artists? Let me know in the comments and let’s get this sharing thing going!

Movie of the Month: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

If you know me, I have been looking forward to this movie since it was announced. I had high expectations going to see this movie and it did not disappoint. I was entertained for all 2 hours and 18 minutes. I laughed, I almost cried (which I really wasn’t expecting), I loved the music, and I decided I want twelve Baby Groots.

To me, this movie felt like a true sequel. It didn’t feel forced or strained, it just felt like the next adventure story of these characters. One of the things I really appreciated from the beginning was that the character development of all the characters from the first one to this one is INCREDIBLE. All of the characters (with the exception of Groot, maybe) have grown and matured so much. I love that Peter Quill and Gamora were starting to come to terms with their relationship (and even that didn’t feel forced), Rocket started to come to terms with himself, and Nebula (who clearly had the best character development) started to come to terms with herself and her sister. Although the characters have grown and changed, they were still themselves with the witty dialogue and the shenanigans they got up to. I mean, Nebula still wanted to kill Gamora and Rocket is still sarcastic and cynical but they don’t lose any aspects of their personality that made them so great in the first place.

Because this was a sequel, with largely the same cast of characters (plus some additions), I liked getting to explore the characters’ backstories a little bit more. I feel like the backstories also contributed to the character development. Who is Quill’s father was one of the only questions left unanswered in the first movie and we got an answer in Vol. 2. In this movie we get to know not only who Quill’s father is (his name is Ego and with good reason…) and what he’s like but we also get to explore the relationship between Peter and Ego. I thought the conflict and tension between Peter and Ego was really well done because it was truly an inner battle of family loyalty vs what is right. I also liked knowing more about Nebula and why she was so intent on destroying Thanos and Gamora. It just made me sympathize with her and it made me actually really like her as a character. I also loved Mantis from the second they introduced her. She was probably considered one of the more minor characters in the film but she was done in such a way that we got to know a bit about her and her backstory when she tells Gamora about her relationship with Ego. I also appreciated that the characters’ backstories were explained in a way that didn’t take away from the main plot. They were integrated really nicely in a way that added to the story or didn’t really affect the main plot. In a lot of movies, especially sequels, the characters’ backstories often become a focal point of the movie but I liked that that wasn’t the case in this movie – the Guardians still had to save the galaxy.

I also really loved the parallels to the original movie. I loved that they kept some Tyler Bates’ original score, especially the epic ‘theme’ music (if you want to call it that) “Black Tears” that played at the end of the first movie when they were all holding the Infinity Stone. I think that really set the tone for the whole movie and made it feel really connected to the first movie. There were also the classic Marvel shots like a panoramic shot of all the heroes standing in a circle and the dramatic walking towards the camera in slow motion. This kind of parallelism and continuity is hard to do in sequel movies but I think James Gunn did a fantastic job keeping the two movies similar and related but also different.

At the end of the movie, the one thing that left me a little confused was what happened to the infinity stones? There wasn’t even an after credits scene relating to the stones. The first movie was completely about the stones and it was revealed that there are six in total. The stones have played roles in other Marvel movies like the Tesseract in The Avengers and Aether in Thor: The Dark World. But if the Marvel Cinematic Universe is working it’s way to Infinity Wars Part I and II where the Guardians and the Avengers meet, I’m not sure how Vol. 2 will work its way into what’s coming up.

Like the first movie, Vol. 2 is just a really fun movie to watch. Both Guardians movies are more comedy based superhero movies and they don’t take themselves too seriously. The plot is simple and the art of the filmmaking is stunning – the visual effects in both movies are just beautiful – but the filmmaking didn’t overshadow the plot and the plot didn’t overshadow the filmmaking. If you’re looking for a laugh and something light-hearted to watch, I really recommend this movie.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk About 13 Reasons Why

**Trigger warning: This post contains content relating to suicide, rape, and mental illness. Please stop reading if any of this makes you uncomfortable at any time**

There’s been a lot of talk about the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why and with good reason. It’s a pretty good show that deals with a lot of serious issues. Based on the 2007 book of the same name by Jay Asher, this show is about high school student Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of cassette tapes explaining why she did it. As someone who struggles with mental health issues, I thought this show was well done for the most part. I started out binging the series (I think I watched the first four episodes in one go) but as the series went on it got harder to binge because it just got darker and heavier. This show was well done in a lot of ways but it also had its problems.

The Good

  • The trigger warnings at the beginning of the episodes – Because this show dealt with heavy, sensitive subjects (like rape and suicide) and some of that was shown in a fairly graphic way, I appreciate the fact that the creators of the show did put those specific trigger warnings at the beginning of some of the episodes.
  • It deals with real problems – I’m not just talking about suicide and rape and mental health disorders that this show deals with. I’m also talking about people’s (problematic) behaviour. From the guidance counsellor being remarkably unhelpful to the teacher ignoring a serious cry for help to people denying that they were ever part of the problem in the first place. Unfortunately, this is what so many high schools are like. People, students and staff alike  see or know of someone who is struggling but they don’t reach out and don’t do enough to help. Sometimes all it takes is someone to tell you that you’re not alone and to point you in the direction of resources that can help you if they can’t help you themselves.
  • The characters were excellent – Pretty much none of the characters were exactly as they seem in the beginning. In the beginning we see the best of them but as we go through the tapes we come to the realization that most of the characters are damaged an have their burdens and secrets and we start to empathize with them a little bit. It makes you realize that just like in real life, people often wear masks and only let people know the best of them.
  • It makes people realize that what you say and do matters – You don’t know what’s going on in someone’s head or what they’ve been through. Being popular in school is not an excuse to be a jerk to someone. Words can hurt or words can heal. In this show, people argued (both on the show and in real life) that Hannah was just being a drama queen. I disagree. After some of the things that were said and done to her, I would be pretty hurt and upset too. What makes it worse is that it was the people who were closest to her that hurt her, so she had no one to turn and talk to, which is hard. So just treat each other with kindness and respect and the world will be a better place.

The Bad

  • It’s a little bit graphic – I couldn’t decide whether this should be on the good list or the bad list so it’s on the top of the bad list. While I think it’s important to understand that this stuff happens like this in real life, I don’t know that that’s necessarily something I wanted to see on my TV screen for an extended period of time.
  • This show somewhat glorifies suicide – By Hannah leaving tapes for the thirteen people to find, this show makes it seems like she committed suicide for attention. This bugged me a bit because it should never be said that someone committed suicide for attention.
  • I don’t love that this show makes it seems like love is the answer – By the time we get to Clay’s tape a lot of people on the show have hurt Hannah in countless ways. But what bugged me a bit about Clay’s episode was that it seemed like if only Clay had loved her and told her how he felt about her, that could have saved her. While there are obviously many other reasons that Hannah committed suicide, I feel like there was too much emphasis on how Clay could have saved her.
  • The mental health issues were glossed over – Clearly, all the characters were dealing with some sort of mental health issue whether it was before, during, or after listening to Hannah’s tapes and Hannah was obviously struggling with her own mental health as well. But these issues were not discussed very much other than Hannah going to see the guidance counsellor but there were clearly others struggling like Clay and Jessica.
  • The memes and jokes that have come out of this show make me so angry – This show was dramatic, there’s no question about that. But the Internet has taken it too far with the “Welcome to your tape” jokes. This show is trying to make a serious point about suicide and abuse and it took about a week for the Internet to turn it into a joke and the issues addressed in this show are just not joking matters.

Overall I’d give it a 7.5/10. I think the moral of this story is that if someone leaves behind tapes explaining why they committed suicide, take them to the police!

I’m interested to hear your opinions on 13 Reasons Why if you’ve seen it, let me know in the comments what your thoughts are.

My Bucket List

Most people have a bucket list. Or a “Things I Want to Do Before I Die” list. Or an itch list (list of things they are itching to do). Or a “Top 10 Desires” list. For the purposes of this post I’ll refer to it as a bucket list. Things commonly found on one’s bucket list include: Skydiving, travelling the world (or to some specific exotic destination), getting married and having a family,  read x number of books, go on a road trip, and do something huge for charity. I don’t think I have any of these items on what I would call my bucket list (except the travelling). These are 5 things that are on my bucket list:

Stand on a Broadway stage
I’ve written about my love of being on stage before. For someone like me who loves theatre and loves performing, a Broadway stage really seems like the ultimate destination. Performing on a Broadway stage would be amazing, but I really don’t have that kind of talent, but hey, a girl can dream. But even being taken backstage for a short tour and seeing the set and stage up close at a Broadway musical would be the best thing ever.

Have my name in the credits of a major blockbuster movie
There are hundreds of people who work on movies so why can’t I be one of them? Whether it’s through writing a screenplay (I think writing a movie script or a theatre play would be AMAZING) or being an extra or doing the marketing, I want to have my name in the credits. I’m well aware that no one ever watches the credits of a movie (unless it’s a Marvel movie and there’s a post-credits scene; either way they scroll way too fast for anyone to actually read) but that would still be pretty cool to be able to say that I worked on a movie.

Go to NYC and do an 8-show week
Going to NYC is in itself a bucket list item for me (soon, soon, soon I hope it will be crossed off). Most Broadway shows do 8 performances a week – generally one weekend and one midweek matinee, six evening performances and have one day off. While I wouldn’t be performing in an 8-show week, I want to go see 8 different Broadway shows in a week so that would be every evening and matinee performance. I think it would be amazing to see that many shows, that I would probably never otherwise get to see. Maybe then my Broadway craving will be satisfied.

Have my writing published
Sometimes I think I might want to be a writer when I grow up (but I actually have no idea what I want to do with my life so). I am in a writing program at school. I am also fortunate enough that there are many opportunities through school that I can submit my writing and possibly get it published. There’s even a course that I can (and will) take in my 4th year called Making a Book. I think that would be a great first step rather than having to find a publisher and delve into that on my own. I’m hoping that by the time I graduate from university, I will have at least a couple of pieces of published writing.

Go to Australia
I almost didn’t include this one because I will soon be able to cross this off my bucket list! I’m actually set to go to Australia in March 2018 for about 6 months for an international exchange through my school. I’m super excited to study at the University of Sydney and meet all kinds of people from Sydney and around the world. I’m also so excited to explore Australia while I’m there! It’s sure to be an experience of a lifetime.

What’s on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!

The Elitism of Broadway

I love theatre and Broadway shows and the theatre community but that doesn’t mean that Broadway is flawless. The theatre community is a wonderful, accepting, fun group of people, however theatre-goers, to a certain extent, are an elite community. Broadway, and theatre in general, is largely inaccessible (for several reasons) to most of the world, which is unfortunate because theatre tells great stories through great music and acting and it’s a chance to connect with like minded people. If we want to change the future of theatre there are some things that need to be fixed or at least addressed.

Problem #1: The Physical Geography
Theatre is very centralized in New York City. This makes sense because this is where Broadway is, which is the ultimate stage and destination for any piece of theatre. If you live in New York City or the Eastern Seaboard of the United States where you can get to NYC in a couple of hours at most, that’s great. But what about the other 6 978 600 000 people in the world? (I got that number by subtracting the population of the world [roughly 7.3 billion] from the population of the USA [about 321 million]). Fortunately, many successful Broadway shows go on National Tours but those are generally contained to the United States. Sometimes Canadian cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver get lucky and the Tours go there. But what about people in say Australia? Or China? Or Brazil? While I understand that theatre is part of North American culture, and might not be common everywhere in the world, I’m 99% sure there are people who love theatre who live in these countries that have NEVER seen a professional live show before. Getting on a plane and going to NYC or even a city where a National Tour is playing and then getting tickets to a 2.5 hour show is expensive and is just not possible for most people. Even people in Canada and the United States have trouble going to see theatre they really want to see because shows on Broadway generally don’t stay open forever (Unless you’re Wicked or Chicago or Phantom of the Opera) since there’s only 41 theatres with new shows being created all the time. Which brings me to problem number 2.

Problem #2: Bootlegs
**Before I get started on this let me say this: I disagree with bootleg culture because a) bootlegs are never good quality and nothing in the world compares to live theatre and b) the artists worked hard to create a piece of theatre that is meant to be seen live and c) it is illegal…HOWEVER, if there is a bootleg out there for a show that I know I will never get to see or has closed or whatever I will most likely watch it (after resisting watching for as long as I can) and just because I’ve seen a bootleg doesn’t mean I don’t want to see the show live because like I said, nothing in the world compares to live theatre.**

Bootleg culture (and by bootleg culture I mean people who actively search for and watch bootlegs and even those who record them) only exists because theatre is so inaccessible and most shows only stay open for so long. It’s a culture around sharing otherwise inaccessible theatre. Last spring, Tuck Everlasting opened on Broadway. This was one of my favourite books as a child and some of my favourite actors were starring in it. But the show closed after only 28 previews and 39 performances. This was a show that I really wanted to see and I tried to get to NYC to see it but I couldn’t. But I watched it through a bootleg and I so wish I had seen it live. Think about people who live on the other side of the world who can’t get to NYC but who heard a cast album and the cast album spoke to them, bootlegs might be the only way that they ever get to see the show. I did this with Next to Normal. I understand that bootlegs are disrespectful to the art of theatre but ultimately they do allow people to see the show in some capacity.

Problem #3: Ticket Prices 
I took first year economics so I understand the basics of inelastic supply and demand. Broadway theatres only have so many seats and sometimes the demand for tickets just drives the price up and up and up because it’s all about people’s willingness to pay (which is why shows like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen are so expensive). But there has to be a limit because honestly paying $400-$600 for a single ticket is a little ridiculous (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a broke student). Even the rush and student prices for shows are a little bit ridiculous too. And this isn’t even just Broadway. Any theatre ticket purchased in advance is going to be at least between $80-$120+. I understand a bit about how the business of theatre works (largely thanks to Smash tbh) – producers get people to invest, sometimes millions, in a show who ultimately want to turn a profit and in order to make a profit you have to have a certain minimum ticket price. But still, if you want people to see the show, people have to be able to afford to go to the show. This isn’t even mentioning the travel costs of getting to see theatre, whether it’s in NYC or not if you don’t live near somewhere where there’s theatre regularly. Theatre should not be exclusively for the upper class who have lots of money and disposable income.

So how do we fix these problems and make Broadway more accessible to theatre lovers around the world? There’s no easy answer but there are some things that can be done.

1) Professionally filmed recordings of ALL Broadway showsNewsies did this and released it in movie theatres AROUND THE WORLD and it was a huge success and now it’s even coming to digital copies in a few weeks. Hamilton also did this but the footage has been locked in a Gringotts vault for now. I truly believe that this is the future of theatre and all shows should be preserved like this, regardless of if they ever get shown to the public or not.

2) Expand the licensing rights of shows – If producers could license the shows to creators and creative teams around the world, people in so many other countries would be able to see the shows (and would contribute to the overall revenue of the show).

3) Set a maximum ticket price – I know the evil ticketbots make this hard but the reality is, millennials are the future of theatre. But millennials also aren’t going to have the disposable income and steady jobs that their parents and baby boomers had. Millennials are also going to be in so much debt from school and student loans. We want to be able to see theatre, we really do but right now theatre is too expensive.

The theatre is a wonderful, welcoming, inspiring place but things need to change. The theatre should be a place for everyone because there are so many important stories that are told and shared in the theatre, not just for those who can afford it in a certain part of the world. The world so desperately needs the influence of theatre and the creatives behind it all but if they want it to have global influence (as it should) then we need to work on making theatre more accessible to everyone around the world.

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments!