April in Paris?
Today was perfect. A day like today can make anyone swoon. I was enjoying each moment when I swooned my way over to the cell and was blown away by 'Limonade Tous les Jours.' I mean I was transported to Paris and fell in love! The experience was so wonderful that I wondered why these precious little productions don’t happen all the time. It didn’t take long for me to figure it out. In a word: $
Warning: Rant ahead
Here’s what I know. This production cost well over $20, 000. Sadly, such a budget does not buy much. Sadly, marvelous actors, designers, and staff all work for a pittance. Sets are designed on a shoestring. Producers and directors invest their lives hoping to get noticed, which is virtually impossible, unless there is a big name attached to a project. Even with a generously discounted rent, if the show runs for three weeks, the limit set by Equity, even if it sells out every performance, in a 60 seat theater, like ours, it won’t break even. A Showcase, such as this, can’t even charge more than $18.00 per ticket because Equity won’t allow it.
All this leads me to believe that Equity, initially set up to protect the actors, essentially ensures the failure of small theaters, and non-Equity actors in this great city. It does, however, protect the interests of commercial theater. Whose fault is it anyway? Producers who are looking to score BIG $$? Or is it the audience that demands the high budget glitz that is Broadway now? I’m not knockin’ B’dwy because New York thrives on tourism, and B’dwy is certainly a big part of what makes New York New York. But, do we, the artists who live and work here, have to move south of the Mason-Dixon line to find a way to make ends meet?
In the two years we have been open, the cell has never spent that much $ on a production. It can’t afford to. So what’s a theater to do?
All I can say is hurry on over. An $18.00 ticket for a show with a stellar cast, a magnificent set, music, dance and real romance…IMPOSSIBLE!!!