I worked on Broadway for the better part of seven or eight years. I loved working on Broadway; I got into that rhythm of eight shows a week, I always stood ready and looking my sharpest when the house doors opened, I met some really cool people, and I always felt like Broadway had a certain integrity that the other finer arts just didn’t have.
I felt that way. Now? Not so much.
It seems Broadway is just as ready to sell her audience down the river as anywhere else. Of course I should have known this the third time they brought Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane back to keep “The Producers” running. Of course I should have known this when Duncan Sheik started writing scores. Of course I should have known this when Disney, Billy Joel, and Abba had lengthy runs on the Rialto (“Mama Mia,” the Abba musical I had worked a number of times is surprisingly good…see? Even I’m susceptible to it!)
However it’s this most recent travesty; a travesty which just opened its doors on Election Day 2010, which has me most upset. I’m talking of course about “Elf” on Broadway. “Elf,” the musical. Yes the same “Elf” of the Will Ferrell film. Of course Will Ferrell can pull off “Elf” and of course without Will Ferrell (barely tolerable though it is with him) that film falls to pieces.
The worst part about it is that “Elf” is playing in my old house. The Al Hirschfeld Theatre (renamed that from the Martin Beck Theatre when the famous cartoonist Hirschfeld died). I love that space and I’d love to go back but “Elf” the Broadway musical? I can’t imagine that any good could come of that. I thought the same thing when I first saw the signage for it, I thought the same thing when I took these pictures in October, and I am no more inclined to want to see “Elf” the Musical even though I could probably go back there and see a lot of old friends and former co-workers.
So I silently lament and hope that something worth seeing comes to the Hirschfeld after the “strictly limited engagement” of “Elf” the Broadway musical. I can’t imagine they could keep people much past New Years. Even the Rockettes go away after the Holidays. And that’s the Rockettes.
Tickets are also egregiously overpriced. If you’re going to go to see “Elf” the Musical do yourself a favor and get rush seats (day of tickets) and go on a weekday. You’ll get seats for the back rows but because no one will bother with “Elf” the Musical, you’ll get to move down.
And even if you have to sit in the back row, The Hirschfeld is small enough that there’s really no bad seats in the house.