Archive for September, 2011

The 2011-2012 touring season is just about to begin, and may have even officially begun in certain markets. For 11-12 The Road will include shows that opened on Broadway during the 09-10 season such as MEMPHIS, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. In addition to these new shows, there will also be the usual blockbusters that have been on The Road for years such as WICKED, JERSEY BOYS and MAMMA MIA.

In between the old standby blockbusters and the new productions, you will also have your titles that come back after having gone out last season, and possibly even the season before that, and maybe even a season or so further back. Most of these traditional shows have at this point been restructured to be less expensive, and so are now either at a lower AEA contract, or may have been rebuilt altogether as Non-Equity tours.

The thing about Non-Equity tours is that, just like the bigger, more expensive AEA shows, these productions also need to book a minimum number of weeks to build a viable tour, or else they simply can’t afford to go out. Many of the smaller markets are typically on the route of Non-Equity tours and so the folks in these areas will likely be accustomed to the scaled down, less seasoned feel of this level of production. But ultimately, these tours do need to potentially hit more major markets, simply for routing purposes as they move from one place to another. This isn’t always the best of circumstances for a Non-Equity show since larger cities are used to a certain level of quality.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is one example of a tour that has been out for several years now and, while it was indeed on Broadway at one point, it is now a Non-Equity tour. While reviewers are not necessarily on the same wavelength as ticket buyers, and this show continues to draw audiences around North America, here is a review of the show that takes issue with the show being Non-Equity and playing a large theatre market like Chicago:

“Belle and Mr. Beast save an otherwise hairy production”

As a basis of comparison, here is what smaller market Providence had to say about the same touring production back when it first started in Feb 2010:

“A beauty of a ‘Beast at PPAC”

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