Blog 9 – Dealing with nervous parents!
Dealing with the nervous parents!
We all go to the theatre to be moved….to feel something….to connect. And nothing does this better than musicals. Often times, this experience involves shows that have “controversial” material. CABARET, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, and even LES MISERABLES have caused some parents, administrators and even colleagues to say, “why don’t you choose something more family friendly?” Of course, our answer is because these musicals are powerful, have a strong message and have great music! All of the above musicals are also award winning and tend to be great sellers! So, here are some thoughts to help get these shows off the ground.
- Start early – propose the idea to some sympathetic and well connected families first. Get them on your side. Play the music for them, if they have not heard it yet. Gauge how they react to your choice. You will know very quickly if the show will work. Remember, if you cannot get your supporters to say yes, you will not be able to get the administration or other parents to say yes.
- Emphasize the teaching possibilities – CABARET is a great example. The coming of the Nazis to Germany along with the plight of the Jews fits right into history class. Same thing for LES MISERABLES – Hugo’s novel may already be taught in literature classes.
- Be ready to compromise…You may have to alter the costumes and the dance numbers to keep the show on track. A NOTE ABOUT CUTS – some of the licensing companies offer alternative language for some shows, but be wary about cutting dialogue or songs without permission.
- Finally….if, after you connect, teach and compromise and if you have already rehearsed the show and are ready to go…but you are told you must stop, consider finding another venue. A neutral location with participants whose parents have given permission may be perfect – often school administrators appreciate this alternative. Those who do not want to go, will not go. Those who want to go will show up multiple times – and you will probably get press coverage. Remember – David Merrick – the legendary Broadway producer claimed that any press coverage is good.
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