Musical theatre workshops and productions

What do ALTAR BOYZ, 1776 and GRAND HOTEL have in common?


What do ALTAR BOYZ, 1776 and GRAND HOTEL have in common?  All were originally conceived to be performed without an intermission.  How do you feel about musicals without intermission?  My mentor Ken Davenport has written several blogs about this.  He also has some great ideas about how to make intermissions  more interesting.

When I was an actor, I loved intermissions.  They gave me a chance to catch my breath, use the washroom and gather my strength for the second act.  As a producer, I love intermissions – it gives me the chance to sell refreshments and talk with the audience members.  As an audience member – I hate intermissions.  If the show is about the length of a movie – no intermission, I say.

More and more audiences want to experience the theatre and then go home.  Almost every audience member I talk with says – “No intermission”.   Imagine the time when theatre goers used to eat dinner after the show – about 11:30pm!  Not anymore.  (Even on Broadway it is difficult to find a nice restaurant that is open for dinner at that time.)

1776-musical1776 opened on Broadway without an intermission.  It was added during the national tour.  I am told that Tommy Tune created GRAND HOTEL with no intermission to keep the audiences in their seats – although I thought the show was magnificent from the beginning to the end.

A CHORUS LINE had no intermission initially, but I have seen many productions that have added an intermission.  (Especially in this show where the cast remains on the stage most of the time, an intermission is most welcome by the actors.)

MAN OF LA MANCHA – no intermission.  I had a friend in the last revival on Broadway and he begged for an intermission.  He said the show was so difficult that the actors needed a break.

Some creators of musicals do not put intermission into their shows because they do not want to lose the momentum.   They want the action to continue with no break.  Other shows need an intermission.  They need to send the audience out wanting to come back to see the conclusion.

What are your thoughts about intermission?  Like em?  Don’t like em?

Larry Little


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