Musical theatre workshops and productions

Large or Small?

We all like large bank accounts and small problems.  But we all like small warts and large returns on our investments.  So, which one is better?  The answer is……it depends.  Depends on many, many things.  That is why we created the large cast version of the new musical I am producing. On Tuesday, I was in the audience for opening night of the first performance of the pilot production of the large cast version of NUMBERS NERDS.

Shout out to Tina Reynolds who knocked it out of the park and all of her incredibly talented students at Bravo Performing Arts in Oak Park, Illinois.

So, here is what I learned from seeing the large cast version.

  • You can add an ensemble to almost any number. It is easy to add additional singers to a number that is already written for all characters, but it is not so easy to add ensemble to solos.  Here is what I saw.  An ensemble was added to Melissa’s solo “Melissa’s First Theorem” – they did not sing, but they did play characters in the song.  At one point, a whole bunch of “Einsteins” came on stage wearing Einstein wigs!  And in “Public Speaking 101” a tap dancing chorus backed up the actress playing Ms. McGery. WELL DONE!
  • Large casts sell tickets. Although I have always known this – my former boss used to say “Small casts mean small sales” – all of the performances are sold out for the rest of the run. Large casts also mean large budgets – so it is a balancing act between spending money and making money. I also realize that sometimes, a director only has a small pool of actors to choose from, so here is where the regular version of NUMBERS NERDS works well.
  • Schools love to put an intermission in the show. NUMBERS NERDS was written knowing that the show could be done with or without an intermission.  Our magnificent writers added a great song at the end of the first part, and if you add an intermission the audience knows it. (A lot of extra money was generated by selling soda, candy and yes….water at intermission.) But if you want to move the show along (the show runs about 90 minutes total), no intermission.  And the show flows just as well.

I have included some pictures from the large cast show so you get a “taste” of it.

I go back today for another taste….cannot wait.
Larry Little

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