Ignorant audience members sabotage 'Seussical'


I can't give you, good reader, a complete report on RagTag Entertainment's "Seussical" because I walked out on it.

From the moment this version of the musical based on the Dr. Seuss characters started, I began to get a headache. The uncredited sound was so overamplified that I cringed whenever someone was about to sing or shout (which was 98 percent of the time). The crackle and pop over the speakers was torture. And the mix was so bad that duets were often solos.

I suspect the problem may have been lack of rehearsal time at the playing space; but if so, that's no excuse. You can't have a watchable show if it's not listenable. I've never before heard sound that so single-handedly destroyed a production.

Secondly, there was all that flash photography. I asked about a half-dozen people to stop blinding me, but there were too many of the enemy. After I spoke to an usher, a security guard began trying to deal with the offenders, but he missed more than he caught. (All of the ushers should have been on the prowl.)

Then there was the man taking pictures right at the foot at the stage and then walking around clicking away. I was about to speak to the usher again, when I spotted another photographer setting up his tripod. That was it. After 50 minutes, despite my desire to stay out of professional responsibility, I surrendered.

From what I saw, this tale about a boy finding himself was all glitz and no heart. Emotional numbers such as "Alone in the Universe" had two performers hitting every note perfectly but projecting little vulnerability.

Director Benjamin Loewy was trying to wow with bigness when a little humanity would have been more impressive.

But the biggest offense, apart from the sound, is that producer Andrew Wright and director Lowey should know that these days you have to have a plan in place to deal with ignorant audiences. By doing nothing - by not even making an announcement reminding all of us how to behave during a public performance - Wright and Lowey have sabotaged their own work. They've been around long enough to know better.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at vegastheaterchat@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

 

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