Thursday, September 13, 2012

Different Doesn't Mean Bad...Does It?

Tomorrow night I head out to see a production of a show I’ve seen live on stage one time (on tour), and numerous times on youtube (the original Broadway production). This won’t be the first time I’ve seen a show on Broadway and then in a regional or community theatre, or a show in more than one production. It’s very strange at times. Strange because you “know” the Broadway cast. You have the cast recording. You know those voices.

When I saw Wicked the first time, it was on tour in a town close to me. I loved it! But I couldn’t help but think how weird it sounded, hearing someone other than Idina Menzel or Kristin Chenoweth singing for Elphaba and Glinda. It didn’t take anything away from my experience, but it was in the back of my head, nonetheless.

When I saw a regional production of Next to Normal, after seeing the amazing OBC in New York, I went into it knowing it would be different. I didn’t expect it to be the same as the original. And I LOVED it.

The same thing should apply to all productions, right? If you can go into it understanding that there is no WAY it can be the same as the original, and accept that it won’t be, you should be able to enjoy it for what it is. Even love it.

But that is where I stumble. I’m having trouble with the new touring cast of American Idiot. I have no doubts that they are talented. I have no doubts that they will do a good job. Goodness knows, I want as many people as possible to be able to see the show. I love the show too much to wish that it stopped after the first national tour ended. I also know that it will be very difficult for smaller regional theatres to produce this show. It’s very technical. The flying alone is more than most smaller theatres could deal with.

My love for the first national tour cast of American Idiot is more than my love for anything other theatre related thing….ever. Really. That alone has made a different cast hard to swallow. Not that I don’t have faith that they can do it. But that I was so attached, and change is hard.

Today I saw an article on Playbill that had the promotional pictures from the new cast. It was strange to me. As excited as I am that I’ll get to see the show again, and as excited as I am to see what changes have come with having a new cast, it’s weird. I look at the pictures and the “right” people aren’t in them. The costumes are different. The faces are different. I know the voices will be different.

New Idiot Tour Cast

Different doesn’t mean bad. But even the different pictures make me realize how badly I miss the first national tour cast. And wonder if I’ll be able to get past myself to be able to at least enjoy this new tour. I hope so. I really do. I was able to make the transition from Broadway cast to tour cast. But I’m almost afraid that the first national tour cast cemented themselves so deeply in my heart that I won’t be able to get past them.

But I’m trying to accept. I’ve started out following the new cast members on twitter. Then maybe I can feel a little more like I know them when I see the show on tour. Perhaps I’ll even grow to love them. But fear not, my first national tour cast. No one will ever take your place in my heart.

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