AS YOU WATCH 42ND STREET
THEATER is a living, real-time event and place where performers and audience members interact; energy is shared and a rapport is established. Theater is also a paradoxical art form. It lives in many realms. In his book aptly titled Theatre, author Robert Cohen suggests that:
- Theater is spontaneous, yet it is rehearsed
- Theater is participatory, yet it is presented
- Theater is real, yet it is simulated
- Theater is unique to the moment, yet it is repeatable
- Actors are themselves, yet they are characters
In producing the All-City Musical, CMSD students are engaging in one of the oldest and most treasured art forms. They are story-tellers who will bring to life the characters and world of 42nd Street.
As you bear witness to their performance, it is good to remember that while the actors are tapping into genuine feelings and emotions, they are taking on the roles of characters who may be entirely different from who they are off-stage. Their actions, behaviors and costumes are reflective of character choices and demands of the script.
As an audience member, you are not directly part of the action, but your responses will certainly shape the performance that you attend. In order to truly support the performers and soak in the full experience, there are a few things to consider:
- Be a good listener. As a general rule, if you can hear and see the actors, they can hear and see you. Talking and movement is distracting to them as well as other audience members.
- Turn off your cell phone and do not text.
- Keep hands and feet to yourself.
- Do not leave your seat unless it is an emergency.
- Unwrap any noisy food items BEFORE the performance begins.
- Laugh at the parts that are funny; cry at the parts that are sad.
Most importantly, come to the theater with an open mind. Suspend judgment and commentary until after the performance. Give yourself permission to immerse yourself in the story, the music and the journey of the characters. Even if you discover that theater or this particular production is not your thing, acknowledge the enormous amount of work, skill and courage that it takes for fellow students to perform in such a large-scale production.
The best way to show appreciation is by clapping at the end of the performance. Applause says “Thank you! You’re great!” If you really enjoy the show, give the performers a standing ovation by standing up and clapping during the bows.
—Jodi Maile Kirk, Associate Director of Active Learning, The Musical Theater Project
What were your favorite aspects of Bring It On: The Musical? How did the visual elements--the set, costume and lighting design—elevate the production values of the performance? Which character, if any, do you think grew the most? What moments stood out? Discuss.