The Grammy Awards, 'Wonderful Life' and more

December 3, 2009
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Time to empty the notebook:

--The Grammy Award nominations have been announced and while pop singers get a lot more attention, I’d like to point out how regionally diverse the top five are for Best Classical Album. Represented are the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia. Who says everything worthwhile in the arts comes from New York? Details here.

--John Leguizamo’s latest one-man show, which had an in-progress performance at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, at last has a name. It’s being called “John Leguizamo’s Diary of a Madman.” Latest stop: San Diego. Details here.

--In the mood for one of the greatest films of all time? Sure you are. Tonight, UA Circle Centre will be screening “It’s a Wonderful Life” tonight (Dec. 3). Pre-show festivities include appetizers, games, and a trivia contest hosted by your’s truly. Tickets are only $5, with proceeds going to Downtown Indianapolis beautification. Details here.

--Go see "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."

--Hope Baugh, a frequent poster here, raised an interesting question on her Indy Theatre Habit blog recently. What do you do when a fellow audience member’s laugh drives you to distraction. Read the post, part of her review of “Chicago,” here.

--I encourage theater professionals and those interested in the marketing of the arts to take a look here. It's actually a commentary from the always-reliable Clyde Fitch Report on another article, in the Guardian. Both concern the state of stage photography.

My question: How much should the images released to media or used in ads or on websites reveal about the shows themselves? I think that many of the amateurish images sent by some local theaters would actually repel potential audiences rather than attract them, but there are exceptions.Can you recall a time when photography from a play made you want to see it?

Your thoughts?

  • Link for It's a Wonderful Life Event
    Hey Lou, I thought this link is a little more descriptive for tonight:

    Hope this helps... and see you tonight.
  • Photos
    Good heavens! I not only made it into Lou's notebook, I made it onto Lou's blog! (hee hee hee)

    Thanks for the shout, Lou.

    Fascinating questions about the purpose of stage photos. I don't always have a lot of choice in terms of photos to put on my blog, but when I do, I first pick out the photos that please me the most as photos - i.e., little works of art in and of themselves, with beautiful colors, lovely compositions, emotions perfectly captured, etc.

    Then, from those, I think about which one will best enhance what I've said in my post.

    Huh. I hadn't thought about it much before, but I just realized that I pick photos more to make my blog attractive than to give anyone an idea of what the show is like.

    Sometimes, in fact, I choose not to post a photo that I particularly like because it gives too much away about the set or costumes or whatever.

    On the other hand, sometimes I choose a photo of a chorus girl instead of a lead in order to show how gorgeous the costumes are.


    Yeah, I'm curious what other people think about this topic.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • Photos
    My pet peeve about theater production shots, after many years of reviewing theater both in Indianapolis and nationally, is the photo that has nothing to do with what you will see on stage. For instance, the photos taken in Univeristy Park to promote a Shakespearean show that will be performed indoors. I think the photos should tell you something about what you are going to see on stage. And thanks for the heads up on Hope's blog. She is doing a very fine job.
    Marion Garmel
    Retired theater critic
    The Indianapolis Star
  • Thank you! (and more photo talk)
    Marion, you made my day! Thanks very much for your kind words.

    I've been thinking some more about publicity photos. The author of the original article that Lou linked to was complaining because he saw a trend for London professional theatres to only use photos of celebrities' heads or upper torsos. I.e. - photos that gave the reader no information about the show beyond the fact that there was a celebrity actor or two in it.

    I guess I don't write about many shows that have nationally-known celebrities, but I agree that using only their close-up photos would get boring.

    I also agree with Marion that the photos should not mislead the reader.

    I still think, though, that there is the potential for a photo to be a spoiler. Or for a photo to make a powerful, "pure acting" piece look boring when it is not.

    A lot depends on the photographer, of course. I remember a conversaton I had with local photographer Julie Curry several months ago. She shared with me what an exciting learning experience it had been for her to take photos of Dance Kaleidoscope, I think it was. Anyway, some dance company as opposed to a theatre company. She said she learned a lot from the dancers about what the ultimate moment was to capture in a dance photo - the perfectly positioned pinacle of a leap or a lift or whatever.

    Julie Curry took the head shots that I use on my blog...and on my Facebook profile...and on my Smaller Indiana profile...and on publicity for my storytelling programs...and on the staff directory at my day job. I get fresh compliments every time I use one of those head shots because I look like me at my best. What a great return on my investment!

    I think the best show photos make a show look its best, too. Whenever a theatre sends me a collection of photos to choose from that were taken by Julie Curry, I always find something I want to use on my blog. (That is true of some other local photographers, too, but I seem to receive more that have been taken by Julie.)

    Anyway, in answer to one of your original questions, Lou, I don't think an amateur (sp?) photo has ever turned me off to seeing a show, but a good, professional photo can help a lot towards making a show attractive to people who don't know anything about it.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit

  • HONEST photo
    Wait - I want to add the word "honest" to that last sentence. A good, professional, HONEST photo can help a lot towards making a show attractive to people who don't know anything about it.


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