re: Do actors prefer specific performance days?
Posted by: portenopete 11:08 am EST 02/09/24
In reply to: re: Do actors prefer specific performance days? - Singapore/Fling 10:20 am EST 02/09/24

"Being a professional means you understand your [sic] are doing a job and should therefore not choose physical harm over taking the day off."

So there, Zelgo. Don't you feel bad about asking your question?

I know it's tempting to long for a bygone era where actors never missed performances, but Merman may have been a one-off. I believe Julie Andrews was frequently absent from MY FAIR LADY because Eliza is a huge, demanding role and sounds horrible when sung by someone who is battling laryngitic demons. And a lot of musicals today seem far more demanding than many of the Golden Age shows and I can understand that they put a greater demand on voices and also that they are not roles where one can scrape by with limited vocal resources.

But when producers are charging $200, $400, $600 to see a show based on the presence of well-known celebrity names, then it's not unreasonable for an audience member to want as much information as possible in order to make an educated guess about when to buy tickets for. (I'm tempted to say it's a mug's game and hard to predict in most cases.)

But as someone who has been working professionally for almost forty years, it seems undeniable to me that (most) actors treat (most) absences much more casually now, and that attitude has risen sharply since COVID. And the number of planned absences for extracurricular work has risen, too. But that's been happening for decades. Of course producers agree to these absences in advance and most shows announce them, but I expect the average punter misses the news flash.

(I'm a bit mystified that understudies don't rehearse alongside the principal cast from day one. In the case of Isabel Keating in DOUBT, I'd have thought she would be rehearsing in a separate rehearsal room with the other covers and maybe even get swung in with Schreiber, Kazan and the actress playing the mother.)

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