The Resource For Musicals



Cats Forum


Reply to topic  [ 54 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Open letter to Troika LLC 
Author Message
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post Open letter to Troika LLC
Hi there!

I've been a fan of Cats since it was on Broadway in the mid-80's and have seen many tours come and go. I saw it at ASU's Gammage Auditorium last night, and have some questions for you regarding the obvious cost-cutting in the tour versus the Equity tours that ran in the '80s and '90s.

1) What happened to the 'hard set' you purchased from the company that ran Tour IV? If you still have it, why don't you use it as much? It seemed like the set last night (7 April 2009) was a combination of the inflatable set and the hard set. I know that word among the fans is that the 'bouncy set,' as it's called, looks cheap and substandard compared to the 'hard set.' I understand that the bouncy set fits in smaller theatres, but it seems like you try to use that set whenever possible even in large venues like Gammage. The hard set frankly looks better and more authentic to the original.

2) Because of the soft set, Mistoffelees cannot make his descent from the ceiling as he could in the Broadway version--instead he sneaks in from the back. Now when it was last at Gammage in 2006, Mistoffelees entered by the 'rope trick' stunt. Last night that wasn't the case. I noticed there were technical problems with the hatch in the ceiling where the shoe comes out. If this was a technical problem, that's fine, these things happen. However, if Mistoffelees coming in through the back is now standard procedure, it doesn't work nearly as well from a dramatic perspective. Once again, this is NOT how it was done in NYC. Please change it to the correct staging. I'm sure there's a way to do this with the smaller soft set. And if the reason the staging has changed is because the lighted bolero jacket is no longer used, this is unacceptable. That alone should not cause the staging to be changed in such a manner.

3)I understand that you chopped out 'Pekes and Pollicles' to cut costs on props. If you're advertising it as the Broadway original, why did you cut this full number out, as well as cut out half the 'Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser' number, the extra chorus from the 'Invitation to the Jellicle Ball,' and other little nips and tucks here and there? Was it merely to shorten the total runtime? If so, you shouldn't be advertising it as the Broadway show unless it is the FULL show as performed in the Winter Garden Theatre in NYC from 1982-2000.

If you're going to charge $65-80 for tickets as you often do, please revise the staging to justify the costs. What you're serving the patrons is a stripped-down version of the original that is in danger of becoming a shadow of the spectacle that made Cats the longest-running show on Broadway before Phantom of the Opera. And for the record, Phantom only charges about $10-15 more per ticket and they have to rebuild Gammage to fit their technical specifications. The difference is that the company who runs Phantom is interested in bringing an authentic Broadway experience to fans and theatregoers across the country, not cheapened, fast-food versions of the original shows.

Thank you for reading and I hope you take my suggestions under consideration. These are shared by many Cats fans around the US and Canada, and restoring Cats to its original splendour would make a great many people very happy.

Sincerely,

Cat

_________________
Image


Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:25 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2002 6:22 pm
Posts: 1522
Location: Southern California USA
Current Obsession: Fanfiction - CATS
Post Re: Open letter to Troika LLC
darkmage wrote:
1) What happened to the 'hard set' you purchased from the company that ran Tour IV?

Darkmage? The way I understood it, the inflatable set takes up 2 crates (one double-size and one reg) in the truck (thus making it easier to transport), and only 2 hours to put up rather than the 7 hours I think the hard set takes. Thus, less hassle for the crew. However, I imagine the set is starting to get a bit ragged and needs to be replaced in spots. The 'oil drum' area really needs help...

darkmage wrote:
2) Because of the soft set, Mistoffelees cannot make his descent from the ceiling as he could in the Broadway version--instead he sneaks in from the back.

Here, the only safe way to do this would be to have your own crew for it. When I saw the Edinburgh set (Plastic on bracing), they had a full setup for the lighting, the staircase and the drop hole for Misto. The company had its own crew for this feature. For the US Tour, they do not have this luxury, and have to rely on local crews... thankyoubutno...

#3 - I agree with that one...

#4 - ticket pricing... I do not mind the price either if they gave a full performance. The thing that really bothers me is the number of tickets that are almost instantly grabbed by other ticket sellers (i.e., TM, Cheaptickets, etc.). These companies get good seats, charge double or treble the box office price, and only give them up at the very last moment. Granted, I like the convenience of TM - being online and not one second in my car - but I hate the "convenience" prices. I wanted Wicked tickets for a matinee here in SoCAL, and 2 tickets with all the 'stuff' with it would have cost me 193 usd...

I wish you luck if you send it. My guess is that you will get a friendly, "We wish to thank you for your letter..." and then ignore you... Still, I think you speak for a lot of us.

Rumblepurr
The Writer Cat...

_________________
Image SINCE JANUARY 2009
CLICK HERE TO GO TO WEBPAGE


Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:33 pm
Profile WWW
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post 
I get mine from a Ticketmaster outlet as I hate all the Internet charges. I *would* get them from Gammage's box office and avoid the fees altogether but their hours are not convenient for me AT ALL. They still charge me a $9.50 service charge, but it's still cheaper than the $25 they want per ticket if I order over the Web.

Troika doesn't have any control over the scalpers, unfortunately. And Ticketmaster is now getting sued over the TicketsNow reselling debacle. I'm not sure if you heard about it, but here's are a couple stories:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/0 ... ft_ou.html

And from a local victim: http://www.azfamily.com/news/3oys/stori ... 762af.html

When the US Justice Dept. gets involved it's usually bad...

What I don't like is the advertised price being so high and they seem to slice a little bit more out of the show each time. :?

_________________
Image


Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:44 pm
Profile
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post 
Sorry for double posting, but after rereading this thread and some other things people mentioned elsewhere about the tour I had to add something.

Rumblepurr: I understand what you're saying about not trusting local crews, but local crews install all the ceiling rigging and the lift for the Journey, right? So if that's in working order why can't they spend an extra couple of hours making sure the rope trick works? Surely it's easier than installing the hydraulic lifts for the tire and the cherry picker that weigh God knows how much. :?

I'm really finding the latest cuts unacceptable. If they can't do this right then Troika needs to stop running the tour and RUG should assign the license to someone who can stage things properly. Incidentally this is the reason I ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT attend a regional production of Cats. If they're not using the staging, costumes, and libretto as it was when Cats was in NYC at the time it closed (fall 2000) then it's not an authentic version. Instead the regional production should be billed as 'a musical based on Cats' or 'a revue of the music of Cats' but not as the authentic musical itself--because it's not. :?

_________________
Image


Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:12 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2002 6:22 pm
Posts: 1522
Location: Southern California USA
Current Obsession: Fanfiction - CATS
Post Actually...
I asked one time during a backstage tour about crews... As far as the sets and lighting goes, the Company (Troika) essentially uses the local crews ONLY to set up and take down. The Tour has a crew - basically a chief and two or three assistants - that journeys with the cast. These are the people who are responsible for the show. To add crew for the special effects would cost more, depending upon the skills required. That is part of the problem with the tech staff: the budget would really go high to pay local crews to do the job...

Respectfully,
Rumblepurr
The Writer Cat.

_________________
Image SINCE JANUARY 2009
CLICK HERE TO GO TO WEBPAGE


Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:27 pm
Profile WWW
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post 
Well, here's the thing: when the ticket prices are adjusted for inflation, the Equity tour WITH all the special effects and numbers intact was actually *cheaper* per ticket than the Troika tour! And unlike Troika, everything was union labour which usually costs more. What's up with that? I think if Troika's going to keep cutting bits out of the show they should cut the ticket prices accordingly. If not, they should hire a decent tech crew that can do all the effects and restore the cut bits. :?

My $3.

_________________
Image


Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:39 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2002 6:22 pm
Posts: 1522
Location: Southern California USA
Current Obsession: Fanfiction - CATS
Post Agree
NO argument with that statement. I think that goes with any show, actually. Let us know if you get a reply - other than the "Thank you for your concern..." type of letter.

Rumblepurr
The Writer Cat

_________________
Image SINCE JANUARY 2009
CLICK HERE TO GO TO WEBPAGE


Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:51 pm
Profile WWW
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post 
I will.

I'll post it 'across the street' at the CCDB too...but for right now no guarantees. *shrug*

_________________
Image


Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:26 am
Profile
Chorus Member
Chorus Member
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:17 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Post 
I saw it at Gammage as well and had no idea things were missing... However, those around me who had seen the show in years past were muttering their complaints.

And I agree whole-heartedly on the ticket prices of Gammage... Granted, I get half-price since I am a student there, but tickets for the "general" public are outrageous!

_________________
Image


Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:56 am
Profile
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post 
It's not Gammage as much as it is Ticketmaster and the tour company. When it was at Mesa Arts Center back in spring 2007, the tickets were still about $60, but they didn't go through TM, thank God. So there weren't any obscene service fees. IIRC Theatre League has their own setup.

If you haven't seen it before then I'd understand why you wouldn't know anything was missing. I wonder if those people who were complaining about the missing parts will contact Troika as well. Even if they call Gammage and tell the staff there what they didn't like it usually trickles back to the tour company, so there's hope. :?

_________________
Image


Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:07 pm
Profile
Chorus Member
Chorus Member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 5:25 am
Posts: 82
Location: Canada
Post 
Darkmage, I have to step in here and say that I'm really sorry you'll never give a regional a try.

To be perfectly honest, the best shows I've seen were the local regionals.

Yes, the costumes weren't exact (the colours were wrong and figuring out which cat was which at the beginning was interesting) and the set wasn't as polished, but the energy of the show (which actually had the proper staging, as much as the size of the stage would allow due to some of the actors having experience in Germany, Toronto and Paris) was incredible.

Anytime I've seen the tour, the actors seemed exhausted, which is understandable all things considered, and that seemed to take away from the show for me.

I understand where you're coming from, as far as some regionals go, what with the "amusement park" theme of the one production, and the excessive leopard print costumes of another. I just wanted to give a good review of a regional because they aren't all cut from the same cloth, and sometimes you do find a gem in the mud.

_________________
Image Hi I'm Saff and this is me from Tales of New Winter...


Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:58 am
Profile ICQ YIM WWW
Tony Winner
Tony Winner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:14 am
Posts: 383
Location: SW Desert
Post 
I understand what you're saying.

My regional experience was a very bad one. A local theatre here was one of the first in the country to get the rights, so I figured, OK, I'd give it a shot. The costumes were cheap looking and very very worn. The set looked like it was thrown together at the local elementary school, and the choreography quite literally consisted of everyone WALKING IN TIME for two hours. :? There was no acting feline at all. Not to mention that the performance was marred by technical glitches like mikes failing and speakers blowing out that should have been taken care of during technical rehearsals. And this was supposed to be a professional production? HAHAHA I think not. :? Marc Robin should have a court order keeping him from ever trying to stage a production of Cats again while hereby relegating him to forever directing and choreographing junior high productions of the Pirates of Penzance. :evil:

That having been said, the cast did the best with what they could and sang like angels. I would have loved to have seen these people in a REAL production of Cats, esp. because the guy who played the Tugger did so in one of the National Tours. I rather felt sorry for him.

Frankly Cats is a brand, just like Starbucks or Coca-Cola or the Gap. I like knowing what I'm getting, more or less, as soon as I pay for my tickets. With regionals I don't have that guarantee, so I'd rather not spend the money on an unknown quantity.

_________________
Image


Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:59 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 54 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.