As some of you know, in addition to blogging about musical theater and teaching it at the Boston Conservatory, I'm also a freelance writer and editor. Recently, I received my first assignment from The Advocate, the national news magazine for the LGBT community. The assignment was to find and profile gays and lesbians who had been significantly affected by the recent economic downturn.
As I was thinking about whom I could profile, I had a sudden inspiration. What about the [title of show] guys? Although there are various opinions on why the show [sniff sniff] closed, there seems little question that the struggling economy had something to do with it. So I gave Hunter Bell a shout, and he graciously agreed to participate in the article.
Alas, as I know all too well from my many years of journalism, all the stuff you hope to include in an article doesn't always make it into print. Although I was assigned to write three profiles, I actually wrote five, and The Advocate wound up using four of them. (The article posted to The Advocate's Web site today, and and hits the newsstands November 18th.) Hunter unfortunately got cut, not because the story wasn't compelling, but rather because we were going for a diverse mix of people, and we already had a story from someone in New York.
So, the folks at The Advocate have graciously allowed me to run Hunter's profile here on my blog. And here it is:
Recessionary Tremors: Hunter Bell
Hunter Bell is convinced that, were it not for the economic downturn, his show would still be on Broadway. And he means to bring it back
On October 12th, 2008, Hunter Bell was starring in his own Broadway musical. On October 17th, he filed for unemployment.
Before it opened on Broadway in August, the musical [title of show] was a bit of an Off-Broadway
phenomenon. The show’s plot relates how
Unfortunately, the show only ran about three months, limping along at about 30% capacity at Broadway’s historic Lyceum Theater. Catty insiders blamed the show’s demise on its insular focus: much of the show’s considerable humor derives from its barrage of obscure theater-related references. But [title of show] librettist Hunter Bell thinks the show could have crossed over to attract a more mainstream audience, had it not been for the current economic uncertainty.
“We knew it was going to be a struggle,” says
Bell says the show’s success was hampered by an economic double whammy. First, audiences currently have less expendable income, and are thus less likely to take a chance on an unknown show. “And I understand that totally,” he says “People are being a lot more careful with their money, and maybe see theater as a luxury.”
Second, investors have less available capital to keep the show
open long enough to build awareness as well as a healthy advance ticket sale. “We
had some really smart, awesome producers,” says
As for future earnings prospects,
But the show’s licensing future depends on what’s next for [title of show] in what
There’s not a question in