Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MDQ Shut Out. Really??

Im treading dangerously into sour grapes territory here so I have to lay out a brief defense of the whine Im about to go on and accordingly this would probably be a good time to go lawyer and mention that these are my opinions alone and almost certainly don't reflect anyone else's involved with the show in anyway shape or form.

Our show got shut out at the Jeff's last night. Now the little shred of integrity Im struggling to stand on here is that I was not a part of the cast when it was nominated and so my work really was not a part of that recognition. I didn't identify with that honor in this case because I didn't earn it. In fact I offered to let the previous actor go in my place since he had more to do with it than I did and had we won I wouldn't have felt like I had a helluva lot to do with it in any event. So Im claiming at least some objectivity, but whether you buy it or not here comes a bitch storm....

What a load of bullshit that was.

Look, I can understand how it might be hard for the matronly Jeff Committee to measure this show against a more traditional musical because that is one thing we are not. MDQ is more of an unstoppable ass kicking machine than it is your standard musical theatre fare, and thank god for it because that sappy shit makes me want to puke more often than not. So we're the square peg knocking against the round hole and really that's where we'd rather be if I can speak for the group.


When Levi Kreis, who clearly has more talent in the space between the first and second knuckle of the lesser of his two little fingers than most of the other barking hacks out there combined, is passed over by the Jeff Committee in favor of some entirely over earnest simp, well then kids something is desperately awry. Desperately. Same can be said for the fact that his was the only performance singled out for a nomination. These guys don't grow on trees like, oh say, fey tenors aspiring to butched up gravitas do. It was a particularly conspicuous Jeff FAIL because the list of other shows that received more awards AND are also going to Broadway AND have comparably enormous futures ahead of them is as follows:

So why no MDQ love?

We're the NY Yankees of Chicago theatre. Seriously.

The story Chicago Theatre likes to tell itself is that this a plucky little hard scrabble kind of place to come to that probably wont make you rich but will offer the humble and pure of heart the chance to take big risks that couldn't happen in NY or LA and so informs and shapes the subsequent big successful careers you go have some place else. Chicago aint about easy money its about heart and commitment, or so we say. And its kind of true to a point. But its also true then that this becomes a self fulfilling prophesy and so we end up celebrating the performances that fit that paradigm instead of performances that just are plain better than everything else out there.

Think Im full of shit? Well indulge me....

Imagine MDQ the show exactly as it is now, performance wise, but with different hometowns for most of the cast. If it were directed by someone with a local pedigree like Gary Griffin or the like, and if Rob Lyons, Eddie Clendening, and Kelly Lamont were long time Chicago actors who also just so happened to be kick ass ( or even merely competent) musicians and singers as well, then hell, there wouldn't be enough space on anyone's shelf to hold all the little statuettes we would have carried home last night.

But the MDQ back story isn't about wholesome hometown heroes making good so its easier to ignore how goddamn excellent it actually is. It doesn't reinforce the Chicago narrative because its big, for profit, and just employs the best people period instead of the best local people. We're a big noisy example of what Chicago doesn't do very well. We aren't "One of the Ones" locally anyway, to borrow a phrase, so everybody else gets graded on the curve. So the upshot is that the Jeff Committee doesn't really present an award show so much as they stage a hometown circle jerk.

There. I said it.

1 comment:

  1. The Jeffs have long been in that line you mentioned that forms to the right.
    Bullshit on a million different counts.
    I am sorry that you & your no doubt amazing show feel slighted, but seriously, who. the fuck. cares about the Jeffs, or even remotely takes them seriously.
    I'm not using a question mark on that one because it isn't actually a question.