Monday, February 10, 2014

10 Tips About How to Talk to a Theatre Nerd

I spent most of last week at the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), learning about critiquing, trying my hand at writing reviews every night, as well as two other general pieces. So I bring you one that I loved, originally titled, "How to Talk to a Theatre Nerd at KCACTF." Click here to view the original article on the KCACTF website, and click here to see all the articles I wrote this week at the festival!

"KCACTF is like Hogwarts for theatre people.
It really is. It’s this magical place where as a theatre kid, you get to spend time with all of your favorite people (theatre people, of course) while doing what you most love all day every day. This is one of the few places where you can safely say that a group of 600 strangers will think it totally natural when you start discussing the worst Tony Awards tragedies of all time. And instead of giving you weird looks when you burst into some Broadway tunes, these strangers would more than likely pick up the harmony and join you.
However, there are definitely some at KCACTF who are theatre people but not theatre nerds. That is, they love theatre but have yet to fully catch on to the culture. My heart goes out to them as they receive incredulous looks for not knowing who Patti LuPone is or the number of minutes in a year.
So to rescue those people, I have compiled a list of the top facts you simply must know in order to converse with the theatre nerds.
  1. THEATRE. It’s “theatre,” not “theater.” Theatre nerds will tell you that the only people who spell it the latter way are posers who know nothing.
  2. OBC. This stands for “Original Broadway Cast” and is probably the very first step to understanding nerd-speak. There’s also “OBCR,” which stands for Original Broadway Cast Recording. On that note, never call an OBCR a soundtrack. Nerds will remind you that  soundtracks are pre-recorded, and Broadway would never ever use those.
  3. Ensemble. No one refers to the “chorus” anymore. The cool kids say “ensemble” instead, because chorus sounds like it refers to the members of the company who are less important, which they certainly are not. But seriously, don’t say chorus.
  4. Eight times a week. This refers to the number of performances each Broadway show has per week, and Broadway people say this phrase way too often. But realize that when someone says it, it will usually be part of what they consider to be a really profound statement.
  5. Tony Award. The most prestigious honor a Broadway collaborator can receive. It’s like the Academy Awards for Broadway. Fun fact: The Producers holds the record for the most Tony wins for a musical with 15. That’s not essential information, but you have my blessing if you want to pull it out next time you desire to impress a theatre nerd.
  6. Colm Wilkinson. Aka, “Mr. Les Mis.” This brilliant guy was the original Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on the West End and Broadway in the ‘80s. He fittingly played the bishop in the Les Mis movie as well. Because he’s perfect.
  7. Idina Menzel. I dearly hope anyone who steps foot in a theatre now knows her name, so this is for the truly lost souls out there who don’t. She originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked, for which she won a Tony Award. And she voiced Elsa in Frozen. And she’s perfect.
  8. Aaron Tveit. He’s the “it” guy right now, having made himself known through his appearance as Gabe in Next to Normal, then his role in the Les Miserables movie as Enjorlas. He’s ridiculously attractive, only just 30, and everyone and their mother is in love with him.
  9. Andrew Lloyd Webber. British composer who wrote CatsPhantom of the Opera, and many more musicals. He’s incredibly overrated, but his works are constantly produced. And they will never die (with the ironic exception of the Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies).
  10. Broadway is always better. If you tell a theatre nerd that you loved Les Mis after only seeing the movie, you’ll get the death stare. Even worse would be if you were foolish enough to say you actually liked a movie soundtrack better than an OBCR. Rule of thumb: Michael Crawford beats Gerard Butler any day."
Do you concur? I'm sure I left out some though... What do you think is essential to know when talking to a theatre nerd?

Sally Henry www.BroadwayWorld.com/author/Sally-Henry // Twitter: www.twitter.com/bwayginger // Facebook: www.facebook.com/singularsensationbway

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