It is immediately obvious that Live performing beats d
ead performing any day. Although it could be argued that dead performing does not exist I beg to differ.
Years ago LA was plastered with advertising banners that proclaimed the "King Tut Tour" was coming to town. The tour did really well and I would have to say that young King Tut is the "deadest" performer of them all by several millennia, and still more talented than young Justin Beiber. But enough about the dead... let's talk Live performing.
|Audience for the dead
Live performing is the ultimate drug of choice for the talented. I am reminded of that each year the Tony Awards come round again because "The Tony" is a celebration of Live performance.
Mel Brooks was documented in a special on PBS called American Masters recently. Here is a man who has seen every side of show business, This Oscar/Tony/Emmy winner has gone from writing (script and music), acting, stand-up comedy, television, movies and wrote and produced the greatest Tony winner of all time, The Producers. In the documentary Brooks said that the greatest thrill of his entire career was his success on Broadway. That immediate response, the discipline of hitting the mark every night, 8 times a week and the sheer energy it takes is unlike any other.
There is no other form of entertainment that is as immediate, when performance and experience is such a mash-up. From my personal experience, although much more limited than the likes of Mel Brooks, it is addictive.
An actor can sit in the audience and experience his performance on screen but it is at best half of the thrill. Nowhere else but on the stage can an actor feel the emotion they convey at the exact moment the audience does. The uniqueness of this event and the fact that it will never be repeated in quite the same way is what the artistry of performing is all about.
The differences between live and recorded performances may not be so radically enhanced for the audience but I believe the viewers also realize the speciality of the live performance. There is nothing wrong with a mass produced, always the same, hamburger; but even the most banal of taste buds appreciates the difference between a Big Mac and a homemade one-of-a-kind backyard burger.
So here is to all the nominees for the Tony Award this year. You are all winners. You have participated in the most unique form of your artistry and your craft has been acknowledged by your peers. The trophy will eventually tarnish and get older, but that memory of "bringing it" to an audience night after night is an experience-evergreen.
I am a Live performance junkie and might be persuaded to trade my Tony for the chance to do eight shows a week at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York for the rest of my days.
Congratulations to all of you Broadway actors, dancers, gypsies, singers, writers, designers, musicians, technicians and stage managers who will tread the boards tonight. Break a leg and rejoice in this moment. The muse of art has smiled upon you and you are truly blessed.
As you were,