The NTelos Wireless Pavilion

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NTelos Wireless Pavilion

Are you a fan of music and the Great Outdoors? If so then you should consider visiting our music pavilion throughout the year. We provide year-long concerts that feature music ranging from rock to pop, and from classic to jazz. Due to the wide range of genres, there’s something for everyone. This gives you the chance to enjoy all types of music from Spring to Fall.

Not only that but you can even enjoy music outdoors, which adds an extra dimension to your music-listening experience. This is a plus for anyone who wants to enjoy music whether it’s a sunny or rainy day. Our covered pavilion allows you to stay dry while you enjoy the outdoor concert. This is a great chance to enjoy the experience of great music and fresh air for most of the year. It’s definitely one of the best music-listening experiences you can have.

Today music is more available than ever. That includes music libraries from Spotify, Apple Music, and others. There’s also music videos from platforms like YouTube and even live-streamed concerts. However, it’s a unique experience when you can watch a live concert. That provides several benefits including being able to see the performer(s) on stage and feel the music from the sound system.

Live concerts are certainly a unique way to experience music and it’s one you should consider if you want a break from download songs for your mobile phone or music player. Today it’s easier than ever to enjoy music when you’re on the go. However, if you want to enjoy a more traditional music-listening experience it’s a plus if you can attend a live concert.

However, it’s even better when you can enjoy live music outdoors. That allows you to enjoy the fresh air and natural surrounding where the pavilion is located. It’s a unique experience that’s even better than attending an indoor concert or stadium.

In some ways, the experience is similar to an indoor concert. That’s because you can still watch a solo performer or band perform on stage. It’s a completely different experience from just listening to music that’s live-streamed or downloaded for your mobile device. So in that way, it’s a different and better experience.

However, there’s an added dimension when listening to music at a pavilion. That’s because it’s a covered structure yet the music event still takes place outdoors. That’s what makes it a different experience from listening to music indoors at a live concert, for example. We even have some of the best chefs in the business cooking you phenomenal food. We have Joe Hughes from SousVideWizard.com cooking the best sous vide food with the top-rated sous vide machine in his restaurant. We also have Mario Bottali’s newest restaurant – Mario’s House – serving the latest in Cajun cuisine.

Not only is the music-listening experience itself unique but the pavilion also features a wide variety of different music genres. They include different ones including rock, pop, and jazz. There’s basically something for everyone is you check out our schedule for the month. We’re constantly updating the schedule so it’s important to review it often to find out what musicians will be performing and the pavilion in the next months. You might find one of your favorite artists/bands in the schedule so make sure to keep checking the schedule to learn about musicians who will be performing in the next months.

Added Dimension

Not only is the music-listening experience itself unique but the pavilion also features a wide variety of different music genres. They include different ones including rock, pop, and jazz. There’s basically something for everyone is you check out our schedule for the month. We’re constantly updating the schedule so it’s important to review it often to find out what musicians will be performing and the pavilion in the next months. You might find one of your favorite artists/bands in the schedule so make sure to keep checking the schedule to learn about musicians who will be performing in the next months.

 

Get Your Tickets

You can buy tickets directly from our website. This is a convenient option that’s easier other sources. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go you can purchase any number of tickets you want for any event. You can even use your mobile device like smartphone or tablet if you want to purchase your tickets when you’re not on your PC or Mac.

It’s advisable to purchase your tickets in advance during the peak seasons. That’s particularly true during the summer months. That’s when we have some of our top concerts and also when demand is higher due to the summer vacation season. It’s advisable to buy your tickets at least a month in advance for big events. That will help to make sure you get the tickets you want for future events.

In fact, there are some concerts that sell out in a matter of days or hours. This highlights the need to keep visiting our website to learn about updates to the pavilion’s schedule of events. We always post changes to the schedule as soon as they occur so make sure to keep checking for any changes for future events.

 

Premium Seating

If you want premium seating, in particular, it’s important to buy them as soon as they’re available. These are some of the most popular tickets and they sell like hotcakes. So it’s important to purchase premiere tickets as soon as they’re available.

We also have promotions from time to time that gives you the chance to win free tickets. This is our way of thanking our patrons and giving you the chance to save money on tickets during future events. Make sure to keep visiting our site to learn about current promotions we’re offering. This allows you to learn about current and future promotions we’ll be offering during the next month.

 

Our App

 

The pavilion has also just launched a mobile app. This is a great way to find out any news and information about the pavilion’s events, policies, etc. You can download at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app is free so you won’t have to spend any money getting the freshest news and information about our pavilion. It’s our way to keeping you up-to-date with all the information you need about the pavilion.

Even if you don’t use a mobile device you can follow us on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is another way you can learn about the latest news and information about our pavilion. Make sure to follow us so you can get notifications about the latest news and info. That will help to keep you informed about the latest developments for the pavilion.

You can also sign up to get news and updates through your e-mail account. This is another convenient way to learn about the latest news and info about the pavilion. It’s free and only takes a few minutes so it’s definitely something you should consider.

 

Corporate Opportunities

We also offer many business opportunities. For example, your company could sponsor a future concert to boost your online presence.

 

New Food Addition – Steaks Made with a Sous Vide Machine

We wanted to let you know about an exciting new addition to our venue – steaks made with a sous vide machine. For those of you who aren’t aware of sous vide cooking, it makes the absolute perfect food each and every time. Your food is submerged in water in a vacuum sealed bag and the water is heated up with a sous vide machine. We obtained our sous vide equipment after reading the best sous vide machine reviews at SousVideWizard.com. We are able to make you the perfect sous vide cooked meals while you enjoy our entertainment.

You’ll be able to find the new sous vide kitchen on the 2nd floor, near the rear concourse. Of course, we know that this isn’t the traditional theatre food that you’re used to. We’re actually piloting a program, the first of its kind, to bring sous vide cooking into the mainstream through theatres and venues. We have 8 of the latest sous vide machines ready to pump out as many steaks and vegetables and chicken as our patrons can eat.

The food will be priced roughly at $20/meal, which isn’t bad considering you’re getting a sous vide cooked USDA steak.

We recommend that everyone reads up on what sous vide cooking is, because we’re simply enamored by it. It’s amazing how much quality food one simple sous vide machine can produce. We’ve cooked everything from chicken to fish to steak to eggs in ours. We’re probably going to partner with several sous vide manufacturers to brand our own equipment, but that will come at a much later date.

The official launch of our sous vide kitchen is going to be in March 2018. We cannot wait to see how much you all love our sous vide cooking. We’re hoping to be the first, and definitely not the last, theatre to adopt sous vide cooking!

Theater Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

An all African American headline cast, including James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Terrance Howard and Anika Noni Rose, highlight the strictly limited engagement of Tennessee Williams’ classic play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, at the NTelos Wireless Pavilion.

Directed by Golden Globe and three time Emmy winner, Debbie Allen, the production updates and makes clear the more subtle underlying theme of homosexuality that was in the original play.

Rose’s Maggie the Cat is a sensual, seductive, desperate wife, attempting to win back her alcoholic husband, Brick after exposing her husbands “pure friendship” with his best friend to be a relationship on the Down Low. Although never admitting an intimate, sexual relationship with Skipper, it’s clear that Brick could not accept his friend’s feelings and his rejection of Skipper caused his death and Brick’s subsequent descent into self-loathing and alcoholism.

Phylicia Rashad brings a special poignancy to the role of Big Momma. “What hurts me the most, she says to her hard hearted husband, is that you never believed I loved you. I even loved your hate.” Rashad’s portrayal of the long suffering wife, fulfilling her obligations as a dutiful, Southern lady looking for love in the only place society will allow her to was, at times, almost too painful to watch.

James Earl Jones, known as much for his famous voice as his consummate acting skills, put on an exceptional performance as Big Daddy; his profanity and careless verbal abuse reducing his family to the level of emotional hostages seeking love and approbation. As each family member interacts with their patriarch, their deep and long seated pain is evident to all. When Giancarlo Esposito playing first born brother Gooper cries out for common decency, his vulnerability outstrips his greed for his father’s 28 thousand acres.

But it is Terrance Howard’s performance that stands above the rest. Brick is a broken, former athlete and golden boy wallowing in hurt, regret and the inability to grow up. In the scene where Jones’ Big Daddy confronts his son’s alcoholism and possible homosexual relationship with Skipper, the two actors deliver such an intense performance of raw emotion that comments of sympathy were elicited from the riveted audience. It was obvious from the crowd’s reactions that they identified with these characters and felt their struggle and their pain.

The participation of the audience in the intimate Broadhurst Theater was also helped by Ray Klausen’s scenic and William H Grant’s lighting design. The setting in the bedroom of the family’s mansion helped keep the focus on the play’s sexual themes and the lighting made it seem like one could feel the innermost thoughts of William’s characters.

Talented saxophone player, Gerald Hayes, set the mood, playing the blues to transition each scene. All in all, this was a remarkable theatre experience that will be remembered for years to come.

Auditioning for Your Community Theater Group

Auditioning for Your Community Theater Group

Having a community theater in your area is really a great way to start acting and keep going at it. The thing is that many people that audition are not sure how they should act or what they need. It’s not as hard as it looks, if you know what to do.

Before the audition

There are a few things that they should do before the audition. One of these is to have a good photo of you taken. This can be a headshot if you are intending on going further in your acting career. Community Theater is a really good place to start and first impressions can mean everything. Practice is also a good thing to do before you audition for anything even Community Theater. Take some monologues and work on them to get a feel for how you act and what you may need to improve on. You may even want to videotape it so that you can see what you do and how you may be able to improve yourself.

The Audition

Once you have been practicing for a little while, you are ready for your first audition. This can be something that is very professional or it can be very laid back, depending on what the group is like. Some are very serious and others are not so much. You should still go into the audition with a sense of professionalism so that you are covering your basics no matter what. Make sure that you are on time and that you are prepared. Have your script memorized so that you can give a full performance and not be tired to a piece of paper, but do keep it in your hand in case you forget a line and need to look at it. Be calm and do your best. You might be what they are looking for and you may not be. That is something that you can’t control, just do your best and the rest will work out on it’s own.

After the audition

Once the audition is done with, forget it and move on. If you get a call to be in the play then great, but don’t be to upset if you are not cast because not everyone can get the same part. You will audition for many things and you will probably not get that many parts. That is just the way that theater and acting works

Be professional no matter what happens and try and have fun. There are many people that love the theater. The professional ones get the furthest and have the most fun with it, so keep yourself in check, but have fun with what you are doing. Before you know it, you will be acting in that great play in the theater that you love and having a great time doing it.

Getting Started in Community Theater

Getting Started in Community Theater

Almost everybody at one time or another has wanted to be an actor. I see it all of the time, and confess that I was bitten by that bug as early as age seven. I knew that was what I wanted to be, not a fireman or a policeman or even president of the United States. I wanted to be an actor.

As luck would have it, I achieved my goal. I have spent a little more than 35 years as an actor and director in live theater. True, I’ve had to supplement my income now and then (I’ve sold real estate, vacuum cleaners and waited tables between gigs) but mostly I have made my living from show business. I’ve done a few films independent and student films here and there, but mostly I have worked on the live stage…nightly…to the tune of seven or eight shows per week. Sometimes I would be rehearsing a play during the daytime hours and performing another play at night, all in the same theatre. While that kind of schedule can be tiring, I can tell you there is no better way to make a living if you love to act.

So how does a person get started in this type of work? You make a commitment to act, and you begin. There is no “easing in.” You have to make the jump if you are serious.

First of all we need to identify what you want to do as an actor. I use the term “actor” to apply to both genders. I don’t like the word “actress.” I don’t call a female physician a “doctoress” or a female attorney a “lawyeress,” so I really don’t need to call a female actor an “actress.”

If you want to head right out to Hollywood and jump right into film, I suggest you learn how to type, wait tables, or otherwise support yourself while you slowly come to realize that you need some theatrical background to survive in film. I can’t help you if you are hell bent on doing this, so I’ll just wish you the best knowing that you are too impatient to finish this article, much less start your career off correctly. To those of you less impulsive I suggest we start out with the breeding ground of good acting – live theatre.

If you have absolutely no experience on stage, I would suggest you start in community theatre. Go to a few of their plays and get acquainted with how they work. More often than not these theatres are populated with actors that work regular day jobs and perform for fun. While not always top notch performances, these good folks are doing it for the love of theatre and that cannot ever be discounted.

To start at this level you do not need to do anything to prepare but find out when the next audition is scheduled, and go audition. A musical is a good selection because the casts are large and sometimes these smaller theatres need the bodies on stage so the odds are in your favor. You may not get a ‘part,’ but if you are in the chorus then you can get to know how the rehearsal and performance system works without a lot of stress. The bad news is you will have to sing at the audition, and that sends some people into the cold sweats.

Be prepared to sing and audition in front of the other people who are also auditioning. Most professional theatres will have audition appointments for a one-on-one audition, but the amateur (or community) theatres they don’t have that kind of time and need to go through a lot of people in an evening or two.

Pick a song that is not from the show that is being auditioned. Directors tire of hearing the same song over and over. Once I heard 75 off key renditions of “Doe Ray Me” as an assistant director for The Sound of Music. It was maddening and after a while we mentally crossed off anybody singing that song. Pick something that is like a song from the show (a song from the same writers but from another show is a good idea) so they can hear what you sound like. If you are auditioning for Rogers and Hammerstein, choose a Rogers and Hammerstein song from another one of their musicals. The idea is to make it easy for the director to cast you. This is not an adversarial relationship; they want you to be good because they have parts they need to fill. Also, don’t be disappointed if you get stopped after a few bars. They don’t need to hear the entire song, and will usually stop you with a polite “Thank You” after about eight to ten bars.

Be sure to bring the sheet music to the audition so the pianist can accompany you. Taped music is annoying to a director. If you have to fiddle with the CD player to get it like you rehearsed it in your bedroom, it is counting as marks against you in the director’s mind. Give the pianist the sheet music and trust that he or she will do you right.

After the song you will probably do what is called a Cold Reading. This is giving you a section of the script (called a side) and told to perform it with another actor. If you happen to get direction during this, consider it a good sign. This means that director is seeing how you respond to taking direction.

You will find in community theatre that these people know each other and have been in several shows together, so you will feel a little like an outsider. Remember, each one of them had a first audition too, and had to endure the same thing. Hand in there and soon you will be swapping theatre stories with them. The other truth about this is that directors tend to cast actors they know. This holds true at all levels of show business. Nobody said this was going to be easy.

Once you get the part, the simple rules of amateur theatre (these apply to professional theatre as well) is to show up a little early for rehearsal, be ready to rehearse at the appointed time, learn your lines and songs early, do what you’re told by the director(s) and be ready to pitch in to help in costuming and props.

Dress comfortably at rehearsal, but be groomed. Personal hygiene is important. Actors who need a bath are avoided and rarely see a second part come their way. Remember you are going to be working in close quarters with people, and having an offending smell will make you unpopular regardless of your talent level. Bring a notepad and pencils to your rehearsal along with some water. I pack a bag with these items along with a towel, some breath mints and a couple of band-aids. Be attentive and cheerful at rehearsals. Grumbling about the director, especially before you have ‘paid your dues’ (done a few shows) will show you to be a mal-content and will make your first show your last. More than once I’ve seen very talented people who were hard to work with lose parts to lesser talented folks who made life easier for their directors and co-actors. Rarely have I seen a show suffer when this has happened.

It pains me to have to write this because it should be obvious, but it is vital that you come to rehearsal at your full facilities. If you have a drinking or drug habit, leave it at home. I’ve seen more careers, reputations, and lives ruined because of alcohol and drugs. We all have our bad habits (mine is eating too much) but exercise control over them.

Once you’ve become part of a show, avoid the traps that rookie actors tend trip. One of those traps is being critical of another’s performance whether in the play you are doing or another work. While you may think this makes you look knowledgeable about theatre, it only succeeds in making you look small. A good rule from childhood that applies – if you can’t say something nice, it is best not to say anything at all.

There is something else you need to know about the rehearsal process in community theatre, it isn’t perfect. The budgets are small. This can make the production a little cheesy compared to most professional theatre. Remember that these sets are done by folks who have regular jobs during the day, and they are working with a very limited budget. If the finished project is not what you had envisioned then be assured that it probably wasn’t what the set designer had envisioned either. Sometimes compromises have to be made due to limited time and funding. The important thing is that it is being done. Remember, nobody is paying to see the set, but to see the play. It is up to you as an actor to make it come to life.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to work on a set, do a little painting, etc. You might be asked to supply a costume or prop. If you have these things, supply them with enthusiasm and get them back when the show is over. You may be asked to help change a scene during the play. It all goes with the community theatre territory.

During the run of the show be sure to hang our costume up between changes. You may have to change costumes in the wing. If this bothers you, then you will need to gut it out and do it. Nobody is there to ogle you; it is a job that must be done.

As a novice in theatre, you are bound to run into the “old pro.” There are two types of these folks, the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind has been around theatre as long as they can remember. They may or may not have made a living doing it, but are still acting because it is fun and they no longer wish to participate in the cut throat world of professional acting. They will occasionally give you advice, but will not do so unless you either ask or are about make a major error. Listen to these old pros and you will fare well.

The type of “old pros” to stay away from is the ones that constantly remind you they are professionals and are lowering themselves to indulge in community theatre. You have to ask yourself if they are so good and so much in demand then why are they working on a community stage for free? They will go on and on about what they’ve done and with whom they have worked. Nine times out of ten it is total fabrication. Advice from this “old pro” is taken at your own risk, for they will rarely have your best interest at heart.

When the show is over, be sure to help strike (take apart) the set if the other actors are pitching in. This is a part of the production will help you cement that relationship with the other actors.

Following these simple rules (mostly common sense) will help you become part of the community theatre crowd. It will ensure that at the next audition, you are no longer on the outside looking in and you can begin making friends that will last you a long time. Just be sure as you gain show experience that you keep an eye out for that newcomer that not too long ago was you and help them start their way.

Above all, remember to have fun. I once worked with a director in professional theatre who told me that if I wasn’t having fun acting, why was I bothering? She was absolutely right.

The Amazing Florida Theater in Jacksonville

Florida Theater in Jacksonville

Since 1927 the Florida Theater has been bringing in upscale entertainment to the Jacksonville area. It started with Vaudeville acts and silent films. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It has drawn 250,000 people each year. Today, the Theater has 200 cultural events each year. There is ballet and opera. They also have music such blues, pop, jazz, country, and rock. Other than just being an entertainment center, the Florida Theater is also a place for business meetings, charity events, graduations and even award ceremonies.

These events help our community by supporting our schools, churches and other civic groups. The Theater is located at 128 East Forsyth Street in downtown Jacksonville. An example of the shows that are brought to Jacksonville via the Theatre are: acclaimed psychic John Edwards who connects the living with their deceased loved ones. The comic duo Cheech and Chong on tour comes by. These guys broke box office records with eight Grammy nominations and nine hit albums. Relationships conferences are held to help keep families together.

There is an Uncommon Music event that recognizes local talent. They take musicians performing in local clubs, bars, and restaurants to reveal their talents to the city of Jacksonville. The annual concerts proceeds goes to local community organizations. The Theatre also recognizes local visual artists with its Art After Dark series. You are given a chance to purchase some art from upcoming artists. 90% of the proceeds go to the artists. JaxRox is a branch off of Uncommon Music which specializes in Rock music. There are three Rock bands that perform the concert. The proceeds as with Uncommon Music goes to local organizations in the community.

You can become a friend of the Florida Theatre. With annual membership you qualify for several benefits. These benefits include preferred seating, upcoming performance notices in advance, priority ticket purchasing, and invitations to exclusive friends events. There are three types of memberships:Ensemble ($150-$299), Supporting Role ($300-$499), and Cameo Role ($500-$999).

Contact the Florida Theatre for more information on these memberships and programs. By mail submit to: Florida Theatre 128 East Forsyth Street Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida 32202. Or contact by phone at (904)355-2787 and fax is (904)353-3251 for ticket office. Administrative office is (904)355-5661 and fax is (904)358-1874.

Note: of course we still prefer The NTelos Wireless Pavilion

Regarding My Attitude Toward Musical Theater

Musical Theatre

It can be hard to be a digitally mindful fan of musical theater. Sure, there are communities online where theater fans talk theater (such as The NTelos Wireless Pavilion), but if you even respond to a non-theater website’s commentary on live theater, you’re instantly a target. A website can run all the horrible press they want to about a show in previews even if the writer didn’t see the show and I turn into the bad guy for–not even defending the show–offering my opinion on a show I did see. It’s enough to make me, say, block access on my end to a blog for a few days so the other users get the blood lust out of their systems and treat me like a person again.

The layperson reaction is symptomatic of a greater streak of cynicism regarding American theater that has been growing for years. It seems the public at large just doesn’t care about the art form anymore. I don’t mind that, either. Interest always ebbs and waves regarding any commercialized art form (remember when the music industry “was dying” because the labels were suing housewives for their children’s downloads in the late ’90s?), but for the most part, the disinterest and pessimism doesn’t hurt live theater. Yet, more and more often, this cynicism is leading to misplaced aggression against everyone involved in a show, including those who see it. That is when I start becoming annoyed.

Take the curious incident of Taboo in 2002. What started as a fun transfer of a Boy George’s autobiographical show about his experience as a club kid and rising music star in the 1980s turned into a feeding frenzy among NYC critics. There were problems with the show, for sure; it was heavily re-written under the assumption that Americans did not understand the culture, which made the show lose much of its charm and wit at the face of too much exposition. However, the complaints about the show had nothing to do with the production onstage. The critics–professional and amateur–were ripping into Rosie O’Donnell’s role as producer. Something “big” happened in her personal life (I can’t remember, but it was something stupid like a public argument) and people turned on her. Taboo was, on its face, a bad show because Rosie produced it. Nothing anyone in the cast, crew, or production team said could save the show. If an actor defended Rosie, they were paid off. If another producer defended Rosie, they were only doing so to save face and drum up sales. If no one said anything, that meant they agreed with the criticism. The show shuttered after 100 performances, and people were still mocking Rosie because she promised to bring the show back to Broadway.

Why were otherwise sane, compassionate, almost-optimistic critics sent into a such a fit over a mixed Jukebox/original score musical? Did they just not like Culture Club? It surely wasn’t the acting, as the show received two Tony nominations for its acting–Best Actor, Euan Morton, and Best Featured Actor, Raul Esparza. Nor was it the score, as Boy George’s clean, narrative driven pop score was also nominated for a Tony Award. Even the costumes were worthy of a nomination. With the exception of the 2009-10 theater season, critics have always been members of the Tony nomination committee. It seems strange that all this bad blood would be forgotten mere months after the show closed (to triumphant cackling) to embrace the show with these nominations. If the critics (loosely used, as seemingly everyone–not just journalists–was talking about this show) liked the show enough to help nominate it, why was there so much hate flying around when it was coming to Broadway? Surely professionals aren’t petty enough to let gossip and hearsay cloud their judgment on a show.

But it happened. And it happened again and again. Brooklyn: The Musical had no right, with it’s simple presentation and recycling bin costumes, to step on the Great White Way. Young Frankenstein was an awful show because it had the highest ticket prices in the history of Broadway; go ahead, sift through the reviews and see if anyone didn’t mention the ticket prices while justifying the dog-pile on the show. The Addams Family is nothing like the comic strip and has to be bad if the director was replaced before coming to Broadway. It doesn’t matter if shows that did all these things in the past were praised. These production were different. These productions were bad for doing what others did before them because suddenly those elements were bad.

The worst, most incendiary topic right now is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. It appears that a show that lost funding because of the death of the investor is now eligible for the Rosie O’Donnell Memorial Shit on the Show No Matter What prize. The show’s opening has been delayed multiple times because of some really bad luck. Aside from the death of the investor that left the show with no money to continue (which halted everything that was already in progress–paperwork, readings, sing-throughs, investor performances that would all need to be restarted, most from scratch, when money came back in), the show was delayed because of actor injury and technology gaffes.

I can already feel the presence of people claiming I’m a Taymorbot defending the show no matter what because I’m paid/obsessed/crazy for Julie Taymor. Nothing I say will deter that opinion from the cynics who want the production shut down under the guise of “safety” or “legal” concerns. I just thought I’d recognize it before continuing.

I’m not defending the actor injuries. If a stunt is not safe for an actor to be involved in, it clearly needed more testing and better design before the first actor was strapped in. That two actors were injured on the same stunt within a month of each other is inexcusable. The production, however, has taken the proper avenues to pass very intense inspection from New York State officials testing all the stunts and flying mechanisms.

Here’s the problem with blaming the cynicism on the injuries–it started long before that. Blogs that never cover theater were mocking the show at inception because a comic book can’t possibly be a good musical. And twenty years ago, the comic book movie was declared dead because no one could make a good one. Both are relevant here, as the criticism shifted from “no comic book could be a good musical” to “oh man, they’re not making it just like The Dark Knight, only with singing and dancing; that’s gay.”

The Today Show exclusive performance of “Boy Falls From the Sky,” the first time anyone in the general public saw any bit of actual content from the show, was ripped apart for–I kid you not–costuming, sets, and orchestration. Because clearly, Reeve Carvy’s band–with none of the other instruments that join them in the show–was the full orchestra, and they would be performing the entire show in rock show scaffolding with street clothes on.

People complained that it didn’t sound like a show score, which is strange because the people saying “musicals are teh gay” normally hate show scores. People complained that it didn’t sound just like “x” rock score, which makes sense since it’s U2’s first musical. Even after seeing Julie Taymor wax poetic about her set designs, costume designs, and stunts, these blogs that never covered theater before were calling the show a disaster and saying it would look just like the above video. In other words, they wanted to hate the show, and they invested that hatred in the Internet.

In the modern Internet era, where people can click on a little button to splash someone else’s words all over their Facebook and Twitter account, writing from such a place of unabashed hatred and ignorance can help fuel cynicism about something we know little about. I’m not innocent of it, either; neither are you, if you’ve ever commented on a bad movie trailer or strange logline for a film. I like to think that I at least evaluate what’s presented in front of me rather than shoot blind venom all over something I otherwise would have no interest in.

Jump forward to the first preview performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. A preview, for those who don’t know, is essentially an audience dress rehearsal. The cast, crew, and creative team is putting on the show for a paying audience to get feedback on it in the last stages of development. Shows radically change during the preview period up until they are “frozen” a few nights before opening. This is when the critics are invited to come in and review the show to help you, the potential theater goer, decide whether or not to see a new show. It is rare for preview period press to go beyond casting changes, stars visiting the theater, and interviews with the cast/crew/creative team.

Instead, people were actually Tweeting during the show to complain about everything. Why they thought it was okay to whip out their cellphones–a dangerous act in such a stunt heavy show, as the light from the phone can distract the actor and cause injuries onstage–and complain during the show is still unexplained. What’s inexcusable, however, are the theater critics who wrote entire articles based off of Twitter feeds and message board posts; some didn’t even see the show. Others decided sensationalism–like interviewing the woman who claimed everyone in the audience was a “guinea pig” at a preview (uh…redundant much?)–was the way to go, but only if it meant trashing the show.

As is indicative of this newest wave of theater cynicism, the few people who were positive in their reviews were accused of being Julie Taymor or an employee of the production. They were torn apart, no matter how well they defended their opinion, with statements like “shut up, it sucked, you’re wrong.” These comments and articles from people who haven’t seen the show have taken off like wildfire. Movie websites are publishing articles based off of comments at BroadwayWorld.com (a theater fan message board) and not even fact checking to see if their comments make sense. One site (which had written three previous articles trashing the show before it even had a performance) said that a Greek Chorus (Geek Chorus) stepping in and out of the plot made no sense and never happened in ancient theater; the role of the Greek Chorus was to comment on the plot and fill in various roles in the narrative. The Greek Chorus is just one of the many “facts” being twisted and warped to criticize the show.

My commenting as such is what spurred this post. Apparently, discussing how this is a convention that Julie Taymor borrowed for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and explaining how the writer of that article was misinformed meant I’ve been defending Taymor non-stop and need to shut up and calm down, lest I turn into a pretentious asshole. I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t a pretentious asshole. And by pretentious asshole, I mean someone willing to use big words, research, and complex sentence structure to bolster my arguments rather than simply attack someone for thinking differently.

You may not think that being nasty about a show that is being re-written as you read this is harmful, but it is. Bad press is bad press, and bad press makes people want to wait and see if it’s worth going to a show.

Here’s a similar situation. The Scottsboro Boys, the last musical from Kander  amp; Ebb about the nine black youths falsely accused of raping two white women in the pre-Civil Rights Movement American South, played a warmly received run Off-Broadway without a squeak of protest over the show’s use of minstrel show conventions to focus in on the blind racism that fueled the real life incident. When it transferred to Broadway, it received the same warm reviews. This time, however, a protest group was organized because they heard it was a minstrel show. They would stand outside the theater at a few performances each week, screaming at theatergoers for being racists because minstrel shows are bad; too bad this wasn’t a minstrel show. Too bad all the claims the protesters made were false. Too bad the show closed after six weeks because of lackluster ticket sales (that can partially be attributed to people being harassed for trying to buy tickets, and partially attributed to the show being too small and conceptual for a Fall run on Broadway). Ignorance played a huge part in the show closing, and (thankfully) the show played to mostly sold out audiences its last two weeks. There’s even tall of bringing the show back for another limited run in the spring so more people can see it.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark should be an easier sell on Broadway than The Scottsboro Boys; however, bad press is still bad press. People I know who don’t go beyond Facebook and Google searches turned from trying to organize groups to see the show for discount rates to not wanting to see the show. Their reason? They were linked to scathing blog articles about the shows that made claims like Julie Taymor forced an actor to go on for a performance with a concussion or actors have died working on the show. A few sales here and there may not seem like much, but it adds up. Word of mouth is everything on Broadway, as it’s impossible for the average person to see every show that opens. I saw Brief Encounter, for example, instead of The Scottsboro Boys or Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson during their Broadway runs (saw them previously Off-Broadway) because enough of my friends told me it was the right decision. Had they sold me on either of the other two shows, I would have seen them instead.

The point is this. I don’t mind cynicism. I don’t mind if you hate musical theater because people don’t just burst into song. I don’t mind if you think a musical about a superhero can’t possibly be any good. That’s fine. Just don’t go around posting hate for the sake of hate based in lies other people told you about shows. I don’t think you’d appreciate it if I started writing articles all over the Web about your company’s bad business practices, lazy employees, and dangerous working conditions. Why would you do that to someone else’s livelihood? It might be entertainment to you, but it’s a career to them, and one they constantly have to train for with money out of their own pocket far beyond your Masters or Doctorate. Have some compassion and enough backbone to not write out of ignorance. Say all you want to when you see the show or form an informed opinion based on plot descriptions, videos, audio, design photos, interviews, and previous experience with the players. Just think twice before saying a show is awful when you know next to nothing about it.