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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Behind the scenes

After Saturday's matinee of musical "Carnival'' at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, the producer, director and stars of the production invited the audience to Cast Talkback, where they fielded questions about their parts in the show. What a satisfying way to reach out to your patrons.

The exchanges were very enlightening. How long do you rehearse? (Three weeks, in New York no less, with the show then assembled in New Jersey in five hours.) Where did the stars get their voice training? (The female lead went to NYU and then had lots of voice lessons; the male lead started in rock bands and had to unlearn a lot from that experience.) When you have two shows a day, what do you do in between? (The female lead said she eats sushi and takes a nap; the others said they always find time to eat.) You couldn't help but come away as a more informed theatergoer.

If it works for regional theater (summer stock has been doing it for years), why not on Broadway, concerts or after sporting events? We patrons/fans are paying quite enough to attend these events. Shouldn't the stars reciprocate?

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