Pages from Michael Butler's Journal


I am not in favour of using "stars" in new theatrical productions for several reasons:

After a play has been a success and you want to bring it back, tour it to non-theatrical venues, or perhaps go into very large halls, then by all means study the economics of having a star to assist in the sales. At that time in the history of the piece, the play may have reached such stature that it would attract and support a super talent to bring it to greater theatrical heights.

The other exception is the star vehicle--that is when a theatrical production is designed as a showcase for a star performer.

HAIR and LENNY are two examples of shows which made stars (Keith Carradine, Peter Gallagher, Cliff Gorman, Paul Jabara, Diane Keaton, Melba Moore Ben Vereen, et al.). Those plays were not made by stars but by talent, frequently found literally 'off-the-streets'.

POPE JOAN is sensational vehicle for six actors and an ensemble. In particular it has the role of a lifetime for a woman. Now we are addressing the one thing a play should be--a Star Maker.

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