This is awesome!! It’s great to see shows embracing the community, whether it be fun days that appear to be popping up in the West End or more ambitious things like this from the current Broadway revival of Godspell, seeing shows opening themselves up for more interaction is always a good thing.
So what is this all about? Well the production of Godspell held open auditions for children aged 6-16 to perform a medley of songs from the show after a performance infront of a paying audience, with the show’s crew, set and orchestra – maximising the Broadway experience for these young people. What was produced is shown in the video below. You never know – some of these kids might be the next big thing!
“The GODSPELL Cast of 2032″ features Gaten Matarazzo as “Jesus,” Danny Ward as “John the Baptist/Judas,” Montana Byrne as Anna Maria, Grace Capeless as Celisse,Zoe Considine as Morgan, Jon Viktor Corpuz as Telly, Alec Gallazzi as George,Rebecca Goldfarb as Lindsay, Analise Scarpaci as Uzo and Evan Smolin as Nick. Holly Block is the swing.
FURTHER UPDATE 8/8 Statement from ATG in comments
The following has just been brought to my attention on facebook:
‘Wicked’ Discrimination at The Apollo
What you are about to read is a personal account on behalf of our son Gregor aged 12, regarding a recent visit to the Apollo Theatre, Victoria, London on the evening of Friday 22nd July 2011 to see ‘Wicked’-The story of the Wicked Witch of the West. I don’t know if you have seen this show but it is about someone, who due to being different is subjected to bullying, discrimination and ridicule her whole life.
Myself, and Jennifer my wife, have two children, Gregor, 12 and Emily, 9. Gregor has a condition called Neuronal Migration Disorder, is on the Autistic spectrum, suffers from epilepsy and struggles with his balance. Vocally Gregor communicates using vowel sounds to sound like words. Behind the huge smiles, Gregor is a very happy and clever little boy with an absolute abundance of affection, which in turn has touched the lives of many people. Emily is a fantastic young carer to her big brother and we as a family are very close.
At the show, from the very start, Gregor was really enjoying himself. He wasn’t making any more noise than any other child at a show or in the cinema would make, certainly nothing out of context, or disruptive. We are constantly assessing situations that affect Gregor and others around him and would most definitely have taken Gregor out of the show if he had been affecting any other member of the audiences’ enjoyment.
Fifteen minutes into the show, the front of house manager approached us and advised that we had two options. One – Gregor watched from behind a glass partition or Two- that we leave the theatre. The glass partition was completely unpractical- I even struggled to see over it! I asked to see the General Manager and queried the manner of the complaint. I was told –quote-,”it was our precious sound engineer”. I asked if any of the audience had complained and was told, “No.” One member of the audience for who we are very thankful for even stood up to fight our corner.
Something I will never forget, is the look of shock and surprise in the many faces of the audience nearby as we were asked to leave and for the humiliation caused to Gregor. The saddest part of it all was the look of sheer enjoyment on his face being wiped out as I had to tell him we had to leave.
At the interval, my wife and daughter were approached again to make sure they were ok and would like anything eg. Sweets/Drinks, from the obvious visual upset caused earlier. My wife’s response was an obvious one, “Yes, my son and my husband back.”
I was left with no choice but to take Gregor back to the hotel. I should say at this point that we live in the North of Scotland and were visiting London as part of our holiday. Jennifer stayed with Emily to watch the show but then had to find her way across London alone with our young daughter. Emily was extremely upset as to how her brother had been treated and all the excitement of going to the show was completely spoiled.
I personally find our treatment disgusting and extremely hurtful. In modern day London and Britain we are taught not to judge, discriminate or mock people because of their differences. Isn’t it ironic that this happens to a little boy in a show that is exactly about that.
This saddens me. I take it that it has nothing to do with the cast of the show and that the front of house staff are going from a complaint of an over protective sound engineer. The audience was fine with the boy’s noises and were happy to accomodate his needs and front of house staff seemed to be trying their best to make amends.
Wicked London, the official facebook page for the show has posted this response:
We deeply regret any upset caused to the Morris family and would like to apologise for their bad experience last week at the Apollo Victoria in London.
We are grateful to them for highlighting an issue that is at the very heart of our company. We firmly believe that everyone has the right to access live theatre and we especially welcome children and young people.
We have prioritised training and have a member of senior management responsible for learning and access. However, this situation has emphasised the need for further training so that our operational staff can be better prepared in future and we have taken immediate measures to ensure that training is implemented and put into practice.
We are further working with the Producers of Wicked to explore improving access to as wide an audience as possible for the fantastic production at the Apollo Victoria.
ATG’s Joint CEO and Head of Learning and Access have both personally spoken to Mr Morris and held a useful discussion about our access provisions and the company will learn from this experience.
Ambassador Theatre Group
No real answer to be honest, and appears pretty standard, but let’s hope that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.