There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it
Taking in the “Phineas and Ferb” live show? That’s what we WiCMinos did in April and we were lucky enough to get a private pre-show Q&A with the good folks at Feld Entertainment. Feld is a family run business that produces Disney Live, Disney on Ice, Ringling Brothers and motorcross sports. So how do you bring classic or popular TV or movie properties to life on the stage? Feld looks at properties they think could adapt to their particular purpose. For Disney on Ice, they look for properties that lend themselves to dance and movement. For Disney Live they are looking at shows that could travel anywhere and don’t need huge venues.
Each Disney Live story is an original work with an all-new creative team brought in to help execute it. They work closely with the show creators and head writers to make sure they are getting the essence of the property but each production is totally original with sets and costumes made just for that show. I really love that Feld strives to do something different instead of having families pay to see the same story they could stay home and watch on TV (Creators of movie remakes please take note.).
As for the show itself? Well, it was the Best Live Show Ever (literally that was the name of the show). It was amazing and heartwarming to see all these excited little kids singing the songs, rooting for their heroes and booing the evil Dr. Doofenschmirtz. Though the TV show is targeted for older kids, many of the audience members were younger than the target demo but that’s the beauty of the show. It had something for everyone. Older kids, younger kids and parents can enjoy it together. And I’ll admit, after the live show, I’ve now started watching the TV show on a regular basis. It’s pretty awesome. You should check it out.
Main Takeaway: Live theatre is a huge gamble. If your show doesn’t do well you could be looking at 6 figure loses on a WEEKLY basis. Mr. Feld shared with us the stories of two such shows. The first was Starlight Express on Ice. It had all the elements of a fantastic ice show but perhaps the idea was past its prime? Though, personally, I don’t understand how an ‘80s rollerskating musical could ever go out of style in the first place. I mean, “Xanadu” anyone? The other shocker was “Big: The Musical.” It got pretty good reviews but the audiences just didn’t come. Mr. Feld admitted he’s still trying to puzzle that one out. Mr. Feld also mentioned that it’s harder to keep up with the times because DVDs come out so quickly and shows and movies tend to lose popularity fast because there’s always something else coming down the pipeline.
Personal Takeaway: Kids will come with you for the transition from screen to stage and have a much easier time of it than adults. The exuberant little girl behind me had no doubt in her mind that she was seeing Perry the Platypus up on stage and not a person in costume. The actors work very hard to get the nuances of the characters right and I see that they nailed them now that I am watching the show on a regular basis. Kids want to believe but you gotta help them along.
Inappropriate Takeaway: The show has inspired me to work on my own –inator. I call it the Enigmaticinator and it will get everyone in the Tri-State area to think that I am the most mysterious and powerful person they’ve ever met. See? It’s working already.