Neil Patrick Harris and "SNL" Attempt to Save Broadway

Broadway has been taking a beating because of the economy, which gave Saturday Night Live the perfect opportunity to lampoon icons of musical theater. My favorite player in the pretty funny "Save Broadway" sketch is the ever-reliable Neil Patrick Harris, who delightfully caricatures "Mark" from Rent. Watch:


  1. I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for overpriced commercial theatre. Broadway is a commercial enterprise, just like the film industry. Feeling sorry for Broadway is like feeling sorry for Dreamworks or Disney-- of course, it's precisely feeling sorry for Disney, since they have any number of shows there at any given time. This isn't about saving American theatre by any wild stretch of the imagination.

    Broadway's getting all this love and attention when nonprofit theatres all over the nation with far fewer resources are dying on the vine in this economy. Please remember that these smaller theatres-- and even the largest LORT house in the nation has fewer resources than uber-funded commercial theatre-- are where the real work of the American theatre gets done. Commercial theatre is a business, and its primary goal is to make money. If anything new or risky gets there, it's only after it's been developed elsewhere-- almost always by these very regional theatres that get the short end of the stick when it comes to national attention. Broadway contributes exactly nothing to American theatre on its own, and hasn't for decades. Let it close. The only people I feel sorry for are the out-of-work actors and techs.

    You want to feel sorry for somebody? Feel sorry for Magic Theatre. Feel sorry for North Shore Music Theatre. Feel sorry for American Musical Theatre of San Jose. The list goes on and on.

  2. Dude, can't see the video.


  3. Hi, Melissa, thanks for your comments. Of course, I'm conflicted about this. You're right. The Broadway vs. nonprofit debate is very comparable to the Hollywood vs. indie film debate. I would be more willing to let Broadway wither and die if it weren't so important to New York's economy; and it does remain many people's only (and sometimes early) exposure to theater. I know that you can try to explain away that what's on Broadway isn't really theater--but let's not forget the Doubts, the August: Osage Counties, etc., that have also appeared on Broadway.

    Additionally, I think nonprofits can stand to learn a few things from the Broadway model. I know that it may put a damper on the adventurous spirit of some nonprofits, but when the $350,000-in-debt Magic Theatre's A.D. actually says, "there was a lot of debt we didn't realize we had, that wasn't really on the books," you can't help but scratch your head and go, "WHAT?!" It's not like it was a few hundred bucks that went missing. And I'm not in a position to judge, but knowing that they just "found" several hundreds of thousands dollars of debt makes me really really uncomfortable.

  4. That was by far the best sketch of the night, but andy reprising his role as Mark Wahlbrg was pretty good too.

  5. i love regional theater, i work in one... i also love broadway. i think you'll find more shows going lower priced, lower keyed, and really exciting pieces of work showing up.

    i saw a few shows last year, 'passing strange' being one of them... and, one of the best shows i've ever enjoyed. the colour purple sucked... overhyped, and poorly done prop wise, as was the remounting of "cat on a hot tin roof"... which was SO bad, i left after the second act.

    i think producers are looking more at the 'passing strange' and 'osage' as the wave of the future... one show that is opening in march is only 90 minutes.. that's nothing by the old standards.

    theater anywhere can't be lost, period.

  6. I saw Neil perform as Mark in Rent years ago, so I TOTALLY GEEKED OUT when I saw this. What can I say, I barely know who Michael Jordan is either.