Doctor Zhivago an important show for theatre’s future

There’s a lot of similarities between television and theatre.

There’s a lot of similarities between television and theatre.

I’m a bit of a media nut, and can only shake my head at the way that the integrity of television journalism has been compromised in the chase for ratings and the desire to make shows more tabloid-based.

There is always something that keeps the traditions alive, however, and in the case of television, it comes in the Sunday night brilliance of 60 Minutes.

Despite all the changes television media has faced, 60 Minutes remains a stellar example of journalism at its best and its return for 2011 last night was proof that the show still has a strong future – perhaps television executives should take note.

Television purists have hated the era of reality television, and it’s fair enough, given the stupidity of some of the crap that comes our way, particularly on pay television these days.

Perhaps the only people more stupid than the programmers in charge are the people who actually watch some of these shows.

Some reality shows have their place, and I have spoken before about my support for a theatre-related reality show, but some of the crap dished up really does make you wonder about how we made a horrible turn in regards to what is quality and what is not.

Theatre has faced similar challenges, and the instead of the quest for ratings, the quest for ticket sales saw the jukebox era take over. There were some exceptions to the rule, but overall, theatre traditionalists simply didn’t like the jukebox era.

Just like 60 Minutes, however, a saviour waits in the wings.

Doctor Zhivago opens at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney on Saturday night, and it must work if the theatre traditionalists are to get their way.

You see, producers need to be convinced that this type of musical can still work, and hence, there’s more than just the box office of this particular show relying on the ticket sales and critical reception of Zhivago.

If Doctor Zhivago works, producers will be convinced that the traditional new, book musical can still work.

If it doesn’t, perhaps a musical based on Justin Beiber’s life is waiting in the wings.

Saturday night’s opening night is more than just another show making its debut. It is a very important night in Australian musical theatre history.

It could well be a watershed evening.

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