Can a UK Touring show survive without celebrity casting?
People love to complain about celebrity casting in theatre shows and how actors train for years to be able to do the job that some people are plonked in to, just because they have been on TV but can a production survive without a name… especially on tour?
Back in 2010, the Monty Python musical Spamalot went on an extensive UK tour and spent five years touring the country and making return stints in to the West End. Spamalot is a cult classic with a legion of fans that will return again and again to see the show but was the longevity of the production down to its clever star casting? Marcus Brigstoke, Jodie Prenger, Todd Carty, Hayley Tamaddon, Matthew Kelly, Phil Jupitus, Dick and Dom, Bonnie Langford, Carley Stenson, Joe Pasquale, Warwick Davis, Anna-Jane Casey and many more well known stars of stage and screen performed stints in the show and so it surprised me to learn that the new production of the show (set to open in Blackpool next month) doesn’t feature any actors I have heard of.
Featuring no well known TV/Theatre performers will certainly save money on producing a show but could it have disastrous consequences to the planned eight month tour of Spamalot? Or does celebrity casting really not matter and the UK theatre goers will flock to see a show just because they want to see a particular production?
With so many shows touring the UK, featuring well known celebrities, clever Marketing and Casting choices seem to be able to make the difference between success and failure for some shows.
I have my tickets to see Spamalot in Blackpool when it opens in September, I just hope the lack of star casting doesn’t mean it will be the last venue on the tour I am able to catch it.