...that is the question.
Well, loyal Helen friends, I promised a dramatic build up to our climax next week (Opening Night) and I'm not going to disappoint you. I am here to share with you what will go down in Helen history as my definitive moment of discouragement.
What, pray tell, could this be, you ask?
Going over budget?
Sleep deprivation and/or the lack of any semblance of a life?
Not having my full cast together for a rehearsal until our first day of tech?
Not finding anyone who would donate a power conditioner?
I'm going to be straight with you, as I always have, friends. Now, I don't mean to rain on your parade or burst your bubble, because I know a lot of you out there have been inspired by this Helen journey thus far. So, please, don't let this get you down. But, you know the old "Field of Dreams" mantra, "Build it and they will come?" Well, the Helen on 86th St. reality (and most likely the reality for any small, "unknown" team trying to mount a show) actually is, "Build it and be proud of the beautiful show you and your team have created because it's April and just about every 'industry' person you are inviting to your show is otherwise committed for the full run of your production." It's Tony season, and OBIE season and Drama Desk season and Pulizter season and so on.
And it stinks.
And believe me, it's not for lack of trying. If you knew the measures that I have gone to in the past week to hustle and nudge and persuade and implore the people who can take this exceptional show to the next level....well, you do know, because you read this blog and know that my name is Nicole Tenacity Kempskie.
"It's not fair!" says Vita in the story Helen on 86th St. I know that those words are so...tween. And maybe because I have been spending so much time with tweens, I'm starting to regress, but I wanted to scream out with Taylor when she said that line last night.
Because it isn't fair. It isn't fair that everyone in this industry is scurrying around frantically trying to find the "next big hit" when the "next big hit" might be right under their nose. It isn't fair that we held onto tickets for industry people we don't even know, when there are so many teachers we've worked with and students we've taught who would be thrilled to see this show. It isn't fair that a show that has ganerned so much support from the communities who actually comprise the ticket buying audiences, can't be acknowledged by the industry at large. It isn't fair that a group of people can work as hard as the Helen team and have such a positive impact on so many people, and not "succeed." (And by "succeed" I mean move to the next level. In my eyes, we have already succeeded.) Because if we can't succeed, honestly, I don't know who will be able to.
And most of all, it's unfair that we need those industry people in the seats in order for Helen on 86th St. to have a life beyond May 8th.
So you know what I'm doing? I'm releasing most of those industry seats and putting them back on sale to the public. Because enough is enough. I want the people who get excited about the thought of seeing Helen on 86th St. to be able to see it. Because I believe it would be a travesty to have an empty seat in the house when so many people have wholeheartedly been backing this show since it's inception. So spread the word! And get your tickets here if you missed out on the chance to get them before!
And just so you know, it isn't all grim. We actually do have some wonderful industry people who will be attending. And, ironically, these incredibly busy, incredibly successful and high profile people were among the first to RSVP. And they did it with kindness, encouragement and grace. Which gives me a glimmer of hope, on many levels.
And thanks to them, I opted against making the title of this blog, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."