Anyone who has been involved in theatre loves a good opening night.
Anyone who has been involved in theatre loves a good opening night. The nerves before the show, and then hopefully the praise after. You get some of the people you love there, and there’s usually some cards and gifts, and for the lucky ones, flowers. Then you all have some bubbly after the show and toast to the success of the show and hope the run will be good. You are nervous hoping that the reviewers liked the show and you get some good quotes for publicity.
Here’s the thing, actors and crew always wish opening night could just be moved to closing night. On opening night the show looks good, it just never looks great. It takes a number of runs in front of crowds before it really starts flowing well. Shows with huge runs can afford to have a week or two of previews before the VIPs come in and watch the show, but in indy theatre, a couple of previews is the most you can squeeze out before all the important people you want to impress come and see the show. When you’re performing a comedy, you’re learning to deal with laughs from an audience, where to pause, where not to. And you’re learning about the flow of a drama. And any performer will tell you the show is always better by closing night. It’s probably why people always want to go later in the season, the show is better.
Of course realistically you could never have reviewers in on closing night. Well that’s if you want good reviews, bad reviews after you close would be okay though. But a good review after you’ve closed does nothing. And how shocking would that first week be without a good party to celebrate your opening success? Plus, the bookend of parties is always welcome.
But still, anyone who has thought they were shocking on opening compared to their closing night performance will know exactly why I sometimes fantasise about swapping the nights!