Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recycling Broadway

No - the title of this blog doesn't elude to how Rent likes to "recycle" its cast for the past ten years, but rather the actual act of recycling major musicals and plays sets on Broadway to help produce future productions.

Maybe it's the nerd in me that wonders what happens to certain costume pieces or set/props after a show as closed, or even after a certain actor has left the show. Do the actors get to keep their attire they work in 8 times a week?

The Times had an article this week, "Old Sets Live on as Broadway Embraces Recycling", talking about this topic.

Thanks to the initiative the 15 tons of debris produced by “Boeing-Boeing,” “The Seagull” and “13” won’t end up in a landfill. Seven tons (steel, wood, fabric and carpet) will be recycled, and eight tons will be reused by various organizations, including the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens; ReBuilders Source, a reuse store in the Bronx; and the children’s charity World Vision. The sets from “All My Sons” and “Grease” are also largely being repurposed and recycled.

But in what may be an economic measure as much as an environmental one, most of the props and costumes from recently closed shows like “Gypsy,” “Hairspray,” “Liza’s at the Palace...,” “Slava’s Snowshow,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” and “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” went into storage for reuse later.
I think it's particularly exciting to see a set being used for another production across the world. For example the Las Vegas set of We Will Rock You went directly to the Australian production of the Queen musical. Also, the recently closed Dividing The Estate play on Broadway, will be coming directly to Hartford Stage with every set piece and costume in tow.

I think if I were in a Broadway show, and if I wasn't allowed my costume, I'd beg for my shoes. Every nick and scratch is a scar that tells a story of a performance on a Broadway stage.

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