The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Dirty Rotten Shame

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

If further proof was needed that Sydney is a tough market to launch theatrical productions, then the company behind Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the latest example.
The show won best musical and best actor in a musical at last year's Sydney Theatre Awards and was lauded in reviews.
But it failed to attract big audiences over its eight-week season at the Theatre Royal.
In late January, the show's producer, 31-year-old newcomer to the Australian scene George Youakim, sent a letter to contractors who were owed money, saying the company could not meet its debts and it would be handed to a liquidator.
''The liquidation process should begin in February, and it is hoped that accounts will be settled as quickly as possible following the signing over of the company to the liquidator,'' Mr Youakim said in a letter.
''Once the company has been signed over, the liquidator will reach out to the creditor and inform you of the process and the estimated payment term and date.''
Mr Youakim said all wages had been paid to the actors and crew, but that some contractors and suppliers were owed money.
''The company has not been placed in liquidation yet,'' Mr Youakim said. ''I am still looking at other alternatives to meet the debt.''
Mr Youakim, who studied musical theatre in New York, had hoped to take Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to Melbourne, which seems to have a more receptive audience for musicals. Jill Hewitt, from Moneypenny, which served as the production accountant, said several shows had struggled in Sydney in recent years.
''Sydney just doesn't spend on theatre tickets the way Melbourne does,'' she said.
A technical director on the show, Greg Yates, said he was owed thousands of dollars for out-of-pocket expenses. ''Once bitten, twice shy,'' he said.


  1. Stuart, Steven and I discussed this issue on the weekend seeing as we all are regular theatre goers in both cities we came up with the following points regarding theatre going in Sydney versus Melbourne. Melbourne theatres are closer together and are in the heart of the city often surrounded by multiple restaurants, bars and cafes. Sydney theatres are spread out all over the city and in some cases there's nowhere to eat nearby and if there is its packed and overpriced. Not all Sydney theatres are easily accessible by public transport like all of Melbourne's are and even if they are the suburban spread of Sydney means that your average Sydney suburban resident has to travel a good 3/4 hour to hour home on what is often unsafe public transport at 10.30 at night. If you decide to drive into Sydney it's often a nightmare due to road closures and then you pay $25 - $50 for parking. In Melbourne you can still find places in south bank that is free street parking. Sydney theatre subscriptions don't let you purchase additional tickets for people when you subscribe ... You have a hard time exchanging tickets whereas Melbourne theatre companies are much friendlier and helpful in their exchange and single ticket purchases. I think the only way for a smaller type musical to survive in sydney is to be in conjunction with a sydney theatre company so you at least get the subscriber base. One man two govners did this with stc and mtc to great success. I don't think that any big musical should ever open in Sydney if it wants a long life in Australia ... Melbourne audiences have the accessibility and the interest to make a musical a hit ... Sydney audiences don't ... It's all just too hard in Sydney on multiple levels.... But then again what would we know ?? We are just the audience ... Which seems to be the last thing on anyone's minds in Sydney !

  2. Sydney people will go to a show if they know about it. That was the problem with Scoundrels: everyone was going to Grease, which was marketed to pieces. To say Sydney audiences aren't interested in musicals is a fallacy, and I laughed to read that restaurants are overpriced in Sydney- they're not in Melbourne? I cannot think of one theatre in Sydney where there is "nowhere to eat". It's hard exchanging tickets in Sydney- really? I've never had a problem, but then I usually organise my diary properly. The theatres are not all close together in Melbourne- three of them are. (The Comedy is generally dark.) The rest are in St Kilda, Richmond and… I guess that's about it.