Sun, Oct 21 – Will You Know It’s Me? has closed after 6 performances due to the sudden walkout of a key actor, Natural Theatricals’ producing director Brian Alprin announced today. The company is issuing refunds to all outstanding ticket holders.
Saturday, Oct 20th had to be one of the worst days in the professional career of Natural Theatricals’ founders Brian and Paula Alprin. DCTS attended the 2 pm matinee of their original musical Will You Know It’s Me?, written by Paula Alprin and directed by Brian Alprin. A previously booked orchestra’s rehearsal had run long, giving the company little time for setup. When we were finally ushered into the theatre, an obviously shaken Brian Alprin announced that the lead performer, Deborah Rinn Critzer, had, moments ago, walked out of the show due to an apparent disagreement over the director’s notes.
When reached for comment, Ms. Critzer said she and the company were unable to come to an agreement about her character. “I left the show due to minor differences in how I portrayed the character, Margery, at Friday night’s performance,” Ms, Critzer said. “I did not find out about Mr. Alprin’s concerns about these differences until I arrived at the theater on Saturday afternoon.” According to Critzer, Alprin threatened to cancel the show unless she took a different approach to her character. “I chose to stick to my own artistic integrity and leave the production,” Critzer said.
While offering to refund everyone’s tickets, Alprin encouraged the audience to stay for what turned into a staged concert version of the musical, told from the point of view of the ensemble, who, in fact, carry the musical portion of the play. The four quick witted actors managed to convey the points of the play, improvising where needed.
Overnight the company struggled with the decision of whether to continue as a ‘concert version’. The final decision came Sunday morning. The production is closed. “A theater company as small as ours doesn’t engage understudies,” said Brian Alprin. “Therefore, reconstituting the cast to the level of our production standards unfortunately was not an option.”
Will You Know It’s Me? ran for six performances between Oct 13 and Oct 20, 2007. Joel Markowitz will have an interview with musical director James D. Watson in an upcoming Theatre Schmooze.