OT- American Girl

tonya
tonya

August 2nd, 2008, 9:50 pm #1

Not sure if anyone has asked this- I was just on the AG site with my daughter and it seems that the New York and Chicago theaters are closing Sept 1. Is this forever or just for the summer? I know LA closed a while back but I thought the others were staying open. Allie is crushed! She's never seen a show there.
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Julie Stevens
Julie Stevens

August 2nd, 2008, 10:01 pm #2

I'm pretty sure it's happening in all of the stores. No more theatres, just restaurants.

Julie
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Kim Ryan
Kim Ryan

August 3rd, 2008, 12:29 am #3

The NY and Chicago theatres are also closing. I agree, it's totally sad, and I guess it's a sign of the times.

Kim
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Another Stage Mom
Another Stage Mom

August 3rd, 2008, 2:09 pm #4

Apparently, it's not cost efficient for Mattel to run a theater that is dark a great deal of the time. It was very busy during the summer, during the Christmas holiday period, and during school spring breaks, but at other times of the year, such as January and September, when school started back, it was very slow and they often canceled scheduled shows. I am sorry that this next generation of girls will not have the opportunity that my daughter had to perform in the show, and I am even more sorry for the girls who will never get to SEE it. Live theater was such an important part of the American Girl Place experience.

I heard that the Chicago store was moving, and they did not want to construct a new theater in the new space. And anyone would be foolish not to think that the decision by the adults in the New York show to join Actor's Equity had something to do with the decision to close the New York theater.

On a hopeful note, I hope that Mattel, whom I believe owns the rights to the shows, will license them for performance in other venues. "The American Girls Revue" is a wonderful show, "Circle of Friends" less so, but both have beautiful music and an uplifting story line and deserve to be heard again. If Mattel is really just interested in making money, they really shouldn't overlook this asset.


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hanniganfan
hanniganfan

August 3rd, 2008, 6:16 pm #5

Though it is sad about the closing of AG, maybe they will re-structure and perhaps do a full length musical, play it in the big towns where the stores are and then tour the country, bringing the AG experience to those unable to afford or otherwise get to the cities where an AG store exists. I think a savy producer would see the gem in this and realize that we need positve, exciting events for young girls that have nothing to do with dressing inappropriatly for your age, emulating those young stars who are in and out of rehab, having babies at 17, breaking the law (and by that I mean drinking under age AND driving)or making young girls feel like it's uncool to grow up with positive moral values and an education! We MUST help our young women of today realize how valuable and special they are just being themselves!
WOW, didn't mean to go on so! What I really wanted to say was in response to a previous post:
"And anyone would be foolish not to think that the decision by the adults in the New York show to join Actor's Equity had something to do with the decision to close the New York theater."
Please undersatnd that the reason the adults in AG in New York asked (and yes, they came to the Union) for help in negotiating the contract was not to stick it to AG. It was so they would be able to perform professionaly, get paid a living wage in keeping with the cost of living in NY AND recieve health benefits and a pension. Many factors went into the negotiations, the real truth of how it happened is known by those who were active participants, be careful what you believe from those who were not part of the negotiating process and the spin that it can take when too many "stories" get created due to the sensitive subject matter. Too many times Actors Equity gets blamed for shows closing, when in fact, there are so many factors in the decision to close a show, that there really is never one single factor that plays into that decision.
Actors Equity is the union for professional actors, if a show is going to call itself professional then the Union is going to step in and actively try and create a professional work place and contract when called upon by a cast to help, by putting in place rules and regulations for both the actors and the producers, protecting both and ensuring that no one is mistreated. Is it a perfect union, not in the least! Is it always striving to better and change the contracts and work environment for the working professional? You bet. Unless you have sat on a committee and been to the meetings and participated in a negotiation pertainig to a new contract, it is hard to understand the intricasies from both sides that factor into a realized and positive contract.
Now, before everyone jumps on me about the union, I am a member and have been for 3,000 years (it seems) I've sat on commitees, been part of negotiations and am a firm believer in the education and promotion of our Future Professionals. I am a coach, teacher, actor and have made my living for many years in the business. Key word: Business. So, with that said, I can't think of a better way for young people hoping to become professional to get started than in community and local theatre AND some of the wondeful non-equity tours out there! Annie being one of them. But please, don't knock the union, once you are a participating member and avail yourself of the amazing opportunities available to you (where else can you get a free pair of shoes every year by simply asking?!)you will come to understand the reason for a strong union. Beacuse, we who are members ARE the union!
I urge every parent whose child is considering this profession as a carreer to go to Equity's website and read everything you can, talk to people who have made their living in the business (not just the ones who have had one show or tour and are now experts on the business). Julie, I believe, has a business seminar for this exact thing. Trust your instincts and hold fast to your morals and decisions that concern your child, the parent is the only one who will ensure the proper care and nuturing of the child, and by educating yourself about the business, you will ensure a safe and healthy experience for your budding star!
OK...I'm finished...I just get so passionate when thinking of all the new talent waiting to be discovered! Best wishes all and Beak a Leg!
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Another Stage Mom
Another Stage Mom

August 4th, 2008, 12:21 pm #6

I did not mean to imply in any way that the adults in AG did not fully deserve the higher wages and benefits that Equity membership would have brought them. I was just emphasizing that it was a business decision to close the theater, based, unfortunately, on the bottom line reality that retail space turns a much higher profit than theater space.

I think the idea of a tour of "The American Girls Revue" or "Circle of Friends" is a wonderful idea. Let's hope Mattel is listening!
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Hanniganfan
Hanniganfan

August 6th, 2008, 5:17 am #7

Hey...let's MAKE them listen! Maybe letters from parents with girls who are fans can start a letter writing campaign! I just think a tour would be a GREAT success! Maybe all the Moms can get together and WE can produce it....Dreams are built on such thoughts....hmmmm...
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