Did you know that Michael Moore opened on Broadway with a one-man show called “The Terms Of My Surrender”?
No? Lucky you.
Moore has started a 2 1/2 month run of this one man paean to himself at the Belasco theater (from last night to October 22).
How bad is it? Well, here is a key part of New York Times’ reviewer Derek Hunter’s assessment:
Don’t get me wrong: Mr. Moore has led an exemplary life of progressive activism, both in the trenches and as a filmmaker. His early movies, like “Roger & Me,” represent an impish moral intelligence at its most incisive. It helps that he chose good targets and had an ear for irony. Even before his stint on the school board, he helped torpedo the Elks’ “Caucasians only” policy by delivering a jeremiad against it in an oratory contest sponsored by … the Elks. There’s little he’s against that most theatergoers are for.
Still, you don’t have to disagree with Mr. Moore’s politics to find that his shtick has become disagreeable with age. “The Terms of My Surrender,” which opened on Thursday at the Belasco, is a bit like being stuck at Thanksgiving dinner with a garrulous, self-regarding, time-sucking uncle. Gotta love him — but maybe let’s turn on the television.
As you can see, Derek Hunter’s demolishing of Moore’s performance has nothing to do with his politics, unless – and this is a real possibility – it resulted in Mr. Hunter giving it a more positive review than he otherwise would have.
Despite the “save your money” review, however, I would not at all be surprised if Moore played to sold-out audiences for every performance.
I have always thought of Michael Moore as a niche marketer – i.e. someone who is fine with most people dlsliking him if he can build a small (percentage-wise) segment of supporters who love him to pieces and hang on his every word.
In a country with, 245 million adults (18+), even if he can generate just one half a percent of such loyalists, that comes to about 1,225,000 people. Let’s assume about 10% of them are in, or will be in, New York during the show’s run.
With a seating capacity 1,016, that could fill the Belasco about 120 times – assuming none of them come back for seconds and thirds and none of them bring the kiddies. But Moore will only be there for about 10 1/2 weeks, with just 6 performances a week (Tuesday -Saturday nights, with a matinee on Saturday tossed in). That’s a total of 63 or so performances. A very wise move.
Count on him to brag endlessly about what a “success” filling the theater will be.