Gina Beck · @gina_beck

5th Mar 2011 from Twitlonger

I'm angered by a recent series of letters to @thestage complaining about seeing understudies in musicals.. Let me give you a little synopsis: Paul Hanson was "disappointed and frustrated" not to see the big stars in Wicked one matinee despite the show not being sold on 'names': "If this had been a Saturday night performance, would the show have gone ahead with so many understudies?(five)" he asks. John French goes on to imply that young West End stars have no stamina as on the same night that three principles were absent from Love Never Dies " round the corner at the Garrick Theatre where all of the main actors were over 60, they were all present".. no offence but I don't think the actors in the farce "When We Are Married" really need the same stamina and vocal health required for such roles as Ramin's in LND or Rachel Tucker's in Wicked. Paul Younger goes on to say "how would you feel if you bought a Wembley ticket for a Take That reunion show, only to discover a tribute band on stage?" which is not the same thing at all. A musical is hardly ever just a vehicle for a big star to present themselves to an audience, it's a group of actors working together to tell a story. I can empathise that it's disappointing if your favourite stars are absent when you've paid to see them and perhaps if producers are going to sell a show on a 'name' there is a case for having a refund clause, but it seems highly insulting to the rest of the company working so hard to say you felt 'cheated' and that your night was 'ruined' After all, do these writers not realise that stars such as Lee Mead, Ramin Karimloo and John Owen Jones were all understudies once and the very people Paul Hanson would have been "extremely disappointed" to see. rant over!

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