Wednesday, June 28, 2006

LOTR to Close?!!

Just heard on the local a.m. station, Newstalk 570 that a news conference is set for 11:30 this morning to announce the closing of the Toronto production, Lord of the Rings. I believe they said due to "poor reviews".

It should be interesting to see if the taxpayers of Ontario will get a rebate for our forced investment.

Yet, the "Lord of the Farce" remains firmly entrenched in Queen's Park. I would love to give that comedy a review.


Update: Toronto Sun - LOTR to Close
Also - CTV, CBC, Globe


THURSDAY UPDATE!!! - Jeff Allen will be discussing LOTR from 10:30 to 11:00 this morning! You can listen online at 570news.com and call in. Hey, maybe I will too!

Topic: The Lord of the Rings to close. The $28-million Lord of the Rings stage production, will end. The production is believed to be the most expensive stage show ever mounted. The McGunity government loaned 3 million dollars towards the play.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is angered that taxpayers have lost their investment.

Guest: John Williamson, Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Question: Should the government invest tax dollars in Broadway shows?


This should be good.

* * * * *

Well, in case you missed it, I taped the interview with John Williamson. He said among other things that this is "...more proof that the bureaucrats aren't good at... investing our dollars". He said that although the loan was intended as part of a "grand strategy" to increase tourism in Toronto, Williamson felt that it could better have been accomplished by addressing the "fundamentals". These include addressing crime, and lowering or eliminating hotel taxes, etc.

Sounds too much of a common sense solution for our Premier.

The other point John Williamson made was that these types of investments don't serve taxpayers at all, and are instead focused on pandering to the City of Toronto at the expense of the rest of Ontario, and in particular to Toronto City Hall politicians with the goal of re-election.

And that may very well be where this farce all got started.


(See also: Failed to Connect in the Globe, H/T Nealenews)


* * * *

FRIDAY UPDATE: The Toronto Sun has kidnapped Frodo!!!

And don't miss this! - Christina Blizzard "Subsidizing Art is a Bad Hobbit".


32 comments:

Red Tory said...

Um, it's a loan, right? One presumes that loans will be repaid. Your "forced investment" wasn't a grant, so what's the problem?

Why does Joanne hate Hobbits?

PhantomObserver said...

I don't think Joanne hates hobbits. What she does hate -- and I agree with her on this -- is that the provincial government should back a play with taxpayers' money. Not a permanent structure like a theatre, not an amateur grant -- a commercial play that's supposed to make commercial money.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

P.O. - Exactly. Or funnel the money into tourism in general. Something stinks here. Why was this particular production given this kind of taxpayers' backing?

I know! Why doesn't McGuinty just buy them out, just like he did with the land in Caledonia? If there's a problem, just buy it away!

kelly said...

Hopefully they repay it before they close! A friend of mine just saw in on the weekend and said it was great!
LOL Joanne - re: McGuinty!

Red Tory said...

Governments make loans to businesses all the time. Is it the fact that it’s a theatrical production and not an automobile parts manufacturer the problem here? Get real.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

RT - We could have used an investment in family doctors here instead.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kelly- Hey, I'd feel o.k. about it if all us Ontario investors got a free ticket; or even a discount.

Red Tory said...

Joanne -- It's not a zero sum equation. Family doctors... puhleeze. If it wasn't Mr. McSquishy doing it, you wouldn't have a problem whatsoever. And yes, it would be nice to get a discount. Here in BC under a LIBERAL government, there's a discount for residents who go skiing at Whistler (the government has poured lots of cash into that place).

VW said...

RT: if the Mike Harris Tories had made the decision to back LOTR, I still would be ticked off.

Yes, it's because it's a theatrical production. That already implies a) limited audience, b) uncertain project life and c) uncertain returns. The Ontario government might have gotten some temporary bragging rights (for drumming up tourism) for tourism if LOTR had been an astounding success, but that hasn't been the case.

Nicole said...

I would take a hobbit loss over what the NDP provincial government did here in Sask
........ever hear of Spudco?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

if the Mike Harris Tories had made the decision to back LOTR, I still would be ticked off. Of course, Mike Harris was a lot smarter than that.

Red Tory said...

VW -- Yes, it's because it's a theatrical production. That already implies a) limited audience, b) uncertain project life and c) uncertain returns.

Well, there goes any money for research and development then. After all, it might not pan out, it may have an uncertain project life and it may provide no return on the investment.

Don’t like that example? How about a Canadian company trying to break into an export market? Their customer base might be limited, their marketing plan might not take off and there could be uncertain returns.

Okay then… So I think we’ve cleared that up. You don’t like it because it’s “arty” and you don’t believe that the government should be involved in anything to do with the “arts” because they’re all just a seething nest of liberals anyway and they should stand or fall on their own merits. Am I off base here?

Oh, and did I mention that it’s a LOAN?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

If it's really a loan, we should be getting the money back with interest. What do you think are the odds of that, I wonder...

Red Tory said...

Well I haven't seen the contract, have you? And yes, the loan should be repaid with interest. Standard stuff for a loan. And if they default, well there's legal recorse to address that.

Roy Eappen said...

I liked LOTR. The Mirvishes sent an email saying the play is moving to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. I am baffled why the Mirvishes need financial support. Thet are extraordinarilty successful. It seems silly to give mioney to a private for profit company. I feel that wayy about all corporate welfare. The ticket price wasn't any lower with the subsidy. I am a subscriber and the tickey had a face value of 85 dollars.

aliasdictus said...

Ont. taxpayers are forced, to the tune of 1.37% of the provincial budget, or 0.23% of GDP, to funnel money into agriculture, including the raising for slaughter and consumption our "poor earth born companians and fellow mortals". I guess the fact that farmers are true blue Conservative voters would account for the lack of outrage on that score.

PGP said...

I never heard of any production being shut down by bad reviews.....poor box office sales? Well that's another thing.
BTW.....how did your government get involved ?
OMMAG

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - Yes, it is very strange. I hope that there will be some kind of audit done on this. I'm sure the money could have been better invested elsewhere. I would like to know how much if any will be recouped.

how did your government get involved ? Who knows? This is certainly not one of their greater follies though. The Caledonia show still goes on and on...

Surecure said...

I saw LOTR... as a regular theatre goer (and actor) I can't say that I was impressed with it. The scene with the Balrog was cool, but overall I didn't think it worked. They tried to put everything from the books into it, but that didn't give enough time for any single idea to be explored enough to give it any emotional weight. And a lot of it was left so that only people who knew the stories going in would know what was going on when events happened, which is not a good thing for theatre.

As well, there was so much mindless running around on the stage that could've been substituted with anything important... ahhhh... not much of it was very good at all.

All in all, the play doesn't really deserve anything more than what it has got. It was a colossal mistake and was better left alone. And as for money the government put in, don't even get me started.

Bad enough David Miller was doing his typical whiney finger pointing at the US (post 911, blah blah blah)... doesn't he ever get tired of selling the same old schtick?

x2para said...

maybee Dolt'n can fund a play about Caledonia, with him riding in to save the poor oppresed "natives" from evil euro-trash invaders with knucles draging on the ground and huge protruding foreheads. Pee-Wee Herman plays Dolt'n and the Keystone Cops can be the OPP with a guest apearance by the invisible man for the OPP Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

Aliasdictus said:
"Ont. taxpayers are forced, to the tune of 1.37% of the provincial budget, or 0.23% of GDP, to funnel money into agriculture, including the raising for slaughter and consumption our "poor earth born companians and fellow mortals"

A juicy steak with all the trimmings might help you resolve some of those anger management issues. Bon app├ętit!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Surecure - You're an actor? In Toronto? Very interesting perspective.

Personally, I would like to know how Dolton got us sucked into investing in this money pit.

Why not invest in enticing family doctors to practice in under-serviced cities?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Pee-Wee Herman plays Dolt'n and the Keystone Cops can be the OPP with a guest apearance by the invisible man for the OPP Commissioner.

X2para, that's funny, but we don't need to produce a production like that. We witness that reality show in Queen's Park and environs every day; funded by the taxpayers of Ontario. Unfortunately, it's more of a horror show than a comedy.

Red Tory said...

I never heard of any production being shut down by bad reviews....

LOL. I'm sure that's going to be the most absurd thing I run across all day long. Gee, you think there might be a causal relationship between bad reviews and poor ticket sales? Is such a thing conceivable? Sheesh!

liberal supporter said...

How many doctors would we be able to entice to underserviced areas with 3 million dollars? The theory behind the 3 mil loan to the production was that it would attract more people and economic activity, and the taxes collected on that could go to doctor enticement. And the repaid loan could too. I agree with the idea that support for the arts has a payback. Doesn't always work, but the big successes make up for the stinkers.

The first problem I see for this particular case, is why does a 28 million production need a 3 million top up? Secondly, it sounds a lot like investment advice that says "if you buy this, you will automatically make money". They seem to think dumping money into a production guarantees it will make money. It doesn't. It mostly guarantees the mnney will be spent.

When it's your own money involved, there is a better chance you will see what isn't going to work, and rethink it. As surecure said, this production didn't really work. I think the fact that it was successfully made into a trilogy of movies made it seem like a no-brainer. But that's the problem, doing a no-brainer instead of taking a real risk on something.

Movie success doesn't imply that it will work on the stage. Would you really want to watch a Star Wars play? They have to bring something new to it for it to work on the stage.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. Yes, and as John Williamson said, politicians rarely make good businessmen unless that is their area of specialty.

If a politician is investing on my behalf as a taxpayer, I don't want it to be in a high-stakes gamble with daily production costs that are so high they require a sell-out every night of the run.

Red Tory said...

...politicians rarely make good businessmen unless that is their area of specialty.

Like George Bush? LOL.

Joe Calgary said...

I'm glad Alberta got out of the "subsidizing with cash for business" business. Now we just give them tax breaks with the damage tacked on to the end.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Like George Bush? RT, that was straight out of the Liberal playbook - "If all else fails, bring George Bush into the argument". ;)

liberal supporter said...

Not just politicians, the government employees also are not renowned for business acumen. They thought it was "Lord of the Rinks", and figured a hockey themed show in Toronto can't miss. Like the Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup in 39 years and they still sell the place to the rafters, so it would be a sure thing.

Chuckercanuck said...

Personally, I think the Aria of the lonely Orc is beautiful. I hope Micheal Bolton records it one day.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

l.S. "Lord of the Rinks"
Too funny!!!

CC - Not on my dime!