Tag Archives: Sarah Marty

HAMILTON: An American Musical

Sarah Marty 2 26 2020“Hamilton: The Musical is the biggest tour of a Broadway show to hit the road in years, maybe decades,” Sarah Marty, Producing Artistic Director of Four Seasons Theatre in Madison, told Rotarians on Wednesday, February 26. “Hamilton represents an entire industry, with ripple effects that go far beyond the lights of Broadway,” she said, adding that it had surpassed the reach of any other Broadway musical, including the phenomenal popularity of Oklahoma following its 1943 debut.

Locally, Madison’s Overture Center sold over 53,000 tickets to Hamilton, and Marty cited an estimated additional economic impact of $37.36 per person beyond the ticket price.  Both nationally and locally, Hamilton was hugely popular, inspiring people to stand in line for hours for tickets.  There are currently six productions of Hamilton touring all around the country, bringing in millions of dollars every week.

Beyond the economic impact of its huge success, though, Marty points to Hamilton’s other ripple effects, including increases in actors, producers and audiences of color.  Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton.  When Miranda picked up the hefty Chernow book in an airport and then read it, he immediately thought, “This is a hip-hop story,” calling an early version of the piece The Hamilton Mix Tape.  The elaborate musical production that eventually resulted is so complex that fans have put together a website at Genius.com to provide footnotes and links to all the many facts alluded to in the musical.

Marty cited the end of Hamilton as pointing to the importance of the work:  It causes us to think about “who lives, who dies, and who tells your story.”

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video on our club’s YouTube Channel here.

Sarah Marty on the State of Community Theatre in Madison

–submitted by Mary Borland; photo by Mike Engelberger

Sarah MartySarah Marty, the Director of Arts programs at UW-Madison Continuing Studies, spoke to Rotarians about the vibrant arts program in the Madison and surrounding areas and the challenges they are facing. Sarah opened her remarks by sharing the lyrics to “No Business Like Show Business” and stating there is “no people like show people.”  She proceeded to demonstrate how this is true by sharing information about the vibrant arts programs in Madison.  Community theatre is made by, with and for the community and deploys local talent onstage and backstage and is responsive to the community in which it exists. Did you know:

  • There are over 35 art companies in the area
  • Madison is punching way above its weight in the arts and is 48th in the nation in spending $0.14/capita compared to our neighbors in Minnesota who spend $6.26/capita on the arts
  • Many local talents have gone on to national careers in the arts and some of them have come home to Madison to share and grow the next round of talent
  • Changing economic realities create challenges as companies in the area compete for limited resources, talent, volunteers, etc.
  • Change is required to be a sustainable arts program
    • Local companies are talking and planning with one another to help create many opportunities for many people to participate
  • Ticket sales now have to accommodate for 60% of funding with another 20% coming from foundations and another 20% coming from individual and business donations.
  • Examples of ways the local community arts programs are adapting include:
    • Joint auditions are happening across the community to cast two shows at once
    • Similar sets are shared between shows when feasible
    • Shared box offices
    • Shared rehearsal spaces
    • Shared pool of carpenters

Sarah closed stating there are 3 Big Questions each arts company needs to be asking themselves:

  1. Who are we?
  2. What do we do?
  3. Why do we matter?

The art companies need the community’s help with these questions and finding new ways to work together and truly move to an “ours vs mine” approach. She left us with noting that we should support the arts because they are important to peoples’ lives – the arts affect our spirits, our hearts and connect us to our fellow human beings.

For more on Sarah’s background, visit www.littlebrownnotebook.com.

CLICK to watch the video of Sarah Marty’s presentation.