Who Else Wants More Skin Onstage?

A strong contender for “Best Headline. Ever.” Joe Patti published a post on 12/7/2009 entitled You Must Be This Naked To Be Appealing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I jumped right into the article and was pleased to see there was more there than just a great teaser. In particular, Joe wondered if the results from a recent study that found women should bare 40% of their bodies in order attract a mate had any bearing on performing arts (pun intended)…

ITA-GUY-007All research aside, showing more skin has been a hot topic throughout the opera field. I remember the minor stir here in Chicago last season with Chicago Opera Theater’s (COT) production of don Giovanni. Ever the shutterbug, COT General Director and Inside The Arts blogger, Brian Dickie posted a variety of photos from production rehearsals at his photo site which give you a completely accurate idea of what the performance looked like.  Having enjoyed the performance in person and even a glimpse or two (or twelve) backstage, I can firmly say that the skin to clothing ratio was well suited to the production.

Sadly, the orchestra field has a long, long, long way to go before it has to worry about crossing a line between prudish and lewd. In fact, I can’t think of an orchestra concert that came close to the 40% unclothed ratio suggested in the University of Leeds study.

Can you think of any?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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