CONSISTENCY IS KEY:
OVERALL QUALITY OF PERFORMANCES
A show doesn’t need to be full of veteran performers in order to sizzle. It can contain a diverse pool of entertainers at all different skill levels (within reason), or an entire roster of debut acts, and still remain consistently entertaining based on the polish, intention and execution style of the performers involved (this goes back to my first Big Six post, about being ready for stage before you get on it, and holding ourselves to a professional standard).
I really don’t care if you are a brand new performer, or an icon of this industry: If you step onstage and don’t vibrate with focused energy 100% of the time, no matter what you are doing or what the context of your act is, I am going to get bored. Regardless of how you creatively interpret the style in your own performance,burlesque is all about musicality, personality, energy and presentation. NO MATTER WHAT.
You can’t not have any of these things and expect to showcase an act successfully. Just as it is the producer's duty to organize, market and execute the show correctly, it is the performer's duty to walk into the venue with their best foot forward, maintain appropriate backstage etiquette, and make sure they give it all the sizzle they've got when their time on stage comes. Again, none of this is new news. If you are a true performer and/or patron of the performance arts, you have probably discovered the necessity for all of these things in all forms of live entertainment.
As a producer and an audience member it is easy to tell when a performer is ‘phoning it in,’ on stage; going through the motions of an act with lackluster energy and seeming absence of that personal joy which makes burlesque such a magical and enjoyable performance style to watch (see The Big Six...Say It With Me Now: Crowd Focus, Participation and Energy for more on this topic).
It is the producer's duty to cast and curate the show in a way that creates a flow of entertainment for the audience (see The Big Six...A 'Produced,' Event: The Importance Of Set Formulas for more on this topic). That being said, you can't necessarily help it if a performer shows up, doesn't check their attitude at the door, and 'phones in,' their performance at your show. You can, however, not stand for such unprofessional and ungrateful behavior (standards!) and decline booking that performer in the future. In fact, if you are feeling like a really nice producer, do that performer a favor and explain to them the reason they will no longer receive bookings for your show - a healthy reality check and some genuine constructive criticism will only help a performer evolve!
We are a unique community that is dictated by the standards of behavior we practice and enforce - I say let's raise the bar at every level, and push for an increasingly brighter and broader future for the industry as a whole.