I talk to lots of theatergoers: in focus groups, at the TKTS booth, in the lobby at Godspell, on the subway, on vacation, and everywhere in between.
It's become somewhat of a hobby.
What amazes me every time I talk to them is how much they don't know. They're not "dumb", by any means. It's just that there are a lot of myths, urban legends and just plain bad info about Broadway out there. And since our industry doesn't have megabucks to spend on public service announcements (or rather, the people with the megabucks won't spend it on public service announcements), a lot of this bad information gets spread instead of getting stomped out.
What also amazes me is how fascinated theatergoers are with talking to someone like me who does know what shows are running, who is starring in what show, how to get the best tickets, what time the TKTS booth actually opens, if Hugh Jackman is as good looking as he is on TV, and so on.
After disseminating whatever info I have, I also usually direct them to a website or two.
And here's where it really gets interesting (but not that surprising).
That's when they usually complain about the websites, and the lack of easy-to-find info, the navigation, the ads, etc., etc., and they usually say something like, "Sometimes I just want to talk to a person."
You know the feeling, right? Ever have a problem with a computer? An airline ticket? Something outside of your everyday world . . . and all that you want to do is get a person on the phone who can give you the answer to your question, or steer you in the right direction?
Wouldn't that make your whole process more positive? Maybe it would even make you want to do more of it?
Well, that's exactly what I thought . . . so then I wondered . . . why doesn't Broadway have a hotline? Why doesn't it have a toll free number that people can just call to find out stuff? Ivory Soap has one. Coke has one.
And now Broadway has one too!
Introducing 1-855-SEE-BWAY, the first ever free Broadway hotline.
Yep, we created 1-855-SEE-BWAY (733-2929) to help answer your questions about Broadway.
It's staffed by a bunch of the nicest Broadway theater lovers you could ever imagine (they also happen to be my staff, in a very Zappos-inspired "we all answer the phone including the boss" structure), and we guarantee we'll get you the answer to whatever question you have about Broadway theatergoing.
Need to know what's playing? Need to know at what times? Price of tickets? Suitability for kids? Location? Parking? Restaurants nearby? Sure, we got that. And if we don't, we'll get it for you. Promise on our autographed original cast recording of Company.
Oh, and before you ask . . . no, we're not selling anything. This isn't about us trying to make any money. This is about a service that should exist. And needs to exist if we're going to grow our audience (just like Zappos increased theirs).
So starting today, the Broadway Hotline is open for biz. Call it yourself, or give it to your friends, or write it on a bathroom wall for all I care.
Everyone on my team loves talking theater, so we're just taking turns trying to help theatergoers see more theater.
And when people see more theater, everyone wins.
(Got a comment? I love 'em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what's on your mind!)
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