How American Idol keeps you in, even when they’re off.

This should be American Idol‘s summer vacation.  They just crowned the winner of season 12 a couple of months ago.  And Season 13, with some new celebrity judge du jour (I’m hoping for Prince Harry or the girl that Anthony Weiner was sexting), doesn’t debut until mid January 2014.

But the Producers are already building quite a buzz for the next airing, as they always do.


They’re having auditions.

In addition to online submissions, the American Idol Audition Bus is rolling across the country, making stops everywhere from Foxborough, MA to Omaha, Nebraska, giving everyone everywhere a chance at Idol glory.

Thousands upon thousands of people will show up . . . some great, and some like this.  But in addition to finding a new slate of contestants, Idol will have created even more enthusiastic fans than they had before.

You don’t think all those people that audition in the coming months will be more enthused about watching Season 13 when it rolls around?  They’ll tune in to say, “Who beat me?”  And they’ll be proud to tell their friends, “I auditioned for that.”  By involving people in the process, they expand their audience.

I realize that American Idol‘s whole M.O is about finding unknown talent and giving them a stage unlike they’ve seen before, but there is a lesson here for Broadway and Broadway Producers.

Why doesn’t every Broadway show have open calls, allowing anyone and their brother, Equity or not, a chance at Broadway stardom?  We did it for Godspell, and we had lines around the block (and collected emails).  So many people said it was their dream just to be seen for a Broadway show, and they would never forget it, even if they went back to their day job the next morning.  Sure it’s a cost, but you don’t think you’d make that back in press and tickets?  And just imagine if you found a cast member from that casting net.  Oh the articles!

Or, what if we expanded this idea even further . . .

What if Broadway, as an industry, had a National audition tour, every year?  What if we threw 3-5 of our best casting directors on a big bus, and rolled it out Idol style.  Can you imagine the turnout?  Can you imagine the press?  Can you imagine the good will we’d generate for Broadway?

But not only that, I’d bet the cost of that bus that we’d actually find someone if not several someones worthy of being on a Broadway stage.

Broadway can sometimes feel like a super exclusive meat-packing district club . . . hard to get into, and even a little scary.  By opening up our doors, and allowing people into our process, we could guarantee that we have lines at our doors for years.


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  • Becca P says:

    In my whole life, I have watched a grand total of 4 episodes of Idol. A high school friend of mine made it through a few rounds one season, posted on Facebook that she had done so, and so I felt obligated to watch.

    The more people they audition (and give even a scrap of airtime) the more of their friends and family members begin watching. And hopefully some will stick with the show longer than their friend’s airtime.

  • Ken,

    What a great idea!

    The reality of the digital age is that DISTANCE is eliminated often. Why can’t Broadway find a way to leverage talent across America – and build the buzz at the same time.

    The marketplace for audience only expands as we expand the visible engagement for new talent.

    Can I drive the bus?


  • Joe says:

    I would think it would have to be better done than “You’re The One That I Want” did with Grease. Probably shouldn’t be an attempt to cast the leads.

    • Elisa Christina Clayton says:

      It’s true that show rather flopped but the show’s inspiration, the BBC-TV program “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”, became the highest-rated of its kind in the broadcaster’s history. And the production at the London Palladium set box-office records and made a star of Connie Fisher, who was chosen by the British public to star as Maria.

      Thus, proving once again that the Theatre business can be very unpredictable.

  • Sue says:

    Excellent idea. But what will Equity have to say?

  • Aaron Loo says:

    Getting ready to audition now!
    Great concept and got my neurons popping now and drooling now at ways to help my show get a buzz on it.
    Thanks for the spark!

  • janis says:

    Extending Broadway to the world may soon become a real necessity. The world is getting smaller, travel is becoming more difficult, and people are increasingly seeking easier access to entertainment (i.e. computer games, TV, etc.).

    A Broadway Idol type tour would pay for itself in ticket sales to family and friends alone. Every other ticket would be immediate profit with goodwill and press as profit for the show itself.

    There would be plenty of press and from stats I saw on here folks from outside NYC buy most Broadway tickets anyway.

    Get a bus and hit the road. We’ll keep the light on for ya’.

  • Gail BArtell says:

    The Broadway Bus idea is a MUST!!! I absolutely agree with the fact that Broadway seems too exclusive and untouchable. This would bring Broadway to the masses in a whole new way! This has to happen!

  • Stuart Green says:

    G-d, I [expletive of positive emotion] love it! Having participated in two tours (one promotional), I’ve experienced first-hand what happens when you connect a person to a concept (aka brand, item) – you build a relationship. It’s no wonder why Presidential hopefuls board the trains, plains and automobiles to shake a few hands, and expand their brands across the land!

  • Linda Downes says:

    I love this idea! I love Broadway but live in a small town in Michigan. There are plenty of talented people all over the country who can’t get to NY. You would definitely find stars this way! Let me know when the bus is coming!

  • Brian Jones says:

    This is an awesome idea. I’ve seen so many amazing shows in my local community theaters that starred everyday people with other careers. So often, these people and productions are far superior to even the national and “professional” tours that come through town. People just need their one little break for someone to see them and be discovered! Even your dentist longs to be in show business!

  • Stacey says:

    I agree with you 100%. when MTV had “the hunt for Elle Woods” and they broadcast the auditions, they extended the stay of the show. When Grease did the auditions for Sandy and Danny, the audience picked the leads and look how that turned out for Laura Oznes. I’m sure the show had many fans who came to see it just because of the tv auditions. the more that is published on the Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Access Holywood, Facebook, twitter, etc, the more people come to feel a part of the broadway community and will want to come to a show either on Broadway or on tour.

  • Paul Cozby says:

    Great idea, Ken! As for the cost, one word: Sponsors. (CBS and the Tonys. Ticket Master. The Broadway League. Long-running hit shows with ad budgets.) Can you imagine current and future ticket sales this would generate? The buzz for Broadway? The YouTube hits? The email lists? Go. Do. This.

  • gay porn says:

    This would be one of your comme.

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