When you go to an amusement park, what ride do you want to go on first?

Every year, I take my shows to Six Flags on my bday.  When all 50 or so of us get off the bus, we all run right for the rollercoasters, and usually the newest, biggest and fastest one first.

That’s what most people do.
The majority of folks are all looking for the biggest thrill.
We all want the coaster that’s going to have the most ups and the most downs; the one that’s going to produce the most screams and the most laughter; the one that we’re all going to be talking about on the ride home.
We’ll wait in line for hours for it.  Sometimes we’ll even pay for skip-the-line “Fast-Passes” (aka “premium tickets”) just to have a better experience.  And more often than not, we’ll try to hit the ride more than once.
Broadway is not unlike a theme park.  It’s a destination built for entertainment.
And tourists and other theater goers are looking to be thrilled just like amusement park patrons, physically and emotionally.
If you want a Kingda Ka sized hit, then produce something that thrills an audience as much as a 45 story drop.
Sure, there’s always room for other rides at the park.  The Carousel is still there, and so are the Bumper Cars and that Antique Road Race go-cart ride that always looks cooler than it is.
But see, that’s where the comparison between Broadway and theme parks end.
At amusement parks, you pay one price and get can all the rides you want in one day.
On Broadway, you pay for each ride, and most people pick only one, maybe two during their entire stay.
If you want to be that one, you have to be a Michael Jackson-like “Thriller”.
So as you write, produce, develop, and pitch your Broadway show, ask yourself . . . will this thrill an audience?
If not, then maybe it’s time to look for something that will.
  • RLewis says:

    “Broadway is not unlike a theme park.”
    …if true, that’s about the worst backhanded compliment one could pay the old horse. sad.
    Gotta say Ken, I think this entire metaphor is absurd. My vote is that people go to Broadway, not to be “Thrilled”, but to be Touched. It’s the difference between an immature superfical impulse and a deeper, meaningful connection with the world. Phantom my have a thrilling light fixture, but were the show not able to touch audiences, it would have closed long ago.

  • I agree! Look at the last word in this quote from the blog: “And tourists and other theater goers are looking to be thrilled just like amusement park patrons, physically and emotionally.”

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