They’re already in the seats, I bet some would stay.

Ahhhh, memories.

I was just thinking about my days of doing dinner theater in Baltimore (pre-The Wire).  Every once in a while we used to do these things called “Post-Shows”.  The cast would put together a variety show of some sort, with ensemble members getting a chance to sing solos, character men and women doing sketch comedy, etc.  They were a blast.  And they audience loved them.

What audience?

Well, the audience that just sat through our performance of Evita, or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, or whatever show we were performing that night.

See, there was a flyer on their table that said they could stick around after the show if they wanted to catch the Post-Show.  They weren’t charged for this extra add-on entertainment.  The cast was doing it for fun.  And the house kept the lights on for us and made a ton at the bar.

It was like an impromptu cabaret.  And I was always shocked that about 30-50% of the audience stuck around.

But it makes sense, doesn’t it?  The hardest thing about getting people to go to the theater these days is actually getting them to the theater.  Once they are there, getting them to stick around a little while longer (if you’ve given them a good night’s entertainment) is the easy part.

I’ve always loved this idea, and thought that it could be applied to theaters around the country.  And if the theaters were smart, they could load some of the post-show entertainment with material from the next show, or the whole seasons’ shows.

But even more important that that is the stronger bond you’ll create with a very specific group of your audience.  Oh, and that group?  Well, they would just happen to be the most passionate theatergoers in your locale.  In fact – I advocate doing something like this just once, so you can meet your ambassadors face to face.

Union costs would make this difficult to do on Broadway, but I’ve always wondered if we could do Post-Show charity benefits in Broadway houses after the curtain comes down on the resident production (especially since so many shows are only 90 minutes).

You’ve got an audience right there.  You might as well use them.  Because if you don’t, they’re just going to go home and watch TV.

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  • Erin says:

    “post-show entertainment with material from the next show” . . . hmmm, it could be like previews at the movies, but in live theatre and after the show. Very interesting. We’re looking for revolutionary ways to sell tickets, right?

  • David Rigano says:

    Flo Zeigfeld had a show sort of like this, only his was a little more exclusive and in a smaller upstairs theatre. Sounds like a wonderful idea to bring back!

  • Michael says:

    The cast of Brief Encounter do 15 minutes of quirky arrangements of pop tunes after the show. Great fun. I would have stayed for more.

  • Jay says:

    Interesting thought. You point out the obvious issues with union overtime, and speaking of overtime how about the fact that you are presuming your performers would be interested in this. In a way it sounds like staying after to perform a cabaret act is like charitable overtime… it is indeed overtime. These are people’s jobs and when they are done they want to go home. Broadway shows run into this issue frequently when trying to wrangle their performers into a talk back which more often then not, the actors would rather skip.

  • David Belasco Jr. says:

    It can be a problem with name performers especially. During the 70s, I saw The Andrews Sisters in the musical OVER HERE! (which also featured a young John Travolta). After the curtain, they came out and did a medley of their greatest hits and the audience loved it. However, they got tired, literally, of doing it, and it became a major bone of contention with their producers, who claimed that the audience was now expecting it. I remember it becoming a big headache for all involved.

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