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