A movie of Memphis as marketing and more.
Randy Adams and Sue Frost, last year’s Producers of the Year, recently announced that Memphis, their Cinderella story of a musical that has already surprised the industry with its no-stars Best Musical win and its year-plus long run and counting, will be filmed in the theater this week, and then released as a feature film this Spring . . . while the Broadway production is still running.
When was the last time you heard of something like that happening?
Oh yeah. Never.
Obviously there has got to be hope that the movie sells well on its own. But as even the NY Times points out, one of the goals of the movie musical is to expose the tuner to audiences around the country, educating them well before the national tour of Memphis gets to their market.
What do I think of this move?
Well, let’s put it this way. If Randy and Sue keep up this kind of stuff? They’ll be wearing that Producer of the Year crown for another year.
A well-established Producer told me over lunch recently that he was dissuaded from filming his musical back in the early 80s for fear that a movie version would take a big bite out of the box office.
We know better now. Even mediocre musical movies help keep their source material running. I mean, does anyone remember when Phantom was doing $400k?
Memphis is different, of course, in that it’s a filmed version of the theatrical production. But it’s also different because it has the ability to help the tour and the Broadway production. A twofer, to use a theatrical term.
But what I’m most excited about is that its another step in the right direction of embracing technology, taping productions to help market shows, and theater in general.
A Broadway musical in movie theaters around the country? It’ll help Memphis, for sure.
But it’ll help all of us, for damn sure.
For those of you readers outside of the city . . . you’d buy a ticket to see it, right?