A little reminder that “live” ain’t dying anytime soon.

Every few months or so, someone rings the death knell for Broadway, and for theater in general.  Antiquated, archaic . . . and a few other “A” words are bandied about by those who think they know better.

I usually counter their arguments with a statement like, “Theater has been around for thousands of years, and it is the foundation of every major form of live entertainment.  We survived the invention of the radio, the invention of the television, and the invention of the internet . . . we’re not going away anytime soon.”

And I really do believe that.  We may face more and more challenges as we sally forth into the 21st century, but we’ll be here.

I’d be telling a Pinocchio sized lie if I didn’t admit that sometimes, late at night, when I’m all alone and it’s dark because the marquees are all turned off, I do worry a bit about the future of the business that we all love so much.  I’m human.  We all have crises of faith sometimes, right?

Well, this weekend I got a little reminder from The Big Producer in the sky why we’re all safe and sound, provided we continue to adapt and refuse to stay satisfied.

Stay with me now . . .

This weekend I was sitting at a blackjack table at the Venetian in Las Vegas (waiting for the NTA conference to begin because Godspell was performing), watching my dealer shuffle up the cards, and deal out a hand to the three players.  I got 10.

Before I asked for a hit from Kathy, my dealer who had been working at The V since it opened, I thought to myself . . . blackjack is a game that could be automated and computerized.  It could be done faster, and without chips, and without a dealer.

And it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun.

And that’s why casinos have table games versus just rooms full of slots . . . because people crave the live experience where anything can happen (I spilled Coke on the felt) and they love sharing that experience with other people.

So as Pit Boss Gary came over to my spot and helped me sop up my seat, I smiled.

Live isn’t going anywhere, I thought.  No matter how much technology you throw at us.

And then Kathy dealt me another 10, for a 20, against her eventual bust and the entire table won.

And we all applauded.


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  • Virginia says:

    I hope you doubled down.

  • Jaysen Elsky says:

    Yeah, I think the applause said it all. Although someone exclaiming “good show!” would have been excellent. Or overkill? This is what we need dramaturgs for.

  • mabesny says:

    Congrats on your win, Ken! I totally agree with you – nothing compares to seeing a show live! As a matter of fact, I just bought tickets today to see War Horse at the Vivian Beaumont in January. I haven’t decided if I want to see the movie yet.

  • crosspac@earthlink.net says:

    Hi Ken…I live in Las Vegas and it’s good to hear that someone beat the house for a change. I’m new to your newsletter and I enjoy it very much. I’ve just finished a $75,000 animation storyboard for a new musical I’ve created and I’m sorry I missed you while you were in town. I would have loved to preview it for you. I’m working with the producer of “Jersey Boys” and “Phantom” here on the Strip preparing to launch this Broadway bound project and we’d love to get your thoughts on this endeavor. All the best,
    Larry McCann crosspac@earthlink.net

  • Brian Hajjar says:

    I totally agree! Having the experience of live theatre can never be replaced. Watching real people perform the show right in front of you, with out screens or fade aways, is what theatre is all about. When your sitting in a seat in a Broadway show, the magical effect that Broadway and off-Broadway has on the audience member cannot be replaced by any other form of entertainment. (Except maybe Inception…hahah jk)
    I think Theatre will be around for quite sometime 🙂
    Brian Hajjar.

  • Absolutely true. It’s like seeing your newborn baby through the glass window versus being able to hold the little thang. Just cause you can see it doesn’t mean it’s satisfying. Live is jive and that’s why it will thrive!

  • jimbrownmusic@gmail.com says:

    Thanks for this post Ken.
    Whether it’s a Broadway play, a football game or a band performing at the Beacon, all derivative versions pale compared to being there.
    Also, analogous to your blackjack victory, when you’re sitting (or standing) at a live event, you’re not just experiencing the performance of the talented professionals, you’re also experiencing the audience’s reaction.

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