The Sunday Giveaway: Two Tickets to Grace on Broadway

Grace,  the new play by Craig (“Six Feet Under”) Wright, has been in the news a lot lately.  It’s been on Letterman, Scott and Todd in the Morning, and just about every publication in print and on the web.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story.

What you may not have heard, is that this play was also just chosen as one of the top 10 plays of the year by Time Magazine.

That didn’t get them on Letterman, though. The unfortunate water cooler event did.

The winner of this week’s giveaway is going to get a chance to see what got that Time reviewer (and what that ill viewer) so . . . ahem . . . excited.

Yesiree, we’ve got two tickets to Grace on Broadway starring Knocked Up’s Paul Rudd, Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon and seven time (!) Emmy Award winner Ed Asner.

So here’s my question for you . . . if you had a choice between the two events that happened to Grace . . . one that resulted in major national press, and one that put the play in a “must see” category by a major publication . . . which would you choose?

Tough, right?

Well, we ask the tough ones here at The Producer’s Perspective, so let’s put this to a vote!

Let’s set the stage. Imagine you are producing a brand new play on Broadway.  Business is ok, but you could use a boost.  The ghost of David Merrick appears before you and says, “I will grant you one of the following events to get you publicity.  But you only get one so chooooose wisely or your show may flop worse than my production of Mata Hari.”

Your choices are:

A)  The President of the United States sees your show

B)  Your star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise

C)  Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer

D)  You get a rave from the New York Times

Pick one of the above and put your answer in the comments below and David Merrick will give one of you two tickets to see Grace on Broadway!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

——

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Comments
  • William says:

    A rave from the NY Times, hands down. I know everyone has an opinion about critics’ massive sway and influence on a show. However, facts are facts. A rave from the Times can definitely keep a show on the boards, at least for a definitive period of time.

  • Charlie Scatamacchia says:

    D) You get a rave from the New York Times

  • Alex says:

    Oprah Winfrey signing on as a producer. Why?! It generates buzz AND if Oprah’s passionate about the project, she can keep it afloat ON HER OWN DIME for a while. ‘Tis true.

  • judy gentile says:

    I’d choose – D – rave from NY Times – think it has clout and can be touted in many-an-ad

  • Madison D. says:

    C. Oprah! People worship Oprah like she’s a religious leader! Anything with Oprah’s name on it will be sold out for months!

  • Jesse Jae Hoon E. says:

    Oprah! EVERYONE GETS A BROADWAY SHOOOOOWWWWWWWWW!!! YOU GET A SHOW! AND YOU GET A SHOW!! AND YOU GET A SHOW!!!

    But yes, it would gather a lot of interest, and just think of all the plugs we’d get on Oprah network or whatever she’s got going. #InstantAudience

    Also, it’s obviously a show worth saving if David Merrick appears to me.

    I think we know that good shows with raves from the Times can still close early (like with the sad case of LYSISTRATA JONES, which got a rave but unfairly closed after three weeks).

  • Sierra says:

    If I were only trying to appeal to the NYC-playgoing audience, then I’d go with a Times review. But in order to keep the show running the longest, I might have to say Oprah by process of elimination. I’d love to argue that the Times review is most important (and it IS important) but the other three choices would be covered in other media across the country. The President is too divisive (I remember people railing against the Obamas last time they came to see a show) and a sex tape would only be covered for a week at the most on outlets like Entertainment Tonight (or whatever the current gossip show is.) Having someone like Oprah sign on will make some headlines right away that will eventually fade, but she has her own TV Network. I’m sure she would keep mentioning/advertising the show (YOU get a pair of tickets! And YOU get a pair of tickets!) so the show would have the greatest chance to remain on people’s minds.

  • Andrey Patino says:

    I would choose D in a heartbeat, anyone can see your show and anyone can be a producer of it (well not ANYONE) but a rave review from the Times? Keeps you going.

  • Gabriel D says:

    This is a tough one. It’s a toss-up between POTUS and Cruise. But right now, I think I’ll go with POTUS in the house. Obama has higher approval ratings than Jerry McGuire. Depending on your star, it might feel a bit like he/she was slumming it if caught on tape with Cruise nowadays. Ouch. Obama in attendance is better press than a rave from NYT any day of this year. And let’s assume Barack brings Michelle (he better) and Michelle loves the show. Now, the real marketing genius would be ready with a flipcam post-show and snag a soundbyte from FLOTUS. Because, let’s be honest, Michelle is a tastemaker.

  • Susan says:

    I would pick Oprah as a producer. She has a much wider audience than the NYT theater pages and she is probably viewed favorably by more people than Cruise or even the POTUS is. Also she has a track record of turning books into best sellers.

  • Sarah P. says:

    Oooh, this is a tough call, I think I might have to go with Oprah though…her name and stamp of approval have long proved to sell to the masses, and the Times doesn’t have quite the nationwide/international reach and cachet that she does. Although the Obamas visiting (and hopefully liking and recommending 😉 ) the show would also definitely be a coup!

  • Randi says:

    C) Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer

    This would generate buzz amongst tourists and across the country to get the word out. A NY Times rave is great but this has more marketing power and word of mouth!

  • Sage says:

    Well if it’s the ghost of David Merrick I’m going to have to go with B. He would have been jumping for joy over something like that. Such tapes have launched and held the lives of such talent less people as Pairs and Kim and people are STILL almost 10 years later talking about it. The star of the show and the show would be everywhere. And the two (the tape and the show) would always be mentioned in the same breath. Merrick would have wet his pants of this choice.

  • Oprah signing on as a producer. Hands down.

  • David says:

    I have to pick “B) Your star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise”. It’s kinda gross but I think it’s just the thing that will draw audiences! People will come to the show just to go: “He/she managed to sleep with Tom Cruise?”

  • Kyle Abraham says:

    C) Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer
    The average American cares more about Oprah than The New York Times.

  • Rob DeFelice says:

    I’d go with D, mainly because a Times review is permanent. It stands the weight of time and will remain proof of a fantastic production, which will help sell the show after its Broadway life.

  • Emely says:

    B) Your star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise. I mean – really? COME ON!!!

  • Noah P says:

    Tom Cruise sex tape

  • David says:

    I’d still choose the rave review.

  • brian says:

    I’m going to say oprah as a producer since she has pull

  • mpizzi58@gmail.com says:

    OPRAH without question !! A rave from the Times is a one shot deal but Oprah? She talks about it every chance she gets, she interviews the stars, she tells everyone else about it constantly and the most important thing – she gets to those millions who do NOT read or care about the Times (or the President for that matter). She is OPRAH and always boosts whatever product she is touting. It’s all about marketing and she is one of the most outstanding marketers out there !

  • Valentina says:

    Oprah Winfrey signs on as a producer coz everything she touches turns into gold.

  • Mickey says:

    B)Sex Tape

    This gives you free national press (international?) on all levels, because no media can ignore this stuff. Lots of people ignore the Ny Times and I don’t really care what Orpah or the President do. Plus, it gives your show the ‘cool’ factor that is nearly impossible to contrive unorganically.

  • Larry Starr says:

    How about your star appears in a sex tape WITH THE PRESIDENT!!!!!

  • Justin says:

    I would go with sextape with Tom Cruise. If Paul Rudd and Tom Cruise are caught on tape that would be the biggest sex tape, bigger than Kim Kardashian. Every tabloid, newspaper, television show would want this story and would put the broadway show in the spotlight.

    Thanks for the weekly contests

  • Margie says:

    Sorry, I’d love to say D, but the rave TIMES review will only go so far and pull in so many viewers — though it might help with a TONY nomination. And I’d love to say A, but if Obama sees the play, then the buzz won’t be about the play but rather in which new J. Crew garment the First Lady was dressed. And I’d love to say C, but Oprah is no longer pulling in viewers/readers the way she used to. So that leaves me with B. The star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise — because you KNOW that will sell the most tickets. And if I’m a producer, I care about my bottom line even if it’s Tom’s bottom.

  • If the play were only aimed at a New York audience, a Times review would be most affective. Given this, Oprah is the best choice by process of elimination. While the Times review would be important, the other three options would get more attention. The President gets his own performance at his house thanks to PBS so people will wait for that to air. I was tempted to go with the sex tape but there are too many variables. Is the tape good? Is the other person good? Is Tom Cruise actually THAT relevant anymore? Oprah’s name alone brings headlines and the fact that she has her own network would allow her to keep the show running on her own money as long as she wanted to! So…I say Oprah.

  • Ludlow says:

    I choose “B” – your star appears with in a sex tape with Tom Cruise, provided the star is male.

    Obama seeing Joe Turner’s Come and Gone didn’t help that show much.

    Oprah producing The Color Purple only helped that show to a certain extent.

    And the New York Times, it seems, can only hurt a show, not help it these days. Case in point all those Tom Stoppard blockbusters.

  • Dmitry says:

    Hands down getting Oprah involved. There are many good reasons to do this.

    1.Oprah can provide continuous support for the show, all the other choices are tied to a singular occurrence whose value dissipates over time. Oprah will still get that “bang” but can keep it going after.

    2.Oprah is watched nationally by 7.4 million people — about 2.6% of American households. Four percent of American women (about 5.7 million) watch her daily, compared with 1.2% of men (1.7 million people). Overall, 2% of all 18- to 49-year-olds watch Oprah. There is no way that your show can get that kind of exposure without spending incredible dollars.

    3.Oprah can provide publicity for free which can reduce the marketing budget for the show, quicker path to profitability.

    4.Oprah would be able to time her support which can help during the previews , allowing capitalization to be reached faster.

    5.Oprah’s audience is predominantly female, white, and over the age of 55 which matches niceley to the demographic of theatre going people.

  • Liz Ulmer says:

    Oprah.

    Then, after this show has made me lots of money and I’m living off the subsidiaries, the rest of my career will be aimed towards Times raves. (A girl can dream, right?)

  • Nancy Parker says:

    I would definitely say Oprah signing on as a producer. She’s bigger than the President, she may have already done a sex tape with Tom Cruise, but she had one better. He was jumping up and down on her couch, and the NY TIMES writes rave reviews about Oprah!

  • Sue says:

    “D)” Rave review from the NY Times. David Merrick would give his right arm for that. Tom Cruise and Oprah are both fast approaching the has-been category. POTUS would be criticized for spending more public money to go to a Broadway show. NY Times rave — priceless.

    Now a sex tape with someone young like Justin Beiber, maybe.

    Signed,
    a 55-year-old suburban white woman who sees a lot of Broadway shows

  • Eleah Burman says:

    B) Your star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise

    Pop culture news spreads like wildfire. Especially when it involves scientology’s biggest star. Oprah couldn’t keep Color Purple alive and it was a musical…and Grace is a play. Its harder to keep plays going. Raves in the NY Times are not really helping many of the plays that have hit as of late. Word of mouth is more valuable. Also, I think the last show the President fully supported was Memphis, and that closed within a year of the President attended. Couch jumping Tom seems like the best option.

  • Jeff S says:

    A) The President of the United States sees your show

  • Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    I think we all know that Tom Terrific promises a lot to his wives, but the ultimate result is not a howling success. Obama walked out in the middle of a Chicago Bulls game in D.C., even with Derrick Rose on the court! Oprah would steal the focus, and the play would be playing second fiddle to her. (Unless she was IN in the play, too. That would be great. She’s a wonderful actress.) And, finally, yes, in so many ways, our shows live and die by the Times. So, let it be D, and reason no further.

  • Aaron Deitsch says:

    Oprah hands down! A) major press for the show and more importantly B) I’D GET TO MEET HER!!!

  • Theo says:

    Oh definitely C) Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer. You know a woman who is known only by her first name means business.

  • LARRY ABRAMSKY says:

    AS A PRODUCER LOOKING TO SELL TICKETS, AND GET AS MUCH FREE PUBLICITY OUT OF AN EVENT AS POSSIBLE, THIS WAS AN EASY CHOICE….

    “MY STAR APPEARS IN A SEX TAPE WITH TOM CRUISE”

    THIS WOULD BE AN ITEM THAT JUST KEEPS ON GIVING FREE PUBLICITY, REACHING POSSIBLE TICKET BUYERS WHO COULDN’T GIVE A HOOT ABOUT WHAT SHOWS THE PRESIDENT SEES OR WHAT THE NY TIMES THINKS.

    HOPEFULLY WE WOULD GET MUCH MUCH MORE TRACTION AND LONGEVITY IF OUR STAR WAS A GUY !!!

  • Ilya says:

    Can the President and Mitt Romney see it together, on a bromance date? I just want to get both red and blue butts in seats.

  • Diane says:

    I’d like that prized rave review from the NY Times.

  • Erin says:

    Oprah definitely. Her backing could likely gain more national press than a Times review. And while a bad review can close a show, a rave doesn’t always equate to success.

  • Emily says:

    C) Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer! Times is great–but people seem to listen to everything Oprah says and want whatever she touches!

  • Michael M. says:

    Oprah as producer, unless my star were male — in which case the Cruise option!

  • Liz Wollman says:

    C, for the synergy potential alone.

  • Elliot says:

    Oprah. She has her own network and people listen to whatever she says.

  • Claire says:

    D.) New York Times rave. I think that holds a lot of weight, and it would be a big honor.

  • Tim R. says:

    Maybe I’m just old fasioned, but I would pick the rave in the Times any day.

    Ps- Please pick me. I’m dying to see this show (and not because of the National coverage vomit incident!)
    🙂

  • Mike says:

    As much as I’d go for the rave, I’ll lean to Oprah. She’s better these days getting eyes and wallets to projects out side her network than those in her network. Would probably run longer than just a Times rave (I hate that I wrote “just a Times rave”). The President can be polarizing and Mr. Cruise IS polarizing, so those options are out.

  • Terrence says:

    I choose my star in a sex tape with Oprah Winfrey. Oh wait, that wasn’t one of the choices That’s okay cause I won the Anarchist tickets already. But , seriously ,I still would choose a sex scandal with Oprah over a favorable Times review. There is nothing like serendipidy. Remember Lerner and and Lowes’ invite to the Sullivan show after “Camelot” got lukewarm reviews. The day after the Sullivan appearance people were lined up around the block.

  • Cooper says:

    D) The Prez… it’s not the Queen of England but not since Lincoln do many of the President(s) go to many plays, let alone the security necessary to attend one in NYC on Broadway… It is a NATIONAL covered Event with enormous buzz & cache. Sure, we’d love the respect of a rave NY Times review, but this presidential visit will guarantee exposure beyond compare!

  • Patrick Vassel says:

    Oprah as producer! Free gifts under every seat!

  • Lynn says:

    C. Oprah. Final answer. And here’s why:

    In all your marketing materials – NY Times ads, banner ads, marquees, billboards, direct mail, anything – you want to make as best use of your “event” as possible.

    It takes a lot of words and explaining as to why someone should “see the show the President saw” or “see that girl who had a scandalous fifteen minutes of fame with someone who used to be A-list, and is now only pseudo-A-list mostly because a lot of people think he’s nuts.”

    The Times rave requires a lot of real estate as well, and depending on who you’re going out to, might not be the best pitch. If Oprah’s a producer, part of signing her on would be being able to use her name above the title. Then with EVERY time the title appears, it’s “Oprah Winfrey presents…”

    But since we’re practical people who use empirical data, let’s take a look at the numbers:

    A – POTUS
    Sitting President saw Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 2009
    Show’s Run: 13 weeks
    Total Gross: $3,000,000+

    B – Tom Cruise
    Let’s use Katie Holmes at the height of her Cruise-based popularity in All My Sons, now granted, this was planned as a limited run:
    Show’s Run: 17 weeks
    Total Gross: $11,000,000+

    C – Oprah
    Oprah lent her name above the title to The Color Purple
    Show’s Run: 120 Weeks
    Total Gross: $103,000,000+

    D – NY Times Rave
    This is tricky, but for the sake of argument, let’s even the play/musical score by using a musical, one that NEEDED a rave to keep going, let’s take Next to Normal, shall we?
    Show’s Run: 95 weeks
    Total Gross: $31,000,000

    Yes, there are other factors, musical v. play, what size house the show was in, how good the actual product is, but take a look…numbers don’t lie. I would choose Oprah.
    –Lynn

  • Terrence says:

    I choose my star in a sex tape with Oprah Winfrey. Oh wait, that wasn’t one of the choices That’s okay cause I won the Anarchist tickets already. But , seriously ,I still would choose a sex scandal with Oprah over a favorable Times review. There is nothing like serendipidy. Remem

  • Emily Herschbein says:

    I’m going to have to go with C. It was a toss-up between C and D, but ultimately, I feel like less people pay attention to newspapers. People have less time to read that kind of stuff, even online.

    The President can go to see as many shows as he/she (hopefully!) likes, but it’s not going to affect whether or not I go see it. It’s $120 spent on his part. He has no better idea if it’s worth it, than we do. As for the sex tape scenario…that’ll make me go watch a movie or tune into a TV show, but I’m not going to get on a train and go to the city.

    Oprah Winfrey is a thumbs up. People trust her judgement. People try to imitate her. She relates to the common person, and therefore, I feel like one would be more influenced to see the show.

  • Jared W says:

    I would choose a rave from the New York Times. It is the only paper that still has a noticable effect on the box office, and for a play can make an enormous difference (for musicals, I think the Times’ opinion matters less). While the other events would certainly generate some free publicity, I don’t think it would necessarily translate into more ticket sales.

    It would be awesome for the president to see your show, but I don’t think that’s going to cause other people to follow suit. Anyone who bought tickets due to a sex tape scandal would only be there to say they saw someone famous and not actually see the play, and couldn’t be counted on the spread word of mouth. Having Oprah as a producer would probably have the most direct impact on ticket sales, although now that her talk show has ended she doesn’t have as strong of a national platform to get the word out as she did five years ago.

  • I’m going with A.
    Obama and Michelle out on a hot date at my show? That gets reported across the country! New Yorkers love Obama, so if the President chooses to see my show over all other offerings, that’s worth a huge amount in sales.

  • Bruce Barnard says:

    Depends on which President…w/o that bit of info, I’d go with the NYT…

  • Morgan M says:

    Oprah. Plenty of great shows are critical successes and don’t do well. A bad Times review will always kill a show but a great one won’t always make it. You need other ways to get press.

  • Elise says:

    It has to be the sex tape with Tom Cruise – it’s the only thing that hasn’t happened of the choices. Presidents have gone to Broadway shows, Oprah produced a show, and if New York Times raves meant anything, then Spring Awakening would still be playing on Broadway. Plus Cruise is so publicly devout when it comes to his religion, the story would be more about him, and the Broadway show’s star would not be damned but perhaps immensely wondered about…. generating tons of tickets sales.

  • Tony P says:

    I would choose D. A rave from The Times is about more than just THIS production. It would help bring in seed money for future projects, as investors look for quality work.

  • David Stanley says:

    Definitely D) You get a rave from the New York Times. A show can survive sometimes without a good or rave review from the Times, but getting a rave will definitely make people rush to see what all the fuss is about.

  • JEB says:

    B- Your Star Appears In A (GAY) Sex Tape With Tom Cruise!
    The Reason being a great review from The New York Times is great, but it doesn’t always keep your show open. Aida is a perfect example. The show pretty much got slammed by every critic but the people liked it so it ran for 5 years so the NY times’ opinion had no weight. A show like “TBOM” would run regardless of the NY Times
    An Oprah produced show would get initial recognition , but a lot of her pieces are weird and actually take star power to survive. Example Fantastia coming into “The Color Purple” and ultimately the show closed.The President always comes to Broadway regardless whether it’s good or bad. But Tom Cruise on the other hand everything he touches turns to gold. Examples: 30 year plus success, he’s huge in The Church of Scientology ( HUGE), he has launched the careers of many like Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes ( currently on Broadway and the only reason people are coming to the show. Also if the sex tape with the star of your show were a gay sex tape………. YOU WOULD HAVE THE BIGGEST HIT IN THE WORLD! J

  • The premise is that the show is doing well but your sales need a boost, so you have to draw attention for that sole purpose.
    Obama and Michelle did not help Joe Turner stay on stage, rule out that idea immediately.
    Since the show has been running, the rave NYTimes review has already appeared, and most likely contributed to steady albeit lackluster sales.
    Sad to say it but salacious sex always draws attention, but to sell tickets to the show? No, just the flavor of the moment. Hardly a certainty.
    Gotta go with Oprah, she has such a faithful following, look what she did with her book club! She surely drew crowds for “The Color Purple.” She’ll get all the attention needed to boost the show.

  • Preston Gabay says:

    Well…Oprah does make everything better, but I would have to say The POTUS seeing the show would be a hell of a big deal. Let’s be honest, written news is on the way out, which sucks (coming from an avid reader), so a positive review from the NYT, while amazing, isn’t quite enough. If it were, Broadway wouldn’t be scrambling to hire celebrity actors. POTUS hands down would cause some serious curiosity about any show, even if it sucked!

  • KENI FINE says:

    If the show hasn’t opened yet, the Times rave #1.
    If it’s been running a while, I’d say the Tom Cruise sex tape, especially if my star is either Angela Lansbury or James Earl Jones.

  • Andrew Beck says:

    If it’s my show, then it’s going to get a rave from the Times or I wouldn’t be opening it. The President and Oprah haven’t made hits out of the shows that either the First Family visited or Oprah had produced. A sex tape with Tom Cruise– that stat will become a household name by the time the scandal runs its course, especially if the performer is a guy. Then the controversy will live on for months, plus coupled with the Times rave which any show of mine that I ultimately bring to Broadway would garner. I’d rather announce that the ghost of David Merrick was back and interested in my show and benefit from all that publicity.

  • Rick says:

    “none of the above” guarantees ticket sales, but it seems to me the choice with the best odds of helping ticket sales is the conventional choice, D) the rave review.

  • Kari-Anne Innes says:

    Rave review from NYT.

  • Alan B. says:

    Oprah in a sex tape with Tom Cruise! The show would run for 15 years!

  • Rebecca L. says:

    Oprah, for sure! Everything she touches turns to gold.

  • Alexa says:

    C) Oprah….even if the show doesn’t hit, you still get to work with OPRAH!!!

  • Wayne Paul says:

    Gotta be The Times. I respect their reviewers even if I don’t agree with the particular review–and while I have no opposition to the Barnum approach of getting asses in the seats, I firmly believe The Times would be of better assistance towards that goal of any play I’d PRESENTLY like to produce. (I confess, I’m a playwright, & formerly, actor).

  • EllenFD says:

    Depends on the play: If it’s strictly family fare, I[d say go the Oprah route–she’ll hawk it mercilessly on her show and ticket sales should surge.

    If the show is adult-appeal only, go for the NY Times rave. That brings in the cognoscenti, who still go by whatever Brantley or Isherwood have to say.

  • I pick C: Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer.

  • Kerry Zukus says:

    Gotta go with the D, the rave, just as I would prefer the real rave for “Grace” to the vomit story. Gimmicks may get people talking about you, but unless accompanied by a decent review, the talk will not translate into ticket sales, which is always the bottom line. Sex tapes, Presidents, and even Oprah, do not cause people to pony up money. Raves do, along with a product in which people take a genuine interest. “Spider Man” may not have gotten raves, but people love the franchise, so it sells tickets. We all may have joked about it, but I doubt anyone paid to see “Spider Man because of the tech failures, which got everyone talking, much like the vomit story. But since you didn’t mention the show being based on an idea everyone liked, the next best thing is a rave.

  • Jeff Walsh says:

    B) but it would have to happen to a male lead that would be able to weather the storm skillfully.

  • Amy says:

    Sex tape hands down.
    A sex tape reaches the broadest audience. Oprah, the President, the NYT…those are very specific areas of interest that won’t get everyone on board. Everyone likes sex, everyone is interested in sex and EVERYONE will hear about it, especially if it involves Mr.Cruise. Yup, sex still sells. Every time.

  • Stephen Schapero says:

    OPRAH OPRAH OPRAH!

    You get a Tony and You get a Tony!

  • WC says:

    I’m going with the Tom Cruise sex tape. I feel nobody really notices when the first family goes to see a show, celebrity producers don’t necessarily equal success, and the same with a NYTimes rave. But a Tom Cruise sex tape would be a first. Those would be some international headlines, and the press would mob the theatre every night. Plus, I wouldn’t mind taking a peek at that tape.

  • Trevor C says:

    It has to be (B).

    1) You get the publicity
    2) On the strength of new exposure your star gets huge sign-on fee for next play/film – you get 50% as agreed.
    3) You offer to donate your share of fee to charity
    4) If the play folds early you can always sell the sex tape back to Tom Cruise, again giving half to charity.

    BTW the charity in question is similar to the non-profit foundation that David Merrick himself set up – for his own benefit – so that he could more easily compete on a level playing field with the non-profits.

  • Charles says:

    I pick A) The US President comes to see my show – the media publicity will naturally follow.

  • Dan says:

    Rave from NY Times:

    Both Oprah and Tom do not carry the weight as they once did and the President is good, but not enough to pull in the audience you want.

  • John Dallal says:

    With Oprah following,I see
    A rise in popularity-
    For a show,with her aboard,
    Would mean a boost is well asuured!

  • kevin says:

    B
    C
    A
    D

    in this order….if you want “buzz” and a following to generate interest.

  • Lonnie Cooper says:

    B.

    No NY Times review or presidential visit carries that kind of publicity. Oprah would be my choice if she still had a show (if you had said Ellen – no brainer).

  • Sarah Luther says:

    Looking at the financial figures posted above it is clear it would have to be Oprah. The musical I am working on has very current topics but also with a slightly metaphsyical slant(NOT religious – no Scandalour/Leap of Faith fiascos!) in line with a lot of Oprah’s stuff on OWN (but hopefully a tiny bit more mainstream and with a unique NY biting wit). I would never want a sex tape association and as much as I read all Ben Brantley’s reviews I don’t know that my show would be down the NY Times’s alley. And if Oprah got involved, then the President would come anyway since they hang and I think he would be a perfect open-minded audience member for my show as well.

  • Sam says:

    My star, Justin Bieber, was caught on a sex tape with Tom Cruise.

  • Thom says:

    Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer. It will build a buzz via word of mouth and via traditional press (who will be reporting on Oprah’s association with the play).

  • Have to pick NY Times, because as your survey showed, most theatergoers are out of town tourists, and I think the universal place they would go for reviews is the Times.

  • gjc says:

    D) You get a rave from the New York Times

  • Kirsten Kilburn says:

    Sex tape.
    There are many folks out there who would never dream of going to see a Broadway show. But you can certainly bet they hear about each and every sex tape that gets “leaked”. Enticing new groups of audiences to see theater has always been important, and this is a surefire way to do that!
    Having a rave review in the Times is absolutely wonderful, but these reviews are primarily read by those who already frequent the theater. Having the ability to draw in an entirely new crowd who may not have even been to the theater before is a huge opportunity. And if you have an excellent production, you will continue to draw in those who already appreciate excellent work, as well as (hopefully) be able to keep this new demographic coming back again and again, regardless of the press surrounding a show.
    Maybe a sex tape isn’t everyone’s most ideal form of publicity. But it certainly is a very effective one. What’s that saying again? “No press is bad press”? Yup.

  • Kristen McG says:

    While the other choices are tempting, I have to pick D) A Rave from the NY Times. This would obviously pull in the existing theatre-going crowd and peak the interest of others reading the NY Times. I think other Broadway visitors would also reference the NY Times for reviews during and before their visit. The rave review would lead to word-of-mouth and other major press opportunities. If Oprah still had her talk show, I would go that route.

  • Sara Jayne says:

    Oprah always gets the biggest buzz…yes, even bigger than the President.

  • Shannon D. says:

    I would definitely have to say NOT Choice B (Your star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise)because that just degrades Broadway.
    Choice A (The President of the United States sees your show)is tempting, but can also have back-lash, i.e. why is the President wasting money, time & energy on a show, especially if he uses Airforce 1 to fly into Teterboro, etc.
    Choice C is a BIG possibility, because of all her “followers” but just because Oprah has the money to Produce a show, doesn’t make the QUALITY of the play any better.
    MY ANSWER IS POSITIVELY CHOICE D.
    Getting a rave from the New York Times is actually a very big seller to the general audience. I don’t personally follow what the NYT ever says, but you can’t deny that reviews of stellar performances and a well written book always tops the box office! 🙂

  • Ryan McCurdy says:

    D) You get a rave from the New York Times

    As The Anarchist hits the archives, it’s a valuable reminder that there’s still nothing quite like a New York Times rave.

  • richard rizzo says:

    definitely the rave from the Times, unfortunately. There are other reviews besides the Times.

  • Wendy Chung says:

    Sadly, I have to say B) Your star appears in a sex tape with Tom Cruise.

    A) The President of the United States sees your show. The option would make a nice photo-opt but that’s all. If the President solves the fiscal crisis and then goes on to encourages the masses to see a Broadway, then, I might change my vote.

    C) Oprah Winfrey signs on as a Producer. If she was still the host of “Oprah” then yeah, but…alas, OWN is not doing so hot, so I have to pass on this option.

    D) You get a rave from the New York Times. Are you saying the Grey Lady is the most power tool on Broadway? Then, why am I surfing the web for must-see show advice?

    Ah, yes, dear old Tom still attracts attention. Come on, admit it. If Tom sleeps with a young Broadway star, the next thing you do is to look her up. She might not be anyone’s top reason for seeing a play or a musical, but if the show is struggling for AWARENESS, then, her off hour activities might not be so bad for the company.

  • MacKenzie says:

    A) The President of the United States sees your show–how cool!

  • Jonathan Mann says:

    Almost all Broadway success begins with a good or better review in the NY Times. A bad Times review is almost a certain death knell. So, a rave review is certainly the best foundation to build upon! That being said, producers and directors can’t cater to the tastes of NY Times reviewers. Artistic and business choices must be made based on pursuit of the production’s vision — but understanding critics’ perspective, timing and sense of responsibility to both art and public service are worth noting and keeping in mind when planning.

  • Josh says:

    Definitely the Tom Cruise sex tape.

    The President and First Lady attending a show hasn’t made a huge splash since The Kennedys saw Camelot.

    Oprah’s name as producer? Not enough. (Oprah starring would be a different story.)

    And as fantastic and career-defining as a NY Times rave can be, it unfortunately no longer equals strong box office numbers.

  • Cam Petsche says:

    Oprah is my choice. She knows what the people want and like. She has successfully produced not only her own show but has also found and produced shows for people like Rachael Ray and Dr Phil. She has several decades of experience and knowledge as to what it takes to produce a successful show and that knowledge includes broadway too.

  • Benjamin Brooks says:

    I’d pick B! A sex tape with Tom Cruise would be more scandalous than… well… Scandalous!

  • Joe Cronin says:

    I would definitely go with a positive NY Times review. It would be a big box office boost.

  • Ed says:

    Straight play-review in the Times. Tourists aren’t coming in to see them but the NY area crowd
    Musical-Oprah-She’ll be responsible for how the tourists (who according to your column make up the bulk of ticket sales to musicals)decide which musical to see

  • Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    My second reply, due to rethinking the whole situation.
    Batting my eyelashes, “Oh, Mr. Merrick, you know so much about these things. I will choose whichever one you think I should.”

  • Hannah says:

    I think, boring as it might sound, is a rave from the New York Times. I do honestly think that would lead to more press, in print, TV and radio, but the main reason is theater-goers who would consider a new play place a lot of stock in reviews. Yes, the other options put the show in the news, but there are enough people who would specifically not see the show based on those options. Only a good review doesn’t alienate potential viewers.

  • Chad G says:

    I would choose having the president come see the show. Not only do you get countless articles showcasing the show as an all-American event, but you get so much traffic shut down around Time Square, no one could get to any show, but mine!

  • Andrew Beall says:

    D) You get a rave from the New York Times

  • Jamilka says:

    I choose D.

  • Stephen says:

    I’d love to say that a sex tape would be best…but I think that only works in the media that covers Hollywood. The real winner would be a Time rave. Still effective in the time-honored fashion after all these years.

  • Jeryl M. says:

    D) A rave review from the times. The other things might provide a temporary boost, but who wouldn’t want to see a show that the critics actually like.

  • Jeannie says:

    Sad sign of the times, but the sex tape for sure. You have to keep up with exposure. For a show, that means worldwide. Most of the tourists in Times Square are not from the states. This kind of news would travel worldwide and draw people from the states as well as abroad.

  • Elana Safar says:

    A combo of B and D- the sex tape with Tom Cruise gets a rave review in the nytimes.

  • Cathie A. says:

    tough call, I guess I’d pick the lesser of all the evil choices. Not that they are EVIL, just that I don’t think that any one on its own would give enough of a boost. But you’d probably get the best leg up from D. As a marketing tool its got the better legs!

  • Brian says:

    D) a rave from the times

  • Travis says:

    Obviously I think a rave review would do the show best and give the show a proper boost.

  • Rob Cote says:

    While tempted to choose Oprah, she would end up giving away too many free tickets! A rave review by the NYT is classic, I would go with D.

  • Mark says:

    I’m going to answer on a mixture of gut instinct and the numbers, because I believe that is what you do and what other successful producers do.

    My gut tells me that while Tom Cruise is back in the game, as of late, having his “Kim Kardashian” in the cast won’t necessarily improve box office (unless of course his Kim Kardashian is Kim Kardashian, then my gut would lead to this and I’d say forget the numbers).

    Also, there have been shows without raves from the Times to still become hits (Wicked’s reviews were mixed to positive, but definitely not raves).

    So this leads my gut to believe it’s between Obama and Oprah. The numbers show that even though Obama went to see The Addams Family, it didn’t recoup. Furthermore, Oprah’s name above The Color Purple led to recoupment within a year.

    Going to have to go with the crowd and say Oprah, but not just because she has the Midas Touch (although, that doesn’t hurt).

  • Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    Are you still doing this? How about Oprah signs up to do a sex tape with Tom Cruise? And everybody who buys a ticket gets a copy?

  • Tracey Buzzanco says:

    I would definitely go with answer D. More people read the times than wanting to watch Tom Cruise naked or the president comes sees the show. and the only thing with Oprah is her name. I think the times would be the best thing because it gives the review good or bad but yet it is the people who you determine whether it is good or bad Word of mouth is the best advertisement there is in this country. One critic might not like the show because he is in a bad mood or doesn’t like some one on the cast whereas seeing it yourself makes you your own critic and again word of mouth comes into play

  • Bobby Everett says:

    D) You get a rave from the New York Times

    The rave review from the New York Times from the past has always been the one rave every Broadway production wants to receive. You get a rave in the New York Times your show is sure to be a hit. It the crowning honor review. Just like the Tony is the crowning honor to receive for best play or musical.

  • Suzanne Kennedy says:

    Oprah for sure. She did amazing things for books; imagine what she could do with Bway shows! Definitely not anything with Tom — at this point, he’s tired, old news and I’m so not in favor of anything with Scientology – yuck!!

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