A Salad by any other name would still be Just Salad.

I’m trying to eat healthy.  I swear.  I’m only having ‘wings’ 3 times a week now instead of 5.  Progress!

One of my new favorite healthy lunch spots is Just Salad, where they serve . . . ahem . . . just salad.

Chopped salad, Caesar salad, Make Your Own Salad . . . as the name suggests, there’s a lot of Just Salad.

And there is usually just a line out the door.

I can’t help but love a place whose name so specifically tells you what it is.  There is this confidence in, “If you want salad, come and get it.  If you do NOT want salad, do NOT come here.  You will be disappointed.”

And I couldn’t help but think how musicals and plays need to strive to do the same thing with their titles.  Because a title is a show’s most important marketing tool.  It’s your audience’s first touch point, and therefore a mucho important one.

I’m not suggesting titles be things like, “Just a Musical about the Witches of Oz” (Wicked).  That kind of titling would be gross.  There’s no art in that.  And plays and musicals are not healthy lunch spots.

But it is still important that your title communicate what your show is about so that the audience can decide, “Is this show for me?”  or more importantly, “Is this show NOT for me?”

That was the important lesson I learned years ago.

I used to think that as long as I got a butt in the seat who paid a few bucks for a ticket, I was good.  But no.  See, if you get someone in a seat by any means necessary and the show is not what you’ve told them it is (with your title or your description), and they don’t like it?   Well, the word-of-mouth is going to be that much worse.  And you’ll find you’ll lose more money from the people that dude will tell.  (Imagine going to Just Salad and being pitched various types of steak.)

This is especially true for original pieces that have no pre-existing brand name recognition (movie, book, etc.).

When coming up with your title, make sure the show gives the people not only what they want, but what they expect.

 

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Comments
  • Excellent advice. Also good to google your show title to see if there’s anything else out there already using it.

    I once had the idea to call am album “Bad Girl Trapped In A Good Girl’s Body” and googled it to find is a catch phrase for a porn site. Dodged a bullet there.

  • Best salad: ripe tomatoes and ripe enough avocados.
    Dressing: red wine vinegar, light olive oil, and soy sauce to taste, pref.
    a good quality soy sauce.
    Dressing also good on just plain old lettuce. You’ll want to drink the extra dressing at the
    bottom of the salad bowl. Better not. Who knows what your stomach might have to say about that later.

  • Judy Sizemore says:

    Ahhhhh, this is sage advice, but how do you know when you have the perfect title? That’s a full time job in itself, don’t you think? Finding the right title? This is often what hangs me up.

  • Michael Mooney says:

    I don’t mind a title that’s a bit mysterious, but when the description goes on and on about how wonderful the show is and how everyone loves it, but doesn’t tell me what it’s ABOUT–I want to scream.

  • Ken, no doubt you’ve seen this. The National Theatre at the Barrymore: The Curious Incident of The Dog In the Night Time. Tickets starting at just $27! Interesting strategy.
    http://curiousonbroadway.com

  • Cindy Harrington says:

    Recently performed in the play “Five Lesbians Eating A Quiche”. There were still people who came, and were surprised that there were lesbian characters, and that they were eating a quiche in the play!

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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