The ONE Most Important thing Broadway can learn from the Olympics.

I’ve been at this bloggin’ thing for a few Olympic cycles now, and I’ve written about what we can learn from the Games before.

And as I watched Simone Biles vault to heights never seen before (that girl has got some “ups” as my JV Basketball Coach used to say), and Michael Phelps swim faster than a fish, I started to put together another “Top 10 Takeaways” blog like the others I’ve done.

But one of those takeaways was way too important to get lost in the shuffle. (And sometimes, and this goes for your personal and professional goals as well btw, when a To-Do list is too long, you lose focus on getting the most important stuff done first.)

So I scrapped the other nine things the theater can learn to put an Olympic-sized spotlight on one.

And it’s a simple one. But often, it’s the simple things you can do that can have the biggest effect.

On the Olympic website, there’s a call to action banner that says something like, “Wanna be an Olympian?”

Click it and it’ll take you to a micro-site called the Gold Map, which then allows you to pick the specified sport you’re interested in and gives you all sorts of info about getting involved with that sport including where to train, local competitions, and much more.

Now, the Olympic designers know that the odds of this site leading someone to the medal stand is lower than the odds of me beating Usain Bolt in the 100m dash.

But that’s not their point.

The mission of this “Gold Map” initiative is to increase engagement. Because they know the future audience and supporters of the sport come from people who have played the sport.

Guess what?

The same is true for the theater.

An NEA report concluded that people who were involved in the theater/arts were much more likely to attend the arts later in their lives.

So the key to creating the next generation of Broadway audiences, investors, staffers, and more, is getting more people involved in the theater . . . wherever they are.

And that’s what our industry and all theater companies should focus on, no matter where in the world they are. Oh and a simple action item to start this ball rolling?

We should steal from the Olympics. Why doesn’t each show have a page on their website that says, “Do you want to get to Broadway? Here’s how . . .” With a link to a page that talks about community theaters and college training programs and books and podcasts from performers and more.

There are a lot of people out there interested in what you and I do every day. They just need a little help to find their way.

It’s up to us to show them the Yellow Brick Road to Broadway.

 

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Comments
  • Frank says:

    I think you should share the other 9 thoughts, because this one, while important, feels pretty weak in the grand scheme of things.

  • Carvanpool says:

    I wonder if all the waiters/waitresses/actors in NYC will like this idea. Or maybe the mid-life financial carreerists, bored with their lot in life and all starry-eyed will appreciate a button on a show website with investor contact info.

    Judges? USA : 2
    UK : 3
    Russia : 1.5

    Nope. Bad idea.

  • So few people can play sports professionally. Let alone do something worth remembering. The large numbers of athletic dreamers do fill the stands. Until recently I have been sitting on a script for a full length play. With the most basic advice I now have a staged reading scheduled with a local theater company. If it never goes any further than that I’ll die a happy man just having heard the whole thing live. I will keep dreaming that some vacationing producer will find it someday and want to bring it to Broadway.

  • Casey says:

    I think its a great idea. Most professionals don’t have degrees they simply had the opportunity to get experience in a field and enjoyed it and then chose to do it as a living. Most of the people in my life who are successful did not attend college. In fact that’s how most American businesses were built people doing what they enjoy not what they have degrees in. I say do it.

  • Drew Cohen says:

    Agree with you completely. While the end result for most people of becoming involved in theatre may not be a role on Broadway, I am sure most of your readers know the other benefits of merely participating in theatre, either as a performer or as a member of the creative team, backstage crew, Etc. My only point is to suggest that people start even younger, in high school or with Broadway Junior shows that are designed for elementary and middle school students to perform. Great point Ken. Just like Little League

  • Henry Mastroberardino says:

    Absolutely brilliant idea, Ken! I would dive in just to learn about the inner workings of this amazing industry!

  • i will totally agree with this one. Sure we will learn a lot of things from the Olympics such as sportsmanship, courtesy and friendship.

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