3 Things Broadway Can Learn From The Royal Wedding.
You watched some of that wedding, didn’t you?
Maybe you didn’t get your butt up at 5 AM to watch it live (although I’d bet money that a lot of you did), but you tuned in at some point to watch the pomp and circumstance of the latest royal nuptials, am I right?
It’s ok. I did too.
We’re obsessed with royal weddings. Even now, when we know that being a Princess in the British monarchy isn’t anything close to what we heard about in fairy tales (and might be more of a curse than a blessing), we’re still infatuated with the concept of the crown, and how they say “I do.”
And whenever anything gets this much publicity (one might argue that a Royal Wedding is England’s greatest marketing initiative – they should be pushing for a wedding a year just to get the impressions), I get jealous and wonder what we can do to steal some of those eyeballs.
Here are three things Broadway can learn from The Royal Wedding:
1. People Still Love A Princess Story
It’s not just the act of a royal getting married that the public is obsessed with, but it’s the story of a person being plucked from “obscurity” and given fame, fortune, and the adoration of millions that has us leaning forward in our seats. It’s the ol’ fashioned idea of a regular Joe (or in this case JoAnne) becoming an overnight sensation, which is incredibly captivating to an audience. Why? Because we all fantasize about that same thing happening to us.
And an easy way to get a big audience is to tell the transformational story of a hero becoming something that we all want to be. Remember that when you are writing a script.
2. We Love A Title, No Matter What It Means
The monarchy in the UK is pretty powerless. We know that now. We’ve all seen The Audience. But that doesn’t stop us from worshipping a King or a Queen or yeah, a Prince or Princess/Duchess/Whatever fancy title someone has. Being dubbed a “something” gives that person a status that other people don’t have. And that status means followers and support, regardless of the actual influence of the person with that status. I wonder if every year, Broadway should designate an Official Broadway Ambassador. We pick a big star to represent us, and that person, as the Ambassador, travels to theaters around the country/world, meets with leaders of business, inspires kids, and does . . . well . . . prince/princess type duties.
They’d get a following . . . and even an “audience.”
Titles are cheap but can carry great influence.
3. Don’t skimp on the costumes
I sometimes think a Royal Wedding isn’t a wedding at all . . . it’s just a fashion show. Those hats alone! Can you imagine how much in couture was sold over the last few weeks? Which made me think two things:
First, there is an expectation of a certain level of costume ‘blingness’ when an audience pays $150/ticket. I learned this on Godspell when I was showing potential customers in the line at the TKTS booth pictures of my show (with my cast in a version of street clothes). “I’d rather see Priscilla Queen of the Desert instead,” said one theatergoer. I knew she’d actually enjoy our show better, but I couldn’t sway her from all that spectacle.
Your costumes can’t just be grabbed off a rack . . . anyone gets that. And we don’t go to see shows to see what anyone can get or wear. We go to see something special, something that we can’t or don’t have.
Second, I couldn’t help but wonder how awesome it would be if more of our shows (even just our opening nights) were a bit of a “who’s wearing what” event. Fashion is a massive business (people pay $30k to go to that Met Ball from a few weeks ago), and if the fashion world took a shine to us, we’d get a heck of a lot more press.
I know it’s going to be hard to get people to start dressing up for the theater again, but we could try. What about suggested dress codes on websites saying “anything is welcome, but we’d suggest . . . ” And what about those opening nights? Surely something can be done to get folks to show up in something a little bit more shiny than what they wore to work that day?
So tell me the truth now . . . did you watch The Royal Family? And more importantly . . . WHY did you watch? And what did you take away from your desire to tune in that you can apply to your show?