Why shopping online for theater is different than shopping online for other entertainment.

iTunes revolutionized how music is consumed by satisfying our culture’s increasing demand for instant gratification.  Want a song?  Click.  Bam.  Boom.  It’s on your iPod and you’re rocking out to your favorite Carpenters tune in no time.

Netflix is now pushing their instant viewing option as a way to satisfy the capricious mind of today’s audience that doesn’t want to plan ahead.  I want to see Goonies.  Now.  Now.  Now!  And all from the comfort of one’s own couch.
And the latest is from Amazon.com, the company that re-energized how we bought books.  Now, with The Kindle, you can have the latest Jackie Collins e-delivered to you in seconds, wherever you are.
So what do all of these trends have in common?
They don’t require the buyer to get off his butt.
The fundamental difference between purchasing theater tickets online and purchasing most any other product online, is that the purchase of a theater ticket is a commitment on behalf of the buyer to make a physical effort in order to have the experience at a future date or time.
In addition to all of the examples above, food, clothes, electronics, etc. are all e-shopped items that can be delivered, but buying a theater ticket requires you to get off your couch, determine your method of transportation, block out time to see the show (there ain’t no pause button), and physically get your American Idol watching a$$ down to the theater.
This is one of the greatest challenges that the theater faces in the next decade, as more and more entertainment options become instantly available to us (it’s also important that as we develop our marketing strategies we realize this fundamental difference in our customers’ purchase thought process).
But these challenges are not insurmountable.  As I’ve said before, I believe that as more of these two dimensional forms of entertainment become available to us, the three dimensional form or the “live” entertainment experience becomes that much more rare, and that much more valuable . . . provided the experience is still special.
A lot of people disagree with me.  They say that the internet has changed the face of entertainment and that theater will be dead in 20 years.
My response?
Somehow, the theater has survived the invention of the radio, the movie, and most significantly . . . the television. As long as we tweak our experience to satisfy our new audience’s expectations, we’ll have no problem surviving this.
– – – – –
Speaking of The Kindle, for those of you who own that little cracker-jack of a device, you can now get my blog e-delivered directly to your Kindle.  Visit the Kindle store and search for Ken Davenport or click here!
If you don’t own one, let me tell you that it’s one of my favorite new toys, thanks to the PDF feature.  It allows me to read more scripts than ever before.

The winners of my Tony Pool announced!

Alright, you’ve waited long enough!  The winners of my Tony Pool are . . .

GRAND PRIZE WINNER of a $500 Amex Gift Card:  David R. from Miami, FL
FIRST PRIZE WINNER of a $200 Amex Gift Card:  David S. from Hillsborough, NJ
SECOND PRIZE WINNER of a $50 Amex Gift card:  Beth B. from Monona, WI
Congratulations to the Davids and Beth!  Your cards and my book are on their way.
For the rest of you, there’s always THIS year, as the next Tony season is already underway!
I also have to say . . . I love the fact that all of the winners are from OUTSIDE of New York City.  And us Manhattanites think we’re so smart!

How did I do in picking the winners of The Tony Awards?

There were 27 awards given away on Sunday night.  I got 6.5 wrong (that dang tie for orchestrations threw everyone for a loop) for a score of 76%.

No honor roll for me this year!
Here’s what I missed and why:
THE FEATURES
I got a disastrous three of the four featured categories wrong.  The only one I got right was Angela, and something tells me the defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears could have called that one (at least I did call the standing ovation).  In hindsight, there was a lot of love shown to people with strong theatrical careers.  There’s not a person in the biz who doesn’t love Greg Jbara.  Karen Olivo has had two strong performances in two strong shows, two years in a row (and she was against a brit).  And as Roger Robinson said in his speech, it took him over 40 years to get to that stage.  Voters love to not only reward greatness, but also to reward those who have been great many times (I’d put money on Raul Esparza winning whatever he is up for next, for that reason alone).
THE DESIGNERS
I’m going to have to start paying closer attention to those designers next year, especially in the play category.  I got three of the four design awards for PLAYS wrong (I hit all the musicals right on).  I should have known that Mary Stuart would have won for costumes (period costumes for Queens are a shoe-in, pun intended).  But the other two I missed, lighting design and sound design, seemed to not only be an acknowledgement of the great work by the designers, but they also seemed to be a nod to the plays themselves (Equus and Joe Turner’s), since they weren’t going to be recognized in any of the bigger categories.
You know what I should have done? I should have cheated!  I should have looked at how the majority of you voted in my Tony Pool because, for the 2nd year in a row, the majority kicked butt.
When lumping all of your votes together, and looking at the nominees with the highest percentage of votes, you all picked the winners in all but ONE category!  You missed sound design and went with Equus instead of Exit The King (come on, even I got that one right!).
The winners of the pool and the $500 will be announced tomorrow!!!

Broadway Grosses w/e 6/7/09

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap Avg Paid Adm
9 TO 5 $746,632 9,853 76.45% $75.78
ACCENT ON YOUTH $184,516 3,497 67.25% $52.76
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY $204,496 4,169 53.23% $49.05
AVENUE Q $225,561 3,521 55.29% $64.06
BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL $1,262,792 11,161 98.18% $113.14
BLITHE SPIRIT $494,842 6,741 56.97% $73.41
CHICAGO $487,493 6,399 74.06% $76.18
EXIT THE KING $525,960 7,202 85.74% $73.03
GOD OF CARNAGE $928,926 8,818 102.25% $105.34
GUYS AND DOLLS $417,941 5,956 61.18% $70.17
HAIR $924,215 10,430 92.33% $88.61
IN THE HEIGHTS $696,804 8,344 76.41% $83.51
IRENA’S VOW $174,388 4,184 55.23% $41.68
JERSEY BOYS $1,105,594 9,741 99.64% $113.50
JOE TURNER’S $375,803 7,440 92.91% $50.51
MAMMA MIA! $845,592 10,514 87.73% $80.43
MARY POPPINS $696,259 10,434 72.58% $66.73
MARY STUART $334,038 5,135 55.82% $65.05
NEXT TO NORMAL $363,464 5,357 99.13% $67.85
REASONS TO BE PRETTY $160,865 3,449 47.38% $46.64
ROCK OF AGES $463,032 7,073 88.68% $65.46
SHREK THE MUSICAL $696,670 10,851 78.27% $64.20
SOUTH PACIFIC $812,945 7,376 88.57% $110.21
THE 39 STEPS $142,020 2,636 55.94% $53.88
THE LION KING $1,214,634 12,669 95.75% $95.87
THE LITTLE MERMAID $626,776 8,535 70.24% $73.44
THE NORMAN CONQUESTS $260,455 5,678 90.99% $45.87
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $735,999 10,358 80.17% $71.06
THE PHILANTHROPIST $221,500 4,178 70.57% $53.02
WAITING FOR GODOT $520,082 7,996 99.55% $65.04
WEST SIDE STORY $1,326,013 13,055 96.16% $101.57
WICKED $1,545,886 14,472 100.00% $106.82
Totals $19,722,192 247,222   $73.87


My Top 5 Tony Moments from Last Night’s Telecast

In no particular order, here are my top 5 favorite nuggets from last night’s Tony Awards Ceremony:

1.  The “Is He Ok” Moment

Not sure what the cameras caught, but Bret Michaels of Poison took a little too much time on his exit after his rockin’ opening number . . . and caught an incoming drop in the head.  It knocked his cowboy hat right off his head, and the hat stayed on stage for several minutes as a reminder of the carnage we had all witnessed.

2.  The “Did You Forget Something” Moment

Did anyone else notice that Liza didn’t have an envelope when she went out to announce the winner of Best Musical?  Why do I get nervous every time I see her do anything?

3.  The “When Did They Write That” Moment

Kudos to the writers for drafting that clever closing number while the show was going on.  Ok, I’m sure they wrote some stuff in advance, but, nevertheless, it’s always great to go out with a few laughs.  And there were some doozies in there.

4.  The “You talk.  No, you talk.  No, you talk” Moment

Watching and waiting for one of the Billys to speak after they won their historic award was some of the finest silence on television.  Those kids are a living example of, “They don’t even have to do anything.  They just have to stand there.”

5.  The “I Made A Big Star Blush” Moment

Hugh Jackman made Sarah Jessica Parker blush years ago when he got her involved with a Boy From Oz number.  This year, it was Gavin Creel all up in Anne Hathaway’s bizness during the Hair number, and when he crawled off her, she buckled over with laughter and let out a big smile like she was a 12 year old girl at a combination Miley Cyrus/Justin Timberlake concert . . . with backstage passes.  And guess who showed up at the Hair party later on . . .

I had a lot of favorite moments from last night’s ceremony.  Overall, I thought it was a terrific show (although from what I “hear”, there were a ton of sound problems that we didn’t experience at the show itself).  How do I judge it?  Well, I think back to when I was a teenager and used to watch (and tape) the Tonys from my small hometown in Massachusetts, which seemed thousands of miles away from Broadway.  If I think “the kid inside” would have liked the show, then I give it a thumbs up.

And this year, the 16 year old had a blast and would have played it over and over again on his VCR.

I’ll have the results of the Tony pool soon. Stay tuned.

And tomorrow I’ll tell you how I did in my predictions, and where and why I went wrong.

What did you think of last night’s Tony Awards?  Comment below.

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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