Gotta problem with star casting? Talk to Hugh Jackman.

I’m one of the lucky folk that got a couple of tickets to see A Steady Rain, and to be honest, that’s only because I’m a Tony Voter. If I weren’t a TV, I’m not sure I would have even tried to score seats to what is one of the most difficult tickets of the decade.

(I mean, each one of these guys could have sold out a play on their own. Sort of seems like a waste having them in the same play!)

At the end of this 90 minute Hunk-O-Mania, Hugh stopped the thunderous ovation to begin his BC/EFA fundraising speech.

He started it with this question . . .

“How many of you are here tonight seeing your very first Broadway show?”

At least 100 hands shot up.

Star casting has taken a lot of swipes over the years, and believe me, I’ve had my issue with a number of no-talents that have struggled their way through a Broadway play or musical.

But the right stars could be doing more to develop new audiences than we could ever do on our own.

What happened after Hugh’s question?  He and Daniel proceeded to live-auction-off signed t-shirts and backstage visits and photos, all to benefit BC/EFA.  They raised over $20k in about 10 minutes.

Thanks for joining us on Broadway, guys.  And thanks for your incredible generosity to the community.

Today’s audiences are lucky to have you . . . and so are tomorrow’s.

Three reasons why Glee is great.

There is no question that Glee is great for Broadway.  Here are three reasons why I love it:

1.  IT PUTS BROADWAY PEEPS TO WORK

The transition from theater to television is a lot more difficult now than it was in the early days of both industries.  Look at how many great Broadway actors are out there that you haven’t seen headlining in movies and piloting pilots.

And then along comes a show like Glee, and the casting directors can’t get enough from our pool: Lea Michele, Matt Morrison, Jonathan Groff, John Lloyd Young, Debra Monk and more.

The longer it runs, the more our folks will get a chance to lend their talents and their pipes to that program.  And then they’ll hopefully come back to Broadway and bring some fans with them.

2.  IT PUTS SHOWTUNES NEXT TO POP TUNES

“Where Is Love,” “Tonight,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat,” are just a few of the showtunes featured on Glee, and these classics are smacked right up next to songs like “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Rehab,” and “Single Ladies.”

The line between pop and showtunes is being blurred.

Who knows, maybe we’ll go back to the days when major rock bands like, oh, I don’t know, The Beatles, sang showtunes when looking to make a big splash on television.

3.  IT PUTS SINGING INTO STORIES

So often I hear people say, “I just don’t get musicals.  People start singing.  What the?  People just don’t do that!”

For the most part, Glee chose the Jersey Boys model (or Altar Boyz model, for that matter) where the musical numbers are actual performances and not “sung scenes.”  Still, having a show like Glee helps audiences get used to the fact that music can be incorporated seamlessly into entertainment.
The movie musical has helped Broadway significantly over the past decade, with shows like Hairspray, Chicago, Phantom and Rent ALL adding years to their runs (and millions to their box offices) thanks to their movie counterparts.

Broadway now seems to be making its way into television, in a subtler way, but in a way nonetheless.

Let’s hope shows like Glee continue to merge the two mediums.

The 50 Most Powerful People on Broadway


Patrick Lee
, a fellow blogger and member of the ITBA, as well as the guy in NYC who sees more theater than anyone I know, published a byline this AM on BroadwaySpace titled, “The 50 Most Powerful People on Broadway.”

Fun!

Patrick spoke to a bunch of Bway insiders, in order to determine who really is pulling the curtain on The Great White Way.

Click here to read the article.  It’s fascinating!

The old theater mags, like TheaterWeek and InTheater, used to publish lists like these annually.  They were my favorite columns of the year.  It was always fun seeing who had the juice.

But you know what’s even more fun?

Taking a look at the list one year later, and seeing just who rose in the ranks, who fell, who appeared, and who disappeared completely.

Maybe we can get Patrick to do it again next year.

The real stars get stepped on.

I stepped on Big Bird today. And Thomas Edison. And even Pat Sajak (I enjoyed that one).

Yep, while in LA I took a walk down Hollywood Boulevard on the wondrous Walk of Fame. It’s quite a big deal, you know. They have a big to-do when you get your star. And then people take pictures of it (even if they don’t know who you are). And it gets a wikipedia entry.

And it’s brilliant marketing.

Why don’t we have we have a walk of fame? Anyone out there reading that controls that bit of real estate known as Shubert Alley? Or what about down our namesake street itself?

Seems like the perfect place to put down some permanent markers for our biggest stars, no? (We actually have a theater hall of fame, but it’s at the Gershwin Theater, so only the Wicked audiences get to gaze on the names of the inductees).

I know what you’re saying . . . that most people don’t know our stars like they know Hollywood stars, so it wouldn’t be as exciting since we don’t have an “Elvis”.

But that’s my point. By creating a public and permanent honor we are saying to the world, “Hey, these people are significant, so you should pay attention . . . and take pictures”.

You don’t think that people would? Then try this:

Go out into the streets. Stop on the sidewalk and look up . . . at nothing. Soon enough, someone will walk up next to you, stop, and stare straight up in the air wondering what the heck you’re looking at.

You can’t tell your audience to pay attention. You have to do things that demonstrate that your art form deserves attention.

Do that, and your audiences will pay attention . . . and full price.

I was a Cub scout today.

And here’s my merit badge to prove it.

Cubby_2

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