Fun on a Friday: Laura Benanti and The Skivvies teach you Theater Etiquette

Everyone is talking theater etiquette these days, thanks to our Theater Etiquette Ambassador . . . or should I say Theater Etiquette Dictator . . . Patti LuPone, and her latest from-the-stage attack on a cell phone user.

And lots of people have been asking me lately about what I’d do to improve theater-going etiquette in an age when people bring buckets of chicken to Broadway shows and also “get busy” in the mezzanine, as this guy will tell you.

You know the best way to get people to improve their . . . well . . . anything?  Let them have fun in the process.  It’s the ol’ spoonful of sugar approach.  If people are enjoying themselves, they’ll learn without even knowing they’re learning.

Leave it to The Skivvies and Laura Benanti to give us a little lesson that doesn’t seem like a lesson, because it’s just fun to watch.

So on this summer Friday, watch the video below . . . and then send it to all your friends . . . especially the ones that Patti might have a problem with if she caught them texting during a show.  It’s for their safety. Really.

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Fun on a Friday: It was only a matter of time . . .

. . . until someone made a musical out of Game of Thrones.

Luckily that someone was Coldplay.

I had a super heady blog to write for today, but man, it seems like everyone is still a little high-strung about the Tonys, so I figured we could all use some fun on this Friday, which you’ll get if you watch the video below.  (Actually it’s not just the aftermath of the Tonys that has everyone’s head spinning – believe it or not, next season is WELL underway: On Your Feet is in previews in Chicagoand Hamilton is just weeks away from their first performance.  No rest for the wicked.  Actually, Wicked gets to rest because they did $1.7mm last week in their 11th year!)

So take a moment on this gorgeous Summer Friday and watch Coldplay’s foray into musical theater writing.

And then you can start to wonder how many Producers called Coldplay after they saw this, trying to get them to write a real musical.

Happy Friday everyone!

(Can’t see the video?  Click here.)


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Fun on a Friday: You can’t buy this kind of publicity.

I had a consulting client come to me recently who said, “Ken, can you help me create a video that will go viral?  Something that can get me a million views and national exposure?  Something that the traditional press that doesn’t usually cover Broadway will go nuts for?”

My answer?  No.

You can’t create something for the sole sake of going viral.  Just like you can’t create something for the sole sake of making money.  That’s exactly when something won’t go viral.  And that’s exactly when something will flop.  Because your intentions aren’t correct.

So, we got rid of his expectations and just worked on his message and the unique aspects of his show, and came up with ten ideas that he wanted to do . . . whether or not they went viral.  Because they were good.  And they served his show.  My most viral marketing “explosion” was my “Virgins Get In Free” promotion for My First Time which appeared on the home page of CNN, and Jay Leno did a joke about it in his monologue . . . and I didn’t expect any of it.  I just thought virgins should see my show before anyone else.  Thankfully, the global press agreed.  🙂

But for something to really go viral?  Well, that kind of stuff just happens . . . like Charlie biting his big brother’s finger, or impromptu wedding-party-dance videos down the aisle . . . or, well, this incredible Jeopardy answer from earlier this week, which has been on CNN, Time, and more.  I knew this one was going to go viral.  And why?  Seven people emailed me about it.  Separately.  It destroyed my law of three (when three people get in touch with me about the same subject, I know there is something to pay attention to).

In fact, you’ve probably seen it already.  But watch it again.  Because it’s awesome.  (Can’t see the video below, click here.)

Happy Summer Friday, everyone.



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Fun on a Friday: It’s The Circle of Puppets.

Leave it to Avenue Q.

The little-show-that-could, which is now in its 12th year in New York, after besting Wicked for the Tony, running six years on Broadway and now in its sixth Off Broadway (and is still the only show that has successfully made that transition), just shocked the entire Easter Bonnet competition when it won the best presentation prize a few weeks ago.

Wait – you don’t know what the Easter Bonnet competition is?

Every spring, for about six weeks, Broadway shows raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids through audience appeals at the end of shows (you know, when the cast members are at the exit doors with buckets, or when Hugh Jackman is selling his sweaty t-shirt for $27,000).   You’ve all probably seen that, right?

Well, what you probably haven’t seen is what happens when Broadway Cares announces which show raised the most money.  Since this is Broadway, after all, they don’t just announce it at a boring conference.  They have a show about it!  At the end of the fundraising season, each contributing show has an opportunity to create an Easter Bonnet, and then perform a number for an audience of about two thousand members of the community.  It’s a pretty incredible day, and the numbers that the casts put together can be pretty hysterical.

Don’t believe me?

Well, then take a couple minutes on this glorious spring Friday and watch the video below as Avenue Q, which won the award for Best Presentation, pokes a little fun at their big puppet show brother, The Lion King.  (Email subscribers, click here if you can’t see the video.)


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Fun on a Friday: He left us, but hasn’t forgotten us.

When it was announced that James Corden was taking over The Late Late Show I cried a little.

Why was I so verklempt?

Because when I saw Jimbo in One Man, Two Guvnors I remember thinking, “Mother humper, we found the next Nathan Lane.”

And then, Hollywood stole him right off of our stage.

But as you all know, when you have the theater in your blood, you can’t get it out.  And thankfully, Jimmy’s got enough of the good stuff coursing through his veins, and that means he may do us even more good from his new post than if had he stayed on the stage as an actor. (I call this the Obi-Wan Kenobi theory – Obi-Wan sacrificed himself so he could do more for Luke from the grave.)

And he’s already at it.

Just watch this hysterical example of the sketch he did on the show in the video below, featuring one of the most popular shows Broadway has ever produced.

Keep up the funny work, Jimmy, and as long as you keep talkin’ Broadway on the show for your millions of viewers (and you do a few cast appearances as well) I just might forgive you.  (Email subscribers, click here to view the vid.)



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