Sing. Sing a “long.” Make it simple . . .

No, this isn’t a post about a Carpenters jukebox musical (although I did inquire about the rights to that catalog about 10 years ago).

This is a post about another property I went after, but was denied . . . because the film company had their own plans.

This Thursday, the ‘Grease Movie Sing-A-Long’ opens at the Loews Village 7 in New York City and all over the country. (Full disclosure, when I was inspired to try and do a Grease sing-a-long, I went after the rights to Grease 2.  Why 2?  Well, I never thought I’d get the rights to the original, and, I mean, come on . . .. can you imagine a sing-a-long to “We’re Gonna Boooooooowl tonight!”)?

If you’re not sure what a sing-a-long is, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  The movie plays, along with karaoke-like lyrics (“Summer lovin’, had me a blast!”), and the audience is encouraged to sing along with the film score.  In addition, audiences are encouraged to dress up, slick their hair and more.  Hopefully, a Rocky Horror element emerges as well, and props and choreography are incorporated (Hand jive, anyone?).  Sing-a-long movies started with The Sound of Music way back in 2000 (and I believe the craze started in Europe).

It has taken a decade, but Grease, and its 4 chords, 3 jokes, and billions of fans, looks to be the biggest one yet (“Summer Nights” is one of the most requested karaoke songs of all time).

The New York Times wrote a piece about the sing-a-long, which included some very insightful comments from Adam Goodman, president of the Paramount Film Group, which apply to what we do as well.  Adam said, “The goal is to create a true event.  How do you get groups of young people going to the movies and having a great time?”

The author of the article continues with Adam’s query.

The key term is “young.”  Older movie goers may still prefer to sit in silence, but younger audiences, the ones studios work hardest to motivate off the sofa – are increasingly programmed to interact and multitask.  Sitting quietly in a theater starts to feel like a bore when you can watch the DVD at home while texting a friend, playing a video game and posting witty comments on Facebook.

Creating unique events are essential for anyone producing entertainment in today’s market, especially if you are trying to get young people off the couch, and off their phones, and their Facebooks, and whatever else they are on these days.

But what do today’s multitasking generation’s habits mean for tomorrow’s market?

Whoa . . . that’s heavy.  I need a night to think about it.  Tune in tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a little cerebral palette cleanser.  And while you’re watching it, sing along . . . and maybe Paramount will hear us.

“I’ve got a rep to protect.”

Truer words have never been spoken, even if they are a quote from my favorite horrible movie sequel ever.

(Side note: Way back when, I tried to get the rights to this movie . . . twice.  I wanted to do a Rocky Horror-type late-nite version, and spoof the 1000-thread count sheet out of it.  Have the actors on bikes instead of motorcycles.  Have the audience do the sound effect of the bomb shelter alarm.  And you all know you could sing along with all the tunes, you cool riders you.  FYI, I was denied the rights and was told that the authors had NO interest in a stage version . . . ever.  Harsh, right?)

Back on topic . . .

Speaking of bomb shelters, I recently walked by the giant disaster area of a construction site in the middle of Times Square that will someday be the new TKTS booth.

Construction began two years ago, and was supposed to be completed just six months after that!  Yet it still remains unfinished (despite this blog that says it would be done last Saturday) and is the ugliest of eye sores in the most heavily trafficked area in our city.  If I was a NYC government leader, I’d be having a fit and fining someone up the you-know-where big time, because one of our main tourist attractions looks like a junk yard . . . and that’s gotta have an adverse effect on the people paying to visit our fair Times Square.

End rant.  Back to the point.

 

As I walked by the site, I noticed a sign posted on the ugly garbage bag-black walls, boasting the name of the “Construction Management” team of D. Haller, Inc.  It’s a business card, slapped right on to the side of the walls that have been up for a year and a half longer than they should have been.

In all fairness to D. Haller, I don’t really know what the hold up is.  Rumors in the industry are that the stairs were constructed overseas and were delivered late.  And winter weather had a part.

So maybe the year and a half delay, and the damage to the city’s brand, and the disruption to one of the theater industry’s chief economic infrastructures, isn’t D. Haller’s fault.  Or maybe it is?

The fact is, it doesn’t matter.

Cuz if your name is on something, whether it’s a construction site or a Broadway show, it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is.  It looks like yours.

So, If things go wrong and your stairs aren’t delivered on time or it’s too cold in the theater or your box office is rude to a customer, you better have the answers and a solution, or be able to stir up some sheet in order to find one.

Otherwise, you’ll never have to worry about producing a sequel to anything.

Let’s have some fun.  As a little test, I’m going to call D. Haller in the AM and find out what in the name of Michelle Pfeiffer is going on.  Tune in tomorrow.  I’ll let you know exactly what they say.

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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