Our Green Broadway $100 winner announced!

Holy comments, BroadwayMan!

Based on the mountain of comments this blog received, making the theatrical workplace a greener place is obviously a very important subject for all of you.

And what creative suggestions they were!  Everything from LED lights to a “Craigslist for Theater Supplies” to a shock-absorbing dance floor that turns time-steps into electricity.  (Can you imagine how much electricity you could get from “Electricity” in Billy Elliot?)

There were several subjects that kept popping up:  paperless ticketing, Playbills and leftover sets, to name a few.  And, you know what I say . . . if more than one person has the same idea, it’s a subject that needs close examination (and there’s probably a business model behind it as well).

My staff sorted through the comments yesterday, and while they could have given multiple winners, they finally narrowed it down to just one.

The winner of the C-Note and the title of Mrs. Green Broadway is . . . RS!  RS wins with this suggestion:

The Producers should try to get Equity to come up with a way to stop requiring stuffers, without having to announce the changes in cast – there are already too many announcements before a show. Either allow us to just post the changes at the entrance or even allow for postings near each entrance to the aisles – the amount of paper we waste in stuffing is beyond imagination. Also if we still have to continue to stuff Playbills – shows really need to do one page all encompassing stuffers.even if this means that the stage managers end up producing the stuffer on the day.

I couldn’t agree more.  The amount of stuffers used on Broadway is disgustingly wasteful.  There has to be a better system that saves paper, time, money and more.  I blogged about it once and even said it might be worth us paying a few more bucks to our staffers to lose this minuscule piece of billing.

But something has got to be done.  The pros are not outweighing the conservation.

Congratulations, RS!  $100 is on its way to you!

And thanks to all of you for be a part of the team that helps “green” Broadway.  What we can save together is worth a whole lot more than $100.

Give yourself a preview-prepping workshop.

Previews can be one of the most stressful periods of a writer’s life. Regardless of whether or not you think critical response is important to your show, the countdown to Opening life can feel like a ticking time bomb.

All the elements of the show you’ve worked on for years are finally realized for the first time.  Sets, costumes, lights, special effects, actors, etc.  It has all come together.

Except for that scene and song in the second act.

Writers are constantly called on to rewrite lines, scenes, songs, etc. during previews.  I’ve seen entire musicals restructured, endings changed, intermissions excised, a song cut, the same song added back, and so on.

Stressful, right?

Unless you’ve practiced.

There are lots of writing workshops and classes out there, and if you’re a writer I recommend taking one that forces you to present material every 1-2 weeks in order to keep yourself on a schedule.

But does that prepare you for previews?

Nope.

In addition to the above, I strongly recommend writers give themselves (or each other, if you can find some goal-oriented friends out there) a Preview Preparation Speed Writing Workshop.

Here’s how it works:

Imagine you’re in previews of a new musical playing The Palace.  The love song between your hero and heroine isn’t working and Hal Prince, who you’ve luckily snagged to direct, isn’t happy.  He marches up the aisle and says, “That scene and song has to go.  And I need something new by dinner.”

Dinner is four hours away.

Go.

Shows can take years to actually get to the first preview.  And all that time can be for nothing if you can’t write during previews.

Learn now.

“When I say Broadway, you say . . .” Survey Results revealed.

My staffers and I got into a discussion last week about what the word ‘Broadway’ meant to our ticket buyers.  What sort of images did it conjure?  What did they associate with it?  In other words . . . what did the brand of Broadway actually mean?

We decided to find out.

I sent a couple of my loyal staff members (and the ones with the warmest coats) to the TKTS booth to ask 100 female theatergoers the following question (we asked only females because they drive the majority of the ticket purchases):

“What is the first word that comes to your mind when I say the word . . . Broadway?”

Below is a list of the responses (only responses given by more than one person are listed):

Shows 15%
Plays 9%
Musicals 8%
New York 8%
Music 6%
Dancing 5%
Wicked 5%
Fun 4%
Singing 4%
Lights 3%
Theater 3%
Chicago 2%
Crowds 2%
Fabulous 2%
Lion King 2%

Pretty interesting, huh?

Kudos to the three shows that got on this list.  When your show equals Broadway, you’re doing pretty well.  The other good news is what was NOT on this list: expensive, uncomfortable seats, etc.  Actually, only one person out of the hundred associated the word Broadway with “expensive,” and that one comment was the only negative word associated with Broadway in the survey.

Since we found this information to be so valuable, and since my staffers’ coats were really warm, we decided to ask another question in the same style, to the same people.  Ready?  Here goes:

“What is the first word that comes to your mind when I say the word . . . Off-Broadway?”

Below is a list of their responses:

Plays 12%
Don’t Know 9%
Cheap 6%
Not as fun 6%
Theater 4%
Altar Boyz 3%
Fun 3%
New York 3%
Shows 3%
Small 3%
Avenue Q 2%
Comedy 2%
Dancing 2%
More shows 2%
Shoes 2%

Pretty scary, huh?

9% of the individuals surveyed couldn’t even come up with a word to describe Off-Broadway!  And not only were there negative associations in this top group, as opposed to Broadway’s survey which had only positive, but these negatives continued on with the rest of the sample.  Words like “sad” and “meh” and “wannabes” were amongst the single responses we recorded.  In total, over 30% of the people surveyed had a negative first thought about Off-Broadway.  (For those of you who think we misspelled “shows” and put “shoes” instead, unfortunately, you’re wrong. Google Off-Broadway.  The second search result is the reason why 2% of our survey said shoes.)

The takeaway from this survey is pretty obvious: Broadway’s brand is healthy and positive, while Off-Broadway’s image is damaged . . . kind of like Martha Stewart when she went away to prison.

But Martha came back . . . and so can Off-Broadway.  It’s just not going to happen on its own.

A model for the rebranding of Off-Broadway tomorrow . . .

What is the first word YOU think of when you hear Broadway?  Off-Broadway?  Comment below.

(Special thanks to Lindsey and Ashley for braving the elements for this sake of this study.

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