Broadway Live at Home
By Casey Bell
Come on along and listen to, the Lullaby of Broadway… They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway…Give my regards to Broadway, remember me to Herald Square. There are many songs written about and on the topic of Broadway. One of America’s oldest past times, Broadway, who has had many ups and downs in the past, is facing I believe the “downest” it has ever experienced. The 2020 pandemic shut the lights out for the longest in American history.
The city that once had insomnia, has finally fallen asleep. Broadway was supposed to return from intermission in June of 2020, but they decided to wait until September 2020. They are now talking January 2021. Maybe the third time will be the charm.
But one thing I will say Broadway is making its mistake on is not changing its ways.
Life is not about getting back to normal, but it is always about moving forward to abnormal. Don’t forget everything we see and do today, yesterday was abnormal. Taking a picture or video on your phone was abnormal in 1920. In 1800 there was no such thing as vegan chicken, mayonnaise, cheese, etc. Some times when bad things happen you are supposed to see where you can change.
So, how can Broadway change? It’s a simple question to answer.
I have no clue if the boss, supervisor, president, or principal of Broadway (or whoever is in charge) will read this, but I will give my 2 cents on what I believe would be a good idea for Broadway to get back to its feet.
First and foremost, if Broadway should open in January 2021 here are a few suggestions.
1. Even though it means less seating, meaning less money, they should make sure the seating is 6 feet apart.
2. Sell masks, but three different kinds:
a. Inexpensive disposable masks
b. Show masks. So, if you are going to see Wicked, masks with witches, munchkins, and the Wizard on them. Obviously, these will be much more money than the disposable ones.
c. Fundraising masks. Masks with organization logos on them (Actors Fund, Broadway League Foundation, Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors, etc.) and a percentage of sales go to the organization.
3. Lower the prices of the tickets.
a. I know that sounds wrong, but I will explain that later.
4. Have hand sanitizer stations all over the theatre, sell show labeled hand sanitizers and have “Wash Your Hands” signs on every bathroom stall.
Why should Broadway lower ticket costs?
For the past ten years, maybe even more, the main demographic of Broadway and even local theater patrons have been senior citizens. Most senior citizens have been proud hermits during this season and will probably stay that way. It is going to be difficult to convince them to come out to see a show. That leaves patrons 45 and under. And the main reason why they won’t go see a show is because of the prices. If you want to convince the younger crowd to come out, you are going to have to lower the prices.
But how does Broadway make their money if they lower prices and have less patrons in the theater due to 6 feet apart seating?
That is such a simple question to answer.
As of now BroadwayHD is a streaming website much like Netflix, but you get to see prerecorded Broadway shows. They have a monthly and a yearly plan that allows you to see shows at your leisure.
However, none of those shows are live. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could see a Broadway show live at home? Where you get to hear the audience and maybe even see a mistake or two (nothing wrong with imperfection)?
Since Broadway began the only audiences they made a profit from were people who lived in New York or were willing to travel to New York. But could you imagine making a profit on patrons from not only from the other states, but from patrons all over the world?
In that moment not only do you have the eyes of the patrons in the theater on you, but eyes from all over. Which is great if you have a great and meaningful message. Now, you can share that message with people from all over instead of just people who are in NYC in that moment.
Prerecorded performances are great, but there is nothing like a live performance.
Furthermore, there is so much more you can offer with Broadway live at home. During that fifteen minute break, not only can you show a commercial or two, but you can take an interviewer, mic, and camera (along with a cameraperson) backstage and talk to a cast member, maybe someone from the crew or go out to the lobby and talk to the audience or a staff member. As a patron we never get the chance to see or speak to the crew and staff of the show. This would be the great time to do that.
And you can even schedule the interviews. This way the patron knows which performance you will be interviewing the costume designer, or the light board operator, or even the advertiser of the show. Not only would it be interesting to hear their side of the show, but it would be educational for those aspiring to work in those fields. Yes, it may be difficult to start, but isn’t every innovative idea difficult at the start? I believe streaming the Broadway shows live at home for those who have a paid account on BroadwayHD would be an added bonus.
In conclusion, there are always solutions to new problems, but you cannot use old ways to solve them. You must create new ideas and invent innovative tools to fix a problem you’ve never had. It may be wishful thinking, but I would be happy to see the day when we can go to see a live Broadway show in our pajamas at home curled up on the couch.
Also by Casey Bell:
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