Posts Tagged ‘Book of mormon’

The 12-13 season is underway! THE BOOK OF MORMON kicked off its First National Tour in Denver. Based on how fast tickets sold, and the response of critics and bloggers, this first engagement certainly looks like a good omen for a show that presenters love, but who are also probably a bit nervous, at least in some markets, about how the material will be received by their subscribers.

FOX 31








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This recent article talks specifically about WICKED as it rolls into the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City and the number of trucks needed for the size of the tour. It is also a reminder, though, that theatre on The Road clearly remains popular and generates enough revenue to the extent that the Capitol Theatre will be spending millions of dollars in renovations to upgrade the facility. Guess SLC really wants to give THE BOOK OF MORMON a warm welcome should the musical ring on its doorbell for the 2013-14 season.

Now, if we can only get State governments and the Federal government to spend more money upgrading American roads! Upgrading roads could potentially be helpful with making certain bad jumps from one market to another more realistic, and ultimately save both the presenter and the show on OT labor costs…


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Little by little, 2012-2013 seasons are being announced across North America. Here is what you can expect to see in a market near you!


















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Check out this super awesome promo created by my company, BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA announcing our 2012-2013 season in Boston! (More season announcements from around North America to come in my next post…)


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Now that the THE BOOK OF MORMON has been anointed with 9 Tony Awards, will that have an effect on more presenters feeling comfortable about booking the potentially offensive show in their markets? Is THE BOOK OF MORMON simply the controversial show of today as RENT once was, which became a show that gained nationwide acceptance, and ultimately enjoyed a solid touring life for quite a number of years?

“Civic Center hopes to land ‘Book of Mormon’

“‘Mormon’ more than Charlotte can stand?”

“Broadway Can be Tame in Tulsa”

“‘Book of Mormon’ could make Smith Center of hot ticket”

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Several weeks ago, WONDERLAND closed on Broadway after a brief run. In an earlier post, I predicted that this show may have some troubles on the Great White Way. That said, many smart, seasoned people were involved with the production of WONDERLAND on both the business and creative sides, and so a lot of experience and care was likely put into how they proceeded. While there is always risk in theatre, I suspect that they felt the title and familiar, accessible subject matter were less risky than most and would have a mainstream appeal in New York, and eventually on The Road. With the Broadway production ending so abruptly, though, a life on The Road for WONDERLAND is uncertain, especially given all the competition from other shows jockeying for position in the 2012-2013 touring season. I did not ever get to see WONDERLAND, but, clearly, something did not come together here.

At the same time, on the other end of the spectrum, there’s THE BOOK OF MORMON, a strong risk with its potential to offend, and so presenters who see it and love it are in a quandary. How will audiences mostly used to tame blockbusters and revivals respond? Is there a risk of offending and losing subscribers?

In my mind, THE BOOK OF MORMON presents a perfect opportunity to shake up, invigorate and, dare I say, “save” The Road with its potential to expand the audience base and prove that quality, original musicals that have something to say CAN work and are worth the risk.

Below are a couple of articles, one out of Kansas City and the other out of Pittsburgh that discuss THE BOOK OF MORMON and the dilemma facing local presenters.


Risky, satisfying shows make their way to Broadway


Stage reviews:  ‘Book of Mormon’ is best news of Broadway season

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A special guest from WAR HORSE visits the Crowne Plaza Ballroom.

The 2011 Spring Road Conference ended on a high note late last Thursday with a fabulous closing night party hosted by THE BOOK OF MORMON. A wonderful finale to a fun and educational few days.

Over Wednesday and Thursday, there were several more panels on a variety of industry-related topics, but first, a couple of additional takeaways on ticketing and pricing, which I talked about a bit in my previous post…

One presenter, Gina Vernaci, the Vice President of Theatricals at PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland revealed that she and her staff were able to increase their subscriber base, in part, by no longer offering a “mini-package” option. In my previous post, I mentioned that a number of markets out there offer “flex packages” to try and entice those people who may not want to get locked into an expensive full subscription package. Even though Vernaci said she realized that not offering a mini-package was counter-intuitive, she decided to give it a try, offering instead more affordable packages for her entire season of seven shows. Vernaci also looked at her house and did some re-pricing. As it turns out, applying both of these ideas worked well for her market, as her sub load-in increased to approximately 22,000. Another point that someone made during these discussions was how important it was to not set ticket prices too high. The argument being that it’s easier to raise prices than to lower them. Having to lower a ticket price sends a different message, and not a positive one, compared to keeping prices steady, or raising them, which implies a greater demand.

Switching gears a bit, Wednesday morning opened with a fascinating talk called “Making Your Case” during which panelists and audience members described their recent experiences in Washington where the push is on to get the theatre industry on the radar screen of lobbyists and politicians. One of the panelists included the esteemed Broadway producer, Tom Viertel, Chairman of the Board at Scorpio Entertainment. Viertel announced the impending formation of a Legislative Council that will include theatre industry professionals from each state, who will be liaisons between the theatre industry stakeholders within their state and elected representatives.

One major lobbying effort that the theatre industry has been working on relates to securing tax breaks for theatre investors that are similar to the tax breaks that investors in film and investors in U.K. theatre productions receive. A bill in support of this tax break initiative for theatre producers is reportedly being considered in Washington, and it was announced that Senator Charles Schumer of New York will likely be introducing it in the next several weeks.

A main takeaway from this panel discussion was that while there are professional lobbyists out there, we all have to be our own lobbyists and get out there, get to know our public officials personally, and “make a case” for our industry.

Switching gears again, another illuminating seminar that was popular among conference attendees was called, “A Vision Of The Digital Future” where professional digital marketers, along with the SVP of Digital Operations at The New York Times, discussed the ways in which social media drives real time experience, and how “mobile” is now the biggest trend in digital communication. The panelists also all agreed that these days it has become imperative to brand your product across platforms in order to allow users to access your brand in variety of ways.

The panelists also stressed that gathering research and data to determine and understand your audience was the key to help you best decide on branding strategy and that data analytics should be used to drive decisions on how one chooses to invest time and money in social and digital marketing strategies. You need to look at your consumers’ habits, see what platforms they use and understand how to integrate the media that your consumers are using.

The panel encouraged those in attendance to really think about how to use social media and emerging technology to further the experience and relationships with subscribers. “Geotargeting,” the capability of determining where a website visitor is located, came up often as a popular method to proactively reach out to consumers in order to deliver content in an interactive, spontaneous and fun way. “Geotagging” was also suggested as a way to get word out about a show. For example, find a way to get a patron to use an app while in your theatre that allows her to let people know she’s there and that allows her the capability of letting people know out in the world right then and there how she feels about the show.  The other major takeaway from this discussion was the importance of content. Your audience is expecting something valuable and exclusive, so the content of your message must offer something they can’t see, or get, anywhere else.

Because theatre is live, it is always going to be a unique experience that people can’t get anywhere else, but it is clear that if theatre is to remain alive and thrive in this country, we must collectively fight the good fight and advocate for the performing arts on a political level, and also stay in step with the fast-moving times by embracing the digital world and using it to our best advantage.

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Well, per all the links below, THE BOOK OF MORMON, the irreverent musical by South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, with Robert Lopez of AVENUE Q fame, is a huge Broadway smash. Though I have not seen it yet, I know from those who have, as well as the reviews, one of which describes the show as “blasphemous, scurrilous and more foul-mouthed than David Mamet on a blue streak” that much of the content is far from squeaky clean.

Assuming the capitalization and weekly operating costs for this production are not inconceivably high, there is a decent chance that THE BOOK OF MORMON will hang in there long enough to eventually be a commercial success in New York given the reviews and positive word of mouth.

But what about on The Road?

THE BOOK OF MORMON and other shows that have opened, or will soon be opening this season, are going to be considered for the 2012-2013 touring season, and, in early May, presenters from around the country will be descending on New York for The Spring Road Conference where they will have a chance to take in THE BOOK OF MORMON and all the other new offerings. I believe the presenters who truly like THE BOOK OF MORMON will be in a difficult position. Can they safely offer it on subscription and risk possibly alienating the loyal base that they’ve cultivated?  And what will be the producers’ marketing strategy be prior to going on The Road? As with other shows with less mainstream subject matter that also lacked a “brand name” title, the THE BOOK OF MORMON producers will likely need to begin building strong name recognition and enough audience support for this show on a national level pretty far ahead of a tour if they hope to be able to court enough presenters to create a viable routing scenario. A critical and artistic success in New York does not often equal financial success on The Road. The Equity tour of SPRING AWAKENING, for example, had its challenges, per this article in The St. Petersberg Times about the play at the Straz Center in Tampa Bay.

The commercial touring industry is a business after all, and yet, at the same time, The Road needs to offer fresh, edgy shows of quality, otherwise this country will one day end up permanently thinking that the theatre is made up only of blockbusters and revivals, and that outcome would certainly be ungodly.








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