Is Your Show Better Than a Meal at the Restaurant Next Door?

I wrote an article in 2010 about whether or not live entertainment is an industry. (The answer is “yes.”) Today, I’m asking how that industry is doing.

For a long time, I’ve been saying that Live Entertainment is fundamentally healthy, and I still believe that. When I hear people bemoaning the business, I frequently ask them what business they’d rather be in. Aside from fad or hype-driven sectors, few places exist in the world of entertainment and media that are reliable, long-term winners.

Live Entertainment, I’d argue, falls right in the center of the “desire zone” for the 21st-century person. That may sound strange, since we’re living in high-tech times and, at their heart, live events are the definition of low-tech: the gathering together of humans in a single place. But this stripped-down, “real” nature of the live experience is precisely its strength. It’s pretty much because live entertainment is not like the rest of our highly mediated modern existence that we want the live experience.

Thus leading to high prices and lots of live entertainment options.

But I want to add another thread into the thought here, which is this: The content simply must get better. Because there’s a competition for the “desire zone” in the form of eating.

I’ve said before that food IS entertainment, but I’ve never fully extended the thought to its conclusion until now: That part of the “desire zone” in the human brain that craves an in-person experience can also be satisfied by eating in a restaurant.

Photo Credit: Jessica Koslow

Photo Credit: Jessica Koslow

For the live entertainment industry, this could be a problem. I once asked if your show was better than a banana split. Now, I want to challenge the industry with this question: Is the product we’re putting on stage better than dinner at the best restaurant in your neighborhood?

If not, getting it there needs to be the new No. 1 priority.

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