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Experience

More about Making Great Work for Children

A couple weeks ago, I talked about how children are a great audience for live entertainment that isn’t being served well, and a lot of people responded supportively to this idea.Thinking more about that, one of the reasons that not enough of this content is being produced is that there’s a false assumption that if it’s “for” children, it isn’t “for” non-children. Being almost entirely non-children themselves, the people who produce this kind of content want to program for...

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Marketing

The Strength of Unbalance

Recently, I talked about how some Broadway marketers are troubled by the relative lack of straight men coming to Broadway shows compared to the past. The thought there is that these men are a good, lucrative audience that they’re missing.That may well be true, but hidden inside that thought is the assumption that it would be better to have a “balanced” audience of men and women, or at least something closer to balance.Sometimes though, balance doesn’t make sense or...

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Experience

Why Live Event Venues Are Never Full for Long, and Why That’s OK

Fifty percent of seats for live entertainment go unsold. Or is it 40 percent, or maybe 35? Different analysts and executives from major ticketing organizations have been quoted over the years at different numbers, but let’s just agree that it’s a substantial percentage, and a staggering raw number.But it’s also a classic “glass (or venue) half-full or half-empty” kind of question. Is the unsold seat total a bad thing, or is it more complex than that?Let’s work through it....

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ICYMI

In Case You Missed It

• Words are powerful, but when you use the wrong words to describe your business you might as well be speaking nonsense. Goldstar CEO Jim McCarthy explains why words like "guest" aren't the right way to go in live entertainment.• The Royal Opera aims to grab a younger audience by slashing prices and performing a risqué show for opening night. And that's only the beginning …• Earlier this week, we chatted with artistic director Jack Reuler from Mixed Blood...

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News

Don’t Play That Funky Muzak

You hear it everywhere -- the grocery store, subway stations, the doctor's office -- smooth jazz or classical music, derisively referred to as "muzak." You probably just tune it out most of the time, but apparently there's a very real reason it's playing, at least in certain places.Some experts believe playing classical music not only creates a soothing ambiance, but also drives away vagrants and vandals. A recent story on WQXR shed some light on the practice, and writes...

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Selling Out With

Selling Out With Jack Reuler

Is "free cheaper than cheap"? For Mixed Blood Theatre in the Twin Cities, it seems to be. Its admission initiative called "Radical Hospitality" allows anyone to attend a show for free. Three seasons of the campaign is paying off with increased popularity and donations.After hearing about the program on HowlRound.com, we spoke with Mixed Blood Theatre artistic director Jack Reuler. He shared further insights into what aspects of the program are working, what they're continuing to tweak and what...

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Customer Service

When Bad Reviews Turn Into a Win

No one ever wants bad reviews, but in the live entertainment industry there's always the possibility that an audience won't respond to your show the way you would like. And then, what do you do? Ignore the comments, or use them to build a better event?A great example of doing the latter is haunted house/immersive experience The Purge: Fear the Night from Blumhouse Productions, makers of horror films Paranormal Activity and Insidious. The initial idea was a free-roaming house...

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Marketing

Don’t Say “Guest” When You Don’t Mean Guest

For some reason, businesspeople tend to drift toward gibberish in their speech. (And you’re all businesspeople, by the way, even those of you who believe that “businesses” do something different from what nonprofits do.)In the search for something interesting, different and effective to say, people try a lot of things. Many of those things are nonsensical. Some of the nonsensical things sound good, and sometimes when they sound good people start copying that nice-sounding bit of nonsense. Eventually, people...

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Bright Ideas

Are Musicals a Gateway Drug for Opera?

David Belcher at The New York Times recently reported on the trend of opera houses performing American musicals in addition to traditional opera.Not only is it a way to add additional options to a company's repertoire, but it could be the "gateway drug" that brings in a new audience and gets them hooked on opera.It seems fair to say that an opera company will put a unique spin on Oklahoma! or The Sound of Music and that could be...

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Experience

“Deliberate Change”

The other day, I mentioned my encounter with Bob Farrell and it prompted me to read up a little bit on the mostly tragic history of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlours.Somebody, perhaps not a totally unbiased somebody, put a lot of effort to catalog the ups and downs of the organization, and it’s interesting reading, because it shows a fast rise, powered by a passionate concept, with adoring customers and a lot of unique qualities. But it also catalogs the...

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