Things ain’t what they used to be . . .

Nostalgia is a powerful force in marketing (i.e. glass Coca-Cola bottles) and it is quite clear that it works in theatres with various revivals opening up around the world. However, how long does a show have to wait before it can be revived?


Jersey Boys originally opened in Melbourne during 2009 before touring to most of the major capital cities. It then returned this year to do an encore season – less than three years since it had its final performance in Melbourne! Most people would say that this was too soon to bring back a musical, but there was plenty of demand with the show even returning to Perth, a destination that is usually only reached if a show is massively popular. The success of Jersey Boys in touring Australia twice in less than 5 years seems to have inspired a couple of other shows to give it a go with Wicked and The Lion King announcing their very quick return.

While it is great for the theatre industry to have such demand for a second national tour of certain stellar shows, it does leave one question . . . how are these theatre companies going to get people, who usually only see shows once, back through the door?

The Production Company relies on the kind of nostalgia that classic musicals invoke in audiences to sell out their limited performances of authentic musicals such as Singing in the Rain and Anything Goes. But Wicked, Jersey Boys and The Lion King haven’t really been gone long enough to encourage this nostalgia.

The Lion King has started its marketing campaign ahead of its relaunch in Sydney later this year by inviting the audience behind the scenes into the casting process. This has been done through an extensive series of videos under the name ‘Road to Pride Rock’. The Lion King’s marketing team appear to have realised that the audience don’t need to be bombarded with the same glossy promotional videos that appeared on the first tour. As a result this new series of videos take viewers behind the scenes of the planning, auditioning and construction phase of the show in a very in depth manner. This new concentration on behind-the-scenes videos attempts to build a connection with a well-seasoned audience by making them invest emotionally into the planning and audition process so they buy tickets to the show to see the outcomes of this process.

Sound familiar to you? Think X Factor, Australian Idol, The Voice. All high rating shows because they hook us with the background stories and then we can’t switch off for the next 12 weeks.

Of course, in the case of The Lion King, every year brings a whole bundle of new Disney children who have just seen the movie for the first time and will be begging their parents for tickets. However, these videos seem like a cunning way to try and lure back the people who spent $120 to see it the first time!

Think it will work? Leave a comment below with your opinion. Plus check back later in the week for a bit of a brainstorm on strategies Wicked can use to make itself appealing for repeat ticket purchase!