Will the Gorillaz’s hit ‘Feel Good Inc’ sell tickets to a musical?

How predictable would it be to do a Tony’s wrap up in this blog? Well I am not going to be predictable (although I may be a bit predictable tomorrow!)

Now that this year’s Tony Awards have finished, it is time to look forward at what is coming to New York in the coming year. And while it looks very promising, there is one show in particular that I want to explore, Monkey: Journey to the West.

monkey-journey-to-the-west

An adaption of the 16th century Chinese novel, Monkey: Journey to the West follows a monkey’s journey to seek immortality and paradise and was originally conceived by Chinese and French opera directors. While it would be interesting to see whether this story resonates with a predominantly Western audience, that is not the most exciting concept to explore!

The interesting part is the creative team behind the musical. The production showcases a score by Blur front man Damon Alburn and design work and animation by Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett.

Recently, we have seen a number of famous musicians approaching Broadway to write the scores and help produce shows. Some have been overwhelmingly successful, such as Kinky Boots which just won Best Musical, while others have been faced with many problems from artistic conflicts to severely injured actors, such as Spiderman.

Is there something special about Cyndi Lauper, compared to U2’s Bono and the Edge, which made her musical more successful than U2’s? Or was it purely the execution of the show?

A big factor which contributed to the success of Lauper’s Kinky Boots was probably that her fans crossed over more into the theatre world than fans of U2. As a result of that large group of fans, the show would have been perceived by Lauper fans as very low-risk, whereas U2 fans would have been faced with more risk not usually going to the theatre.

Now of course that is a big generalisation. But when looking at Monkey: Journey to the West, how many Blur or Gorillaz fans do you think went to see their concert on the Friday night and then followed it up with a Saturday matinee on Broadway? Probably not anywhere near as many as U2 or Cyndi Lauper.

This could pose a bit of a problem if the production is planning to capitalise on the musicians’ names because the distance between Blur/Gorillaz fans and theatre probably goes the other way with theatre fans and Blur/Gorillaz music.

However, if the production is aiming to sell tickets based on the quality of the actual show itself, then the only problem they would face is whether the Chinese theatre appeals to Western audiences. But that is a quandary for another time . . .

It appears that capitalising on star power when it comes to creating a musical works almost as effectively as casting big name stars, so maybe it is something to think about for all those people out their creating a musical?

What do you think? Are stars a necessary part at some point of the musical whether it be in the creation or the performance? Let me know your opinion in the comments below.

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