Rumour Has It

We have all heard them. We have all told them. And we have all probably passed them on incorrectly in a game of Chinese Whispers. That’s right, today’s article focusses on something so common that even Adele has written a song about it . . . Rumours.

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I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for rumours. Now of course I don’t enjoy the rumours about secret rendezvous or celebrities breaking the law as they damage brands. But the rumours that I like are casting announcements. And they certainly have their place in theatre marketing (regardless of whether they are manufactured or not!).

You don’t even need to be interested in Broadway to have heard some of the recent casting rumours circulating the theatre world at the moment, but unfortunately a lot of them have recently been proven untrue.

Emma Stone isn’t starring as Sally Bowles in the Cabaret revival.

Anne Hathaway and Colin Firth aren’t starring as Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins in the My Fair Lady revival.

And no, as far as I am concerned Donald Trump will not be taking over the role of Daddy Warbucks in Annie. (Ok, that one is made up. But let’s see how far we can spread it!)

Whether it is started when producers enter negotiations with a star, when a celebrity accidentally says something that hints at their next job or, more simply, when a super fan starts campaigning for their favourite celebrity to move to a Broadway show, rumours have their place in marketing.

They have two roles.

Firstly – awareness.

If Anne Hathaway or Emma Stone’s names weren’t linked to the rumour mills of their respective musicals word wouldn’t spread very quickly. In fact, the only reason that I found out about preparations for revivals of Cabaret and My Fair Lady was because I was alerted to the fact that these celebrities may be starring. I hadn’t heard of either of these shows preparing for Broadway before the stars’ names were attached.

Secondly – anticipation.

When the rumours about the Les Miserables (movie) cast started to spread, so did the anticipation for the movie because people started to imagine how ‘cool’, ‘unbelievable’ or ‘mind blowing’ this cast would be. The same thing happens in theatre.

All the articles talking about these stars’ revivals on Broadway received masses of comments about how wonderful these people would be in the ‘rumoured’ roles. And as a result, people start to get excited about the show’s return and hopefully that anticipation for the star will transfer across to the musical regardless of whether that star ends up being cast.

So as Adele says, ‘Rumour has it, oooo, Rumour has it, oooo, Rumour has it’ and she is right when it comes to theatre marketing. And I’m sure that this was the message she was trying to communicate through her song!

What rumours have you heard recently? I’m always open for some goss! Let me know in the comments below.

. . . Feel free to make them up – that’s what most of them are anyway. Surely you can come up with some interesting ones!

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