Exterminating the competition with clever casting!
Casting celebrities, by itself, is not enough to make a piece of theatre a success. But combine that with an understanding of audiences and the reasons behind their success and it becomes pretty difficult not to produce an incredibly popular piece of theatre! Let me explain . . .
Taking up David Tennant and Catherine Tate on their desire to do ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ very soon after they had both departed the immensely popular Doctor Who was a stroke of genius. But think about the wide range of shows they could have done.
They could have done a lovey-dovey play where they played head-over-heel lovers. They could have played bitter enemies. But instead, they headlined the 2011 revival of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Why? Because they thought about the audience.
These two talented actors gained their fame playing Donna Noble and The Doctor. And in their fans’ eyes, these two actors and the characters they played merge into one person. So what better roles to play than two roles that are very similar to the original characters from Doctor Who.
Because, in reality, audiences are not going to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing, they are going to see The Doctor and Donna Noble in Much Ado About Nothing. And that is the reason audiences were hooked and bought a ticket to the show – because they loved The Doctor and Donna Noble.
In Much Ado About Nothing, David Tennant and Catherine Tate play two people who hate each other, but through the trickery of their friends end up falling in love. In Doctor Who, David Tennant and Catherine Tate play two people who originally hate each other, but in the end become best friends. Rather similar storylines don’t you think?
Since the audiences were given exactly what they wanted when they went to see the show (another opportunity to engage with Doctor Who), they come out much more positive about the show and much more likely to encourage Doctor Who fans to go and see the show. Because, let’s face it, the play is practically Doctor Who on stage. Especially as the audience gets to relive all the charismatic chemistry that made the pair so successful.
So casting celebrities is great, but make sure that you look at it from the audience’s perspective.
Keeping with the Doctor Who theme, let me know in the comments below the television, movie or real-life team you would like to see on the stage. And if you are feeling extra adventurous, which show you would like to see them perform.