Broadway in Bryant Park has become a fixture of the theatrical calendar in New York, but it is in danger of losing that title if shows start to take it for granted.
For those of you who are unaware, Broadway in Bryant Park is a yearly celebration of the musicals currently performing on Broadway. Over a couple of weeks, each show has the opportunity to perform a couple of songs on a stage in Bryant Park during the lunch break of all those people who work in the city.
Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Grab people walking by Bryant Park on the way back to the office with one of the powerhouse numbers from a Broadway musical. Suck them in and show them how great the show is. And they may be the next person lining up at the ticket counter.
BUT, over the recent years, Broadway in Bryant Park has been changing.
More often than not, understudies take the lead in the performance. Group numbers are condensed to consist of a couple of ensemble members. Most musicals only perform one song from their show compared to three or four. And some shows even decide not to do it anymore.
Now, of course I am aware of the extra costs musicals would be bearing to have their whole cast and celebrity leads perform. And it is a great opportunities for the fabulously talented understudies to have their moment in the spotlight. But you have to ask the question: If you aren’t going to put your all into the presentation, then should you do it at all?
Think of the musical numbers that really attract you to a show. For me, it is ‘Legally Blonde Remix’ from Legally Blonde, ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, ‘Buenos Aires’ from Evita and ‘Born to Hand Jive’ from Grease.
At least for me, more often than not it is the big ensemble numbers that attract me to a musical because there is so much energy on stage and so much happening to keep you interested. Let me know in the comments below which songs attract you to shows!
And we all know that celebrity casting is a HUGE incentive to see a show. Even if you have never heard of the show before or have no interest in seeing a show, a celebrity that you admire and want to see perform can completely change your opinion.
So with this in mind, I would say that the two things every show would want in their performance at Bryant Park would be big ensemble numbers with a celebrity standing at the front of the stage. Those are the numbers that are going to grab people walking along the street and shake so much sense into them that they immediately visit ticketmaster.com on their phone!
Let me know what you think in the comments below.