Get them while they’re young
If you want to be successful in any industry you need to plan into the future. And the best way to plan into the future is to look at your future audiences. Something which Broadway veteran Sutton Foster does very well . . .
In a society that largely consists of new people living out their 15 minutes of fame, it is very hard to maintain relevance and appeal for an extended period of time. But there is one way to ensure that you stay relevant ten or fifteen years into the future . . . targeting children.
Now, I don’t mean targeting children in the same way that we see in fast food companies who take advantage of children’s powers to break the will of their parents with incessant nagging. I mean forming a connection with the next generation so that they will recognise you later on – and if you are lucky, you not only form that connection with the child but also with their family!
To explain how this works, if she doesn’t mind, I am going to use the example of Sutton Foster.
For those of you who don’t know about the phenomenal Sutton Foster, it is time to find out. Sutton has held starring roles in the Broadway productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, Shrek the Musical and Anything Goes, won two Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and is now branching out into the television world. If you look up ‘force to be reckoned with’ in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Sutton Foster.
Of course all these starring roles make her a popular icon for the current demographic of theatre audiences. But how do you make sure that she is still popular and audiences demand her for the lead role in new productions in the long-term future when this current audience is visiting with less frequency?
Easy . . . form a connection with the next generation of theatre goers. And did you know that there is already a medium through which actors, musicians and triple threats can do this? It’s called Sesame Street.
In the recent years, more and more actors, singers and performers are appearing on Sesame Street in order to connect with the next generation. And this is certainly an effective tool to lever these children into your fan base.
Look at Sutton Foster’s performance above. The music she is singing is quite similar to that which we hear in musicals, it shows her off in an attractive light and the appeal of this musical theatre-style music will hopefully stay with children as they grow up (and become future fans of her work!).
But the one appearance on Sesame Street isn’t going to be enough to get this next generation on board with the amount of stimuli that these kids are exposed to each day. So maybe you should explore getting a television show which appeals to the same demographic when they are slightly older? Oh wait, she has already done that!
Bunheads launched on ABC in America this year as a family show about growing up in a ballet school starring none other than Sutton Foster. Okay, yes it was also cancelled this year, but you can’t control everything! And even though it was cancelled, she has still become noticed by the next generation of theatre goers as a force to be reckoned with.
So look out for Sutton Foster’s next Broadway role. My bets are on something family-oriented because she has picked up a whole new bunch of fans in this demographic and would bring a lot of them into the theatre to see her live as opposed to on TV.
Is anyone working on Shrek 2 the Musical?