Why Houdini: the musical is going to sell

The theatre can be a rather fickly industry at the best of times. Often there isn’t any formula that you can use to determine whether a show is going to work or whether it is going to miss its audience and close early. But I think Broadway has found a sure bet!


Advertisements on YouTube can often be very painful. Especially that new Beatspill by Dre advert that features provocatively dressed women grinding on Robin Thicke and seductively positioning the rather questionably-looking Beatspill.

But every now and then I come across an advertisement that has me captivated within 5 seconds and convinces me to watch the entire two minutes. Well, yesterday Samsung got me with this advert:

There isn’t anything particularly profound happening in the first 5 seconds of the video, but the allure of a spectacular magic had me hooked. And I imagine this is the same for most of you. Who, out there, doesn’t like to see some spectacular magic?

Well, if magic is your thing, then Broadway will also have you hooked for later in the season when Houdini eventually opens. This factor alone would probably be enough to guarantee a pretty good season as the production will, no doubt, feature a number of rather impressive stunts. Just like Pippin mixed circus and theatre, this production appears to mix magic and theatre.

However, there are two other elements which are important to the success of a show – and certainly don’t hurt when it comes to the marketing. They are the star of the show and the other shows the writer has written.

Houdini has hired international song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman and features a score written by Stephen Schwartz. You might have heard of him before for some of his rather modest previous accomplishments like Wicked and Pippin.

Alike the magical factor, both of these elements could give the show a fairly comfortable run by themselves. But what will happen when all three come together? Only time will tell – but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a Best Musical Tony Award in the future.

I know this sounds like a long advertisement for Houdini, but believe me I actually have a point for today’s article. And it relates to an article I wrote on Monday about giving audiences what they want.

Audiences love magic? Use magic. Audiences love Wicked? Hire the same composer. Audiences cannot get enough of and will faun over Hugh Jackman? Then make sure you hire the man! By actually putting yourself in the audiences’ shoes and asking the question – Why should I go to that show? – you can create a show where they have a hundred reasons to go and cannot possibly think of a reason why they shouldn’t shell out $120 for the ticket!

Sounds pretty good to me.

Let me know in the comments below if you will/would be buying a ticket for this show or even if that Samsung advert had hooked you after 5 seconds.