The Ultimate Behind-the-Scenes Experience
Biographies are an ever-increasing section of the book market. Mainly because every day new people have reached the age where they can write one, but also because we have this innate curiosity to discover what makes people tick. So what can the theatre do to satisfy this need?
Yes, we could always encourage more successful theatre writers, actors and producers to write them. But there is a better way which is much better suited to the theatrical nature of musicals and plays . . . Give these successful people their own show.
It happened earlier this year when Stephen Sondheim visited Australia during the acclaimed run of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. One afternoon before a performance, tickets were sold to sit in Her Majesty’s Theatre and listen to the renowned musical theatre composer discuss his life, influences and great works while fielding the occasional question from the audience. I can safely say that I had never been in the same room with so many like-minded theatre geeks – it was wonderful!
Well, it is about to happen again, but this time with a different Stephen . . .
Stephen Schwartz. The Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony winner with several successful musicals under his belt including Godspell, Pippin and the mega-hit Wicked is being interviewed as part of Magnormos’ Stephen Schwartz Triptych tomorrow!
Forget Wagner’s The Ring which is driving most of Melbourne’s art world nuts with excitement. I have been a little distracted by what seems like the year of Stephen Schwartz. We have just had a performance of Pippin and Godspell by Magnormos with Children of Eden to come on Monday night. Wicked is slowly making its way back to Australia after it finishes its run in Auckland (which opens tonight). And now Stephen Schwartz is appearing in Melbourne to discuss his life, inspirations and famous works due to a partnership between Magnormos and the Melbourne Recital Centre.
But back to marketing . . .
When you read someone’s biography, how do you feel about them afterwards? You understand them better, you have an insight into their psyche and you develop a relationship with this person because you have spent the last couple of days delving into their private past.
And what is the one thing we like, above all else, in marketing? Relationships.
By providing audience members with the opportunity to listen to Stephen Schwartz speak about himself, they develop a relationship with him because he has shared something of himself with them. In the long-term, this is great because not only do the audiences build a connection with him, but the relationship means they will be more likely to see his other shows and get more out of that theatrical experience due to an insight into his creative process.
Hence, the audience member now enjoys his musicals even more! Who could ask for anything better?