Convention can be great, but it can also encourage stagnation – especially when it comes to building audiences. In order to build audiences for the future, something needs to be done to develop offerings that will appeal to a new generation. And this is exactly what the new Broadway musical Rocky is doing!
In order for any art form to remain relevant, it needs to move with the times. And this is exactly what the theatre is going through at the moment. Facing an audience which is growing older and more female dominated, something needs to be done to shake up the pack.
Book of Mormon did this a couple of years ago when they produced a show which appealed to audiences usually populating a sports stadium. Now Rocky is doing the same thing!
The music is heavily based in rock – with a couple of sweet ballads – and even features the classics from the movie such as everybody’s inspirational tune Eye of the Tiger. The subject matter is pure sport. And the experience is like being in a stadium!
It uses modern technology to the max with live news broadcasts from the aisles which are broadcast on huge LCDs swung down from above the stage. And to finish off the show, the theatre audience literally turns into a group of sports-crazed fans as the final boxing match is played on a ring wheeled out over the front section of the audience. You can stand up. You can cheer loudly. If you pay enough you even get to go on stage.
All theatre etiquette rules go out the window! And that is a good thing.
It is an offering that has of the aim of appealing to the people who wouldn’t usually consider going to the theatre! And that is a great thing.
This is the direction of theatre if it wants to grow into the future. Big budget. Big production value. Big relatable stories. And open to new audiences!