The Tony Awards Countdown #1: The Red Carpet
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but really it is just good sense. If a competitor’s product or service has something that is worth imitating then you should probably be doing it as well. Especially when it comes to short-term entertainment like the Tony Awards!
The awards ceremony is always important. But recently, something has been stealing a bit of the attention away from the emotional speeches and exciting performances at awards shows all around the globe . . . the red carpet.
The red carpet has really developed quite a following at every awards show. Focussing on fashion and providing an opportunity to hear more intimate conversations with stars as they nervously await their verdict, the red carpet is (arguably) more interesting than the actual show to a number of viewers. And after years focussing on the main stage, the Tony Awards are now shifting their broadcast to include a red carpet show.
With the rising number of celebrity performers and guests this is a great opportunity to engage huge fan bases of people who wouldn’t usually watch the ceremony. But it also provides a more important service for the future of theatre.
Theatre fans complain all the time about Hollywood imports coming onto the stage and taking the roles away from purely theatrical stars. But the reality is that in order for a show to work it needs to attract an audience and pulling a big star’s fan base is a sure-fire way to make this happen. Although there is an alternative . . . creating big fan bases for these theatrical stars. These can be developed through landing impressive television or movie roles as achieved by Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Sutton Foster and Patina Miller. But they will also begin to develop through association.
Let’s say that you are a fan of Bradley Cooper who is nominated for his performance as John Merrick in The Elephant Man. So you tune into the Red Carpet to see him interviewed before the show. While you are waiting for this interview, you happen to develop quite a liking for some of the other actors and actresses who you see interviewed. Maybe you do some Googling or YouTubing on them? Maybe you recognise them in a commercial? Maybe you tune into a new television show because you saw them in the preview ads?
Overtime these theatre actors will take on other projects and this previous exposure on the red carpet will go a long way towards slowly building their fan base before they return to Broadway with enough of a pull to land lead roles in revivals and new musicals!
And if there is one actress who is going to get the most out of this pre-show, it is Laura Osnes.
There is a common technique in promoting the theatre which involves pairing a theatre star with a mainstream star (they did it in SMASH as well if you watch closely). People who are fans of this mainstream star will be watching them in these pieces of entertainment and slowly fall in love with their theatre star partner slowly developing their fan base.
This year, the hosts for the pre-show are Darren Criss who has an enormous following from Glee alongside Broadway darling Laura Osnes who has starred in recent hits Anything Goes, Grease and Cinderella. Darren Criss fans will tune in to watch him interviewing stars on the red carpet and, through exposure to Laura Osnes, hopefully develop an affinity with her as well. Look out television – I think we have your next musical star.