Getting Bang for Your Tuck

Justin Bieber’s refusal to take photographs with fans has snowballed. Now theatre stars are hitting out at people who expect them to appear at the stage door after a show. But it’s not all bad news for the customer experience, innovative Broadway performer Andrew Keenan-Bolger and some friends from Tuck Everlasting are moving in quite the opposite direction!

Tuck Boys

Over the last few weeks, there have been plenty of theatre news headlines about prominent performers stressing that it isn’t an entitlement of purchasing a ticket that you will also see a performer at the stage door. It is merely an added bonus. They aren’t wrong, but they are missing the point. A point which is very well illustrated by innovative actor Andrew Keenan-Bolger!

The stage door is for the hard-core fans. The ones who are invested enough to recognise the actors under the costumes, make up and on-stage performances. And most of the time, they simply want the opportunity to get the performer’s signature and tell them how amazing their performance was – and that gives them extra valuable bang for their buck as well!.

But the people who queue up outside the actors’ exit, are more than just hard-core fans. They are your influencers. They’re the people who return to their schools, workplaces, friends and family and tell them how amazing this theatrical experience was and how desperately they all must purchase tickets to see it. And the more motivation they have to talk about their experience, the better long-term prospects for your show. That’s why you want to give them a fantastic stage door experience (because nothing keeps someone spreading the word like the ability to do a bit of bragging about the famous people they met).

Enter Andrew Keenan-Bolger. Currently starring in Tuck Everlasting, this Disney veteran was last seen as one of the lead characters in the surprise hit Newsies. To recognise their dedicated fans who would line the outside of the theatre every night to see their favourite newsboys, the cast created collecting cards featuring each of the Newsies and a bit of information about the performers who played them. Not only did this keep fans coming back to the stage door, it also kept them coming back to see the show beforehand and began to create emotional connections with the audience members. But the benefits didn’t stop there. It also meant that these hard-core, word-spreading fans went home with a souvenir to help illustrate their story.

Not one to let a brand-building opportunity pass, Andrew Keenan-Bolger has started up a similar strategy in his current show Tuck Everlasting.

Are you #TeamJesse, #TeamHugo or #TeamMiles? The three lead boys of Tuck Everlasting have created their own collecting cards, all you have to do is tell them whose team you’re on and you’ll get a special gift.

The stage door shouldn’t seem like an obligation, but not appearing shouldn’t be taken lightly either. These are the people who will propel actors into stardom by spreading word-of-mouth about how fantastic they were to each of their wider communities. And once a name gets enough buzz, that’s when it starts to appear on marquees by itself.

(This isn’t actually the only thing that these resourceful actors are doing . . . but more on that next time!)