A Life Beyond the Stage
She Loves Me may have been one of the oldest musicals to hit the stage last Broadway season, but you would never guess its age from its actions. It has broken all the traditional rules of theatre. Invited new audiences into its perfumery. And is continuing to buck the trends with the latest announcement of a theatre tour.
Broadway musicals have a rather pre-determined life. They open out-of-town (or further down the island of Manhattan in the off-Broadway scene), get good reviews, find a theatre in the world’s main theatre district, play until audiences stop turning up and then shutter with hopes of a new cast taking the show on the road around America, and sometimes around the world. But Roundabout Theatre Company’s She Loves Me has bucked every traditional step of a Broadway musical.
This revival opened on Broadway without an out-of-town tryout. Played for a strictly limited run as part of the non-profit’s mainstage season. Broadcast the show around America and the world while it was still playing on Broadway to full paying houses. And has now favoured an American tour in movie theatres as opposed to the country’s stages.
Some people would say this show is doing nothing right. But then, it has created an incredible market for itself in a climate where there are only a few select blockbusters on every potential theatregoers list. She Loves Me doesn’t really compare to Hamilton or The Book of Mormon in the sense that it is suited to a dramatically different audience, yet neither of these mainstage shows are readily available to audiences.
The Book of Mormon requires being prepared to book your theatrical experience several months out and Hamilton either requires serious luck in a digital lottery which everyone in Manhattan is entering or the ability to know what you will be doing at this time next year. Accessibility isn’t a strong suit for these shows – and that works in their favour to an extent.
But by increasing its accessibility through both locations around the world and lowering the entry price, She Loves Me has managed to bring a new audience to a classic which really shouldn’t work in today’s novelty-focussed environment.
It may not be the most stunning theatrical extravaganza which played in last year’s season, but She Loves Me has mounted a great case for increasing accessibility and, as a result, increasing your audiences.