Foul ball!

When I was a kid and used to go to Red Sox games . . . (I know, I just lost all my NY readers, to whom I say . . . bite me!  How many more World Series rings do you want?) . . .  ok, back on track, when I was a kid and used to go to Red Sox games, one of my hopes and dreams was to catch a foul ball.  We used to bring baseball gloves to the game just in case!

Oh, the elusive foul ball!  Would my seats be close enough to get one?  Or forget a foul, what if I actually caught a home run!

All of these memories came a flyin’ back the other night when I watched the Sox get clobbered by the Yankees . . . and I watched the crowd go nuts when a couple of balls went into the cheap seats.  (And the folks that walked away with those round pieces of leather probably have them displayed on a mantle somewhere and are telling all their friends about their big catch.)

What is it about the foul?  It’s rare.  It’s a piece of the big time.  And there’s a bit of a game in getting one (you ever catch a ball coming at your face that fast?).

Hopefully, you don’t have flying tap shoes or runaway top hats in your shows, but I did wonder if there was a way for some shows/theaters to give their audience a similar feeling about a literal “takeaway.”

Sure, we have Playbills . . . but everyone gets those, like matchbooks at restaurants.  Is there something more rare, which would make some audience member feel more special?

At Godspell, we had “Bless The Lord” beads which were tossed into the audience each night.  We also stocked our guitarist with Godspell branded guitar picks to hand out to the folks nearby.

It could be a prop or two handed out at the stage door, or a mystery item handed out at merch, or the conductor’s baton handed to the person in the front row at the end of the curtain call (ooh, that sounds fun, celebratory, and not-intrusive on the actual production).

This concept can be applied a hundred different ways, in whatever suits your specific show or theater . . . but it’s guaranteed to make a few audience members feel special.  And when people feel special, they like to tell people they’re special.

Which means your foul ball just hit a word of mouth home run.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.