How to ensure Broadway’s future audiences and actors.
My high school didn’t have a football team. And when I tell people that, they’re shocked. “How could you not have a football team?” Well, we just didn’t. And because I didn’t know any different, it didn’t bother me.
Now, would you be surprised to hear that I didn’t watch this year’s Super Bowl? Truth is, I didn’t even know who was playing.
Not on your pigskin.
The other day I was chatting with someone on a plane, and we started talking about theater and how I got started and the subject of high school musicals came up. I asked my new found friend what his high school did for their musical his senior year. “Oh, we didn’t do one.”
It didn’t make sense to me. Surely every high school has a musical, right? RIGHT?
Not on your tap shoes.
Just look at this quote I found on a message board while researching this blog:
I go to a small Catholic high school and I REALLY want to do a musical this year(it being my senior year). We only have 200 people in the entire school and not a lot of people are into musicals.
I don’t have a stat for you on exactly how many high schools in the country produce a musical every year, but as surprising as it may be to hear (because I’m sure all of you did have one), not every one does.
And they should.
Because just like I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, my airline buddy didn’t even know what a Tony Award was, never mind tune in.
Participation is key to building tomorrow’s audience. And without opportunities to participate, well, our audience does exactly what it has done for the last decade or so . . . remain flat.
What to do?
Well, you know all those Bad News Bearsy type-movies where a down-and-out coach goes into a school and starts a baseball team or a football team where there was none before? Well, the same thing needs to happen (in real life) for high school musicals. Enterprising musical lovers (yes, that means you) need to take it upon themselves to make sure their local schools are producing shows every year. And hey, if there’s a charity that does this already, or if someone wants to start one, I’ll be your first donor.
Everyone doesn’t have to be involved with a high school musical. But everyone should have the option to.
Because those that do, are much more likely to end up being those that buy tickets, invest, donate, or better, create.
And that’s, what I think they call, a touchdown.
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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.