I Went To Church At An Airport.

When I travel, I like to take the first flight out in the morning.  Less chance of being delayed, and I usually sleep better than I did when I saw  In My Life.

Recently my first flight out had me at Chicago’s Midway airport too early for me to head to my hotel.  So, I bought a WiFi connection, got a bagel, and set up an office.  Then, I heard an announcement:

“Catholic mass will be celebrated in the chapel at 8:30.  All are welcome.  The service will last 30 minutes.”

30 minutes!  As someone who was raised Catholic (hence Altar Boyz), I’ve lived through homilies that were 30 minutes alone!  And here’s a chance to relieve some Catholic guilt and say that I’ve been to mass, with only a 30 minute investment?  Done and done.

There is no question that the modern audience, for church or for entertainment, loves a short show.  Don’t your ears perk up when you hear that a show you are about to see is a short one?  Don’t you cringe when you hear that August: Osage County is 3.5 hours long, despite the great reviews and word of mouth?

Why is a quote like “90 minutes of Heavenly Hilarity” better than one without the time reference?  (tip:  if you ever get a quote that says your show is 90 minutes, use it like a toothbrush – 3 times a day).  Is it because attending the theater is a chore?  Just like church?  Is it because the theater isn’t a comfortable experience so we don’t want to be trapped?

Is it because everything in our world is shorter and faster (we’ve gone from letters to faxes to emails to text messages), and that this advancement and fast-paced lifestyle is bleeding over into entertainment?  (First sitcoms then 2 minute YouTube videos and next, micro-clips on our mobile phones?)

Or (and I worry about this one), is it because audiences aren’t enjoying a majority of the theater they see, so they want to know that if they don’t like it, at least they will be back on their couch in time to watch Will and Grace in syndication on the CW?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know that when I try to get people to see my shows, it’s a lot easier after I tell them they are ALL less than 90 minutes.

From a totally commercial perspective, it’s something to think about when creating your shows.  It’s easier to sell short.

I mean, don’t you all enjoy my blogs more when they are shorter???

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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.

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