I went to see a show that has been running 18 years. Any idea what it was?
For this year’s Davenport Theatrical holiday party, we went someplace I’ve always been curious about . . . because it’s one of the longest running shows in the tri-state area.
We went back-in-time to Medieval Times, the jousting and turkey-leg eating extravaganza in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
Whatever you think about this semi-cheese-fest, one thing is for certain, it’s a successful live entertainment experience, with 9 companies in the US that date back to 1983.
So what can we learn from this castle in New Jersey? Here’s a list of why I think it continues to be successful:
- It’s not something you see everyday (horses, knights, etc.).
- You know right away who to root for (we all need a hero).
- There’s a competition (games are good)
- The audience is involved (waving flags, catching roses, chanting, etc.).
- It has added value (dinner was included – and holy shield, was it good!)
- You can buy everything (who knew the middle ages had so much merch)
- The Producers own everything (from the building to the bar)
Should every Broadway show have all of these elements? No way (although Phantom seems to have a lot in common with MT, doesn’t it?). But there is something to learn from common characteristics in all forms of successful live (or taped) entertainment, from concerts to operas to rodeos.
Find what pushes an audience’s buttons, and apply them to your project in the appropriate manner (that means no flag waving at a Pinter play).
Oh, the other reason MT is successful? Chicks dig knights. (That sound you just heard was my web designer, Jamie Lynn, screaming at me for posting this photo of her and the Blue Knight. Sorry, JLB, that’s what you get for putting it up on Facebook.)
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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.