It’s Batting Practice on Broadway.
Growing up as a kid in suburban Massachusetts in the 80s, I took at least two trips a season to the famed Fenway Park to catch BoSox games. (Huh. I wonder if anyone has ever studied my Massachusetts generation for signs of permanent depression after being exposed to so much loss at such a young age).
I loved going to the games. Not only was I a fan of the sport and the team, despite their stubborn determination to let me down, but I played baseball as well from the age of 8 on up to 18.
As I think back on those trips into Beantown, the part of the games that I remember the most aren’t the actual games themselves.
Let me ‘splain.
We always went to the games early. Not to get our seat. Not to make sure we got a fresh hotdog. But to watch batting practice.
There were the players that we idolized and came to see that day. . . stretching, joking, taking some practice swings, and fielding some grounders. And the famed historic Fenway field was being prepped right before our eyes as well. Watching all this made us feel like insiders.
If you’ve ever worked on a show, you know that there’s a lot going on before those house doors open letting the audience in. There’s a sound check. Moving parts of the set are checked out for safety. Lighting rigs are brought in and repaired. And a few actors are usually on the stage, stretching, joking, taking some practice steps, and fielding some lines.
I was chatting with a Broadway Marketing Pro who wondered with me why we didn’t let certain members of our audience in early to observe this process? Students? Premium Ticket Holders? Contest Winners? Full Price Groups?
Yes, we’d be letting some members of our audience get a peek behind the curtain to see how our magic is made, but we’d be providing our most passionate customers with an “insider” experience that not everyone can have, giving them extra value, and more word-of-mouth talking points to take home with them. And It would probably push them to get more involved with the theater on Broadway or back in their local community.
I know when I got home from those games I would pick up my glove and ball first thing and couldn’t wait to play catch.
And that was usually after the Sox got hammered.
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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.