Kenny got in trouble! Kenny got in trouble!


By a 20 year old volunteer usher named Tibor (ok, his name really wasn’t Tibor – he just reminded me of a Tibor I knew once).

My offense?

I was trying to take a picture . . . for all of you.

Here’s how the felonious photo went down.  I went to see Hair in the park last night (a perfect setting for an imperfect musical), and grabbed my iPhone to snap a photo of what I thought was a post-curtain call party.

See, Director Diane Paulus, served up a sweet Donkey-show style dessert for us, filling the stage with audience members and turning the Delacorte into a dance club – 60s style.

It was something to see

And it was certainly something to take a photo of.

I know the rules.  But certainly they couldn’t apply to this, right?  This was a beautiful free-for-all.  If the insurance agents let it happen, surely the unions would allow a photo or two.

Wrong.  As I snapped, I heard Tibor’s bellowing war cry of “NO PHOTOS!” and then he demanded to watch me delete the photo!  Wow.  Tough love, huh?

So I don’t have a photo for you today.  Because Tibor stole it from us.

Yes he was doing his job.  But he also did the show a disservice.

Why do we take photos?  We do it because we think whatever is happening is worth sharing with other people.

The act of taking a photo is literally loading a word of mouth weapon.  And your audience is your army.  The more ammo they have the better.

I’m not giving people carte blanche to take photos during the 4th scene of the 2nd Act of Phantom.  Taking photos is not appropriate in many situations – for the safety of the perfomers and to prevent distractions for the rest of the audience.

But as a Producer I look for every opportunity to get photos on my audience member’s cameras so they can fire them all over MySpace, Flikr, Facebook and yes, their blogs.

What can you do to make sure your audience members are taking home “legal” digital memories of their experience?  Have a “cut-out” in the lobby they can take a picture with?  Have your cast come out and sign autographs in costume right after the show comes down?  Or ask the union for a special waiver for the post-curtain call party that occurs on stage with 150 non cast-members?

Or just tell Tibor to take a pill.  Because what he didn’t realize was that as he waited for me to delete my one photo, the woman in front of me was capturing some video on her cell phone.

There are times to follow the rules.  And then there are times when there are so many rule breakers, that you’ve got to realize that maybe your rules are too restrictive.

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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.