One Secret to Finding New Audiences, or What I Learned from Mohegan Sun.
Casinos have a lot on the ‘line’, which is why there is a lot to learn from everything they do.
I stumbled upon a simple little trick that I’ve started using for my shows already, and it has been so successful, I had to share it with you.
It’s simple . . . if you want to get a new audience to the theater, you may have to get that new audience to the theater.
The Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut needs people to come to its casino constantly. And they do. But to really fill their craps tables they know they need a bigger market than the natural adopters . . . they need people who may have always thought about going to a casino, but would never make the effort on their own.
So they have buses . . . for free . . . or with cash back incentives that are scheduled to pick people up from places like NYC and take them to the Indian lands of Connecticut for a little blackjack and maybe a little Jimmy Buffett.
I started thinking about all the people in my hometown and nearby that would love to see a Broadway show (especially if they knew me), but the thought of planning it, figuring it out, and getting over the fear of coming to the city, was just too much on their own. New York and Broadway seem far away, even when you’re just a few hours by car.
So . . . knowing that these folks would never come to a show without a little catalyst, we decided to make it easy for them.
We created BroadwayRoadTrip.com, and on Saturday, February 4th, a bus full of people will depart Sturbridge, MA, come to see the Godspell matinee, get a talkback from me, and then return home that night.
The local papers have done stories on it (the hometown boy connection always helps), and this pretty small town is a buzzin’ about Broadway.
You know what I love about this simple casino-concept? This bus will sell out . . . and on board will be 56 people who never would have seen Godspell had we not set it up for them.
And you know what else? We will take a survey, but I bet over 90% of them will have never been to a Broadway show before.
My hope and my dream is that they enjoy their day with us so much, that when we ask them if they want to come see another show in a month or two that they don’t have a personal connection to (translation: that I’m not producing), they’ll fill up another bus again, and bingo, bongo, we’ve got brand new multi-musical buyers.
By the way, there are a few more spots left on this bus, so if you’re from Massachusetts and want to come to NYC for the day, see the show, and meet my Mom (who will be on board), click here.
Has this been successful so far?
Ahhh, yeah. So much so that we’re doing another BroadwayRoadTrip from Washington DC on February 25th.
What’s so special about the DC area? That’s where cast member, Nick Blaemire is from (Hometown boy angle again). And if you know Nick, or have even seen the show, I’d bet money that the Nick Express Bus from DC is going to be one heck of a party. Click here to get tickets for that trip.
We have to remember in this business that if we want new audiences, sometimes we gotta make it real easy for them to get here.
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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.