There are two kinds of stars.
One that sells tickets and one that doesn’t.
And believe it or not, the one that doesn’t sell tickets isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Have you ever wondered why a show cast a certain celebrity? Have you ever said to yourself, “Why on earth would (insert Producer’s name here) cast someone from an 80s TV series when they have no talent?”
Here’s are the two types of stars in our universe:
- There’s the type of star who sells a ticket regardless of the show, i.e. Madonna in Meet Me In St. Louis, or Jim Carrey in Barnum (my casting dream). Obviously the costs associated with this type of star are high, because guess what? If you know the star is going to sell tickets regardless of the show, then the star’s agent knows it too.
- The second type of star is the one that may not sell tickets right away, but one that gets press, and therefore gets the show editorial content which they may not have otherwise received, i.e. Jason Priestly in Falsettos or a Survivor finalist in The Crucible (my casting nightmare). This type of star is often used in “stunt casting” to help get a show back in the papers. They are also intended to be the straw that breaks the customer’s back when the customer is deciding whether or not to make a purchase. They add value to the show because of their name recognition so the customer can run back to Wichita and say they saw a show with “That guy from that show with the zip code. You know, the old version of the OC.” These stars are much more cost effective, since they are not in as high of a demand, and because they usually are looking to use Broadway as a booster rocket for their career.
When you see celebrities in shows, try and determine whether or not they are Star #1 or Star #2.
And when you’re doing a show, try to not use one at all.
On my morning commute, I scoot past a giant hole…
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.