They may not like to come to the theater, but we sure do like to write about ’em.

Ahhhh, irony, thy name is young people.

At 9 out of 10 ad meetings I attend, the topic of getting more young people to the theater always comes up.  And despite many concentrated and intelligent efforts, we’re never as successful as we want to be in encouraging teens and twenty-somethings to put down their Angry Birds and get their butts in our buildings.

But what’s interesting to me is that even though we can’t get them to come in the quantities that we’d like, (both for the box office of today and the box office of tomorrow) we sure do like to make musicals where young folks are the focus of the story.

Think about it . . . or on second thought . . . don’t think about it . . . read about it.  Just look at this list of the last bunch of Tony Award winners for Best Musical:

Once
The Book of Mormon
Memphis
Billy Elliot
In the Heights
Spring Awakening
Avenue Q
Hairspray
Thoroughly Modern Millie

Young characters are at the core of each of those stories.

But don’t stop there . . .

What about A Chorus Line, Rent, and Les Misérables?

See what I’m talking about?  What is with our fascination with this age group?  Or what is it about this age group that makes for a fascinating (and successful, by the by) musical?

Is it the optimism of the beginning of adulthood?  Is it that the average theatergoer, who is 44, is probably longing be to 24 again?  Or is it just a fluke?

Well, news flash: it’s definitely not a fluke.  There’s some kind of trend here.  And I’ll be using it as one of my many filters in choosing material going forward.

 

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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.

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