Turn the lights down low. Turn up the Barry White.

And insert bow chika bow bow music here.

Before any sort of main event, it’s important to set the mood.  And that goes for the theater as well.

When doing a show, it’s important that you don’t go-for-gusto until you’ve warmed up your audience for what they’re about to experience.  You want them to be ready.  You want them to be excited.

You want them to call you the next morning for another date.

Rock bands have opening acts.  Live talk shows have warm-up comedians.  Movies have previews.

What do you have?

Is there music playing while the audience is seated?  What kind?

Are your ushers dressed formally?  Are they in costume?

Is there a character on stage?  Off stage?  Both?  (Brian Bradley worked up the crowd into a frenzy during the 30 minutes prior to the Alma Mater in the last revival of Grease that I PAed.)

Is the curtain open? Drawn?  What type of curtain is it?  (One of the smallest but most significant changes I’ve seen to a “pre-show” was on the last Gypsy revival, which I CMed.  For the first few previews, the audience entered the theater and stared at a blank, dark and depressing stage . . . for 30 minutes.  We wondered why they weren’t so responsive during the first scene?  We brought in the beautiful “grand drape” for later previews and the audience’s somberness disappeared.)

What you do in the 30 or so minutes from when your doors open to when
your show begins is crucial.  You’re setting the tone for the entire

So make sure you consider it.

Because you’ll never get the reaction you want from your audience, without proper “beforeplay”.

– – – – –

Props to one of our My First Time models, who is one of the Bow Chika girls in the video above.  Can you tell which one?

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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.