Why we should have a World Championships of Theater.

Ok, are you ready for this one?

I may have eaten a few too many hot dogs at the Red Sox/Yankee game tonight, because listen to what I’m spitting up:

If the Olympics and Oedipus were born in the same ancient land and only a few hundred years apart, why don’t we have a Theatrical Olympics?  Or a World Championship of Theater?

Imagine it . . . put together a governing body of judges from around the globe.  Committees in each country would put forth their best entries in each of the usual categories (i.e. Best Musical, Best Play, etc.).   Those Judges would travel to see each show and pit East vs. West, North vs. South, Hairspray versus Chinese Opera!

It would be the Miss Universe of the theater!

Ok, maybe it is the hot dogs talking.  (But www.WorldTheaterAwards.com is available, FYI)

But the point is that awards and competition are important for marketing and for audience development, no matter who the organization is.

Having awards, makes people want to win them.

Having winners, makes people want to see them.

(In an early Altar Boyz quantitative focus group, we determined that the most compelling fact that made people interested in seeing the show was that we had won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical.  I’d bet the actual award that 95% of the people surveyed didn’t even know who the Outer Critics were.)

Does your city have community theater awards?  What about high school excellence awards?  Any state-wide professional theaters going against each other for bragging rights and a trophy?

None of the above?  Well, start one.

Maybe we don’t need a world champion of theater (although I think we need it more than we need a badminton champion, but that’s besides the point).

But we can all always benefit from a little competition, right?  Cuz even if you don’t win, you can always tell your audience what an honor it was to be nominated.

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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.