Friday, July 27, 2007

Are You Cheering Yet?

Opinion Polls & Market Research

Are You Cheering Yet?

Earlier this month, one of my welcome guests challenged a comment I made with respect to my posting on entrance applause. I said, "I would also venture that a large number of audience members have decided to visit Broadway because an actor or actress they've greatly admired is performing. For many, it may very well be their first foray into the theatre, and thus it does not surprise me that they would applaud the star of the show."

I took his comments to heart and posed the first of a two-part poll, asking you, my dear readers, to vote for what compels you to experience live theatre. The results are in, and as I suspected, the opportunity to see a favorite actor or actress ranked first with 78.6% of you.

That was followed by plot (64.3%), music and buzz (tied at 57.1%), reviews (48.4%) and awards (39.3%).

While price and availability of tickets received some votes, they certainly weren't the major motivators.

So, now that we have established that cast members constitute the major reason why individuals -- at least for Steve On Broadway readers -- go see a particular show, it's time to move on. To part two.

Now, I invite you to vote in the second in my series of polls, this time asking you about entrance applause. Do you naturally applaud when your favorite actor takes to the stage or do you sit on your hands? Or does it all depend on the actor or whether the rest of the audience is erupting in spontaneous adulation?

After voting, please share your comments regarding your personal hands-clapping modus operandi.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
What Motivates You To See A Broadway Show? (July 5, 2007)
From Now On, I'll Just Sit On My Hands (July 1, 2007)

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At 27 July, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

Well, I have to admit, I'm much too self conscious to ever start the applause, but I'm more than willing to join in! This isn't usually a problem, because anyone I'd want to applaud, other people in the audience would want to applaud, too.

I don't know, I think once one person starts, it's almost like a chain reaction. You're applauding even if you hadn't planned on it! I think it's kind of an emotional release for the audience, an acknowledgement of a performer you admire and enjoy.

And actors who get big entrance applause are clearly aware of it and make allowances for it in their first scene. It doesn't exactly come as a surprise to them!

I have to admit, though, sometimes it can be overdone, like applauding after every song. But I guess that's just a natural human reaction.

When I saw Gypsy, Patti LuPone got a thunderous standing ovation after "Rose's Turn." Not only was it an incredible performance, it was an incredible reaction from the audience. I'd never been part of a standing ovation after a song! That's part of what made the experience so unique and memorable, because it wasn't an ordinary occurence.

At 28 July, 2007, Blogger SarahB said...

Yes, of course, I applaud if its an appropriate time. Sometimes its not possible to applaud because of what's going on in the script. Clapping is a natural human response and I think makes me feel connected to what's going on with the audience and on stage.

At 30 July, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther and Sarah, Thank you both for your responses. To Sarah's point, there may not be an opportunity built into the script, which certainly can make it awkward.

While I'll write more about it soon, I just returned from Atlanta where I saw Dreamgirls with Jennifer Holliday. The audience could hardly contain itself to the point of being a distraction from Holliday's exquisite performance.


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