Thursday, July 05, 2007

What Motivates You To See A Broadway Show?

Opinion Polls & Market Research

What Motivates You To See A Broadway Show?

Last week, 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."

Am I right or am I wrong? Or perhaps it's just one of many factors. You tell me!

Share your thoughts here, and don't forget to vote in my latest SOB Poll in which I ask you to tell me what motivates you to see a Broadway show.

Also, thanks to everyone who voted in my last poll in which I asked you if you'll see Young Frankenstein in spite of the fact that the top seats are priced at $450. To date, even though a sizeable minority (43.2%) were evidentally appalled enough to say "Absolutely not!" a majority of you (56.8%) said you would see it, with most of you indicating you'd opt for the cheapest seats.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
From Now On, I'll Just Sit On My Hands (July 1, 2007)
That's Franken$$$$$TEIN! (June 29, 2007)

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At 06 July, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Steve, you're absolutely right in my case. I did make my first foray to Broadway to see an actor I admired - Kevin Spacey. Like the saying goes, I would have gone to see him read the phonebook! If it hadn't been for Kevin, I never would have gone at all. In fact, initially, I never even thought about seeing anything else other than A Moon for the Misbegotten.

But, you know, you can't go to Broadway and not see a musical! I began to look more closely into what other shows were playing. Certainly, it's a thrill to see someone you recognize from tv or the movies. But pretty soon, I wanted to see just about everything, whether or not it had a recognizable name attached!

Interestingly, the show besides Moon that I was most excited about seeing was Frost/Nixon. Even though I knew about its stars, Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, it was really the subject matter more than the actors that intrigued me.

Sure, a name I recognize from movies or tv will probably still pique my curiosity, but I've moved beyond that being the sole reason for seeing a particular show. My reasons are more varied.

Now, I'm just as excited about seeing shows with actors who've made their mark on Broadway but are still largely unknown to the general public. One of the reasons I wanted to see LoveMusik was because I'd read so much about Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy.

And I think I'm just as likely to be interested in a show because of the subject matter or because it's by a playwright or songwriting team I admire or it's gotten great reviews and the "buzz" is building. In some cases, though, it's a show where I don't know anyone who's in it but it just sounds like fun!

When I think about the shows I've picked for my next trip to Broadway, there's still quite a bit of "star appeal." In some cases, like Mary Poppins, I think the show itself is the "star."

But this time, it's not a question of seeing an actor or actress no matter what they're in. It's a matter of seeing an actor or actress in a performance that by most accounts shouldn't be missed. And most of them, I'd never even heard of seven or eight months ago!

At 07 July, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also think that there's a difference between taking a chance with an $8 movie ticket and a $120 theatre ticket. You want a greater degree of certainty that you're going to enjoy the show and you're probably less willing to take a risk on something that's completely unfamiliar. So you look for some connection, an actor or actress you like.

And while I hope I'm becoming more discerning about what to see, I have to admit there are still some people whose name alone would sell me, even before the reviews and critical buzz. I mean if Paul Newman comes out of retirement, I'm there!

At 08 July, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, Like you, many factors motivate me when I see a show. And like you, I try to exercise some discretion when I plunk down my hard earned money. I don't feel too bad if I've blown $10 on a bad movie, but if I've blown $110 on a bad show, well, that gives me pause.

Of course, one of the top motivators for me is still the opportunity to see one of my personal favorite actors perform live right before me. Recent case in point was Deuce with Marian Seldes and Angela Lansbury. I may have paid simply to see each read the phone book.

But like you, plot points also motivate me, including that of Frost/Nixon.

Yet, every now and again, I may chance upon a show I know little about and have absolutely no expectations and then be blown away. Such were the cases when I saw The Last Five Year in Philadelphia and the world premiere of Small Tragedy in Minneapolis. And guess what? There were no actors in either that I had ever heard of!

At 05 June, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello - my son is attending a camp in ny this summer and we thought we'd take in a show or two... having never been - I really need suggestions.. he is 16
thank you!

At 06 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, Are you looking to take the entire family or it is strictly for adults? If it's family fare, I would strongly recommend Wicked. The artistry is brilliant and it's a great inside-out twist of "The Wizard of Oz." The Lion King is also superb.


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