I’ll Seat You Last: Tony-Snubbed Shows Take Back Free Tickets

I’ll Seat You Last: Tony-Snubbed Shows Take Back Free Tickets – NYTimes.com.

On Tuesday the Tony Award big shots had their say, spreading around nominations to 26 Broadway plays and musicals – and shutting out several others. Now some of the scorned are striking back: The producers of Bette Midler’s hit play “I’ll Eat You Last” and Alan Cumming’s mostly-one-man version of “Macbeth” are pulling back free tickets for many of the 868 Tony voters, and instead offering to sell them at standard prices of about $135 each.

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The marquee at the Barrymore Theatre for Alan Cumming’s Macbeth, which was snubbed by the Tony Awards committee. It’s one of the shows that is taking back their comps for Tony voters. (Personal Image)

from Patrick Healy’s Arts Beat blog at nytimes.com.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been kicking around this business for a lot of years and the validity of awards of any kind are always a source for a heated conversation in the green room or the front office.

Usually the argument falls into two camps. In Camp A, we have the artists, whose motto is, “It doesn’t matter what people say, it only matters that there is art. I do not do this for awards. In Camp B, we have the producing team, whose motto is, “I need to sell tickets and an award nomination helps me do that.”

*sigh*

Here’s the thing: both camps put out a very valid argument. I tend to fall right in the middle. You ABSOLUTELY CAN market a play to success without award nominations, without awards and without breaking the bank on advertising, BUT you have to engage your prospective audience with interesting information in order to do it.

The Broadway model of marketing and the standard regional theatre model of marketing is outdated and should not be emulated. What you need to market your play is (A) a great script, (B) a great artistic team, and (C) savvy marketers. It also takes more time and energy my way.

Back to Healy: not sure why this is news. If I was a producer — and I have been — if I got snubbed for awards there’s NO REASON ON EARTH to comp out voters for awards that I have no chance of receiving. Screw ’em. You want to see my show? Find someone with comps or pony up at the box office like everyone else.

See ya at TKTS.

(By the way, I’m about to post a piece by Seth Godin along these same lines. It’s a must read!)

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