In the past few weeks I have been salivating over one thing – no, not Nana Queen’s banana pudding (which actually sounds really good right now) – it’s been Broadway. Every year, I try to go to a few musicals or plays just to keep myself up on alternative culture. My mother and I would always go to the local theatre company in Dayton for Sunday matinees to see the ballet, an original work from the independent company, or the national tour of some big mega show. Fifteen years ago, going to the theater wasn’t as “cool” as it is now. Since then, Broadway has done a lot of work to get their shows seen by the masses.
I remember my mother calling me from a New York trip telling me about this amazing show called Wicked starring Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. She went on and on about the costumes, the story, the music and how it was all around fantastic. She was blown away. As more and more people began to see the musical, all they could talk about was the magic of its defining moment, “Defying Gravity.” Soon, more new musicals began to pique the interest of the public. Jersey Boys, The Lion King, In the Heights, Avenue Q, and Rock of Ages became so well received by audiences, it encouraged a surge in ticket sales on The Great White Way.
The Pantages, LA’s own Broadway theatre, introduces a new Broadway blockbuster each month. Tickets are astronomically priced, but they sell like hot cakes. Any pr agency would jump at the chance to represent a theatre with a huge revenue stream like The Pantages. Los Angeles isn’t usually seen as a mecca for Broadway plays, but this Los Angeles public relations agency loves musicals. Even Hollywood is trying to get in on the act. With casting has already started on Rock of Ages, a play featuring the rock anthems of the 80s, talks to turn Wicked into a feature film.
Going to a Broadway show isn’t like going to the movies. The tickets are more expensive and it is important to dress for the occasion. It is a cultured experience and with more shows playing like films on stage, it opens the theatre to a whole new audience that may have never been interested in going to see a musical.
Come June, I am going to be parked in front of the TV watching the Tony Awards, if not for the nostalgia it brings from my childhood, but for the newly revitalized magic of Broadway.
If you haven’t seen the stage version of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, check it out here. It will blow you away! The video doesn’t even do the performance justice.