On designing the post-performance talk show Part II

(Read Part One.) The post-performance talk show is an extremely powerful tool that can be wielded for a fairly low cost. The venue is booked and the cast and crew are already there. More importantly, the rapt attention of the audience has already been caught. The hard work is finished.

My piece of insight that day was that the uniqueness of the initiative is not so much that the stars answer questions but that this all happens Right After The Show. Right after the curtain call, which in the case of Jekyll and Hyde is preceded by the violent death of the protagonist.

The roundtable should have worked off of that, and solely been focused on enriching the 2.5hr experience that we just had. It’s a couple hundred people that just had the shared experience of being in the same space at the same time for a powerhouse show. Let us revel in that!

We’ve established (very business-like!) that the KPI of the post-performance talk show is to sell more tickets to the audience in the theater. Then, what experience would have made someone giddily turn to their companion as they walked down the theater stairs and say, “Hey, we should come back next week!” Or hop online after getting home to scour the web for something, and spontaneously bought another ticket for themselves?

It ain’t bloopers, that’s for sure.

What to optimize for

  • Deepen my appreciation for the production
  • Learn more about the actors and their take on the craft
  • Learn more about the story and its characters, from the actors POV
  • Give me something to get excited about with the people that I’m sharing the experience with
  • Give me something that I’m excited to share with fellow musical fans

Let’s be honest. It’s not often that you’re fortunate to encounter an actor that you love so much that you’ll go see the same show multiple times. Tickets for musicals are pricey. You can basically see 4-5 movies for the same price.

If I come back, it will most likely be due to a renewed appreciation for an aspect of the show, a different interpretation of a scene, a deepened interest in the development of a character, or because I want to share that experience with someone else. What better time to light up that discovery than right after the show, when the audience’s hands are still stinging from clapping away their love during the curtain call?

Don’t remind them that the cast and crew have done this dozens of times and that they’ll get up tomorrow to do it again. Seriously, the audience doesn’t want to know that today was simply yet another show for the actors and that tomorrow’s will be ‘better’.

If this were a website…

The entire approach needs an overhaul but I think there are some lighter tips that would be no-brainers in the web industry that are applicable.

  • A/B & multivariate testing: change a few elements and see how they influence sales figures
  • Use multimedia: give the actors some material to work with
  • Offer related content: show smartly edited clips of past shows in the lobby, close to but not right next to the ticket counter
  • Have the audience participate: some people in the audience have seen this musical more than 5 times – they would be super interesting and would probably love the attention

Oh, by the way, it’s a fabulous show. You should go see it 😉