Thursday, May 13, 2010

YouTube on Broadway: The Tony Nominees, Part II

Earlier, I made some comments about the advertising for two of the Tony Award nominated new musicals, American Idiot  and Fela!

Today, I'll take a look at the ads for the other two Best Musical nominees, Memphis and Million Dollar Quartet.  It is pretty obivious which show as a whole I liked best (see "Reviews" above, and scroll), though after some of my more recent theatre experiences, MDQ is looking better and better.


Well, I think, having seen the show, that it captures all of the key points: early radio (the opening shot of the old microphone and radio dial), the era (as shown by the costumes), the romance (lots of kissy face in that cool silhouette) and the dancing especially (see why I'm so ticked at the egregiously overlooked Sergio Trujillo!!??  It is also super smart to end with Chad Kimball belting out that fabulous closing note of ?Memphis Lives in Me", because even if you don't know what he's singing, that belt is American Idol qualty.  And as a rabid, eager musical theatre lover/goer, that would be enough to get my butt moving to the Shubert Theatre box office. 

But, if I knew nothing about the show, I'm not sure I still would after seeing that ad.  It crams a lot of information into its 30 seconds - maybe too much.  I know it costs a mint to make a commercial, and that Memphis is still here all these months later says a lot about its advertising.  But I wonder of maybe they would have been better served with two commercials?  One could focus on the music and dancing, the other on the forbidden romance.

Grade: B+

Million Dollar Quartet

(NOTE: I am talking about the version of the commercial that includes critcal quotes.)

I think this commercial should sell a zillion tickets to Million Dollar Quartet, if for nothing else than it show and tells you exactly what you are going to get: Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl, and Johnny at a famous event in rock 'n roll history. It also (wordlessly) captures the drama of the situation: from the booze, to the girl (who is that sexy girl?) to the contract tearing, to the "concert." The original commercial shows all of that and stops there.

This version, another wise step by the powers that be, ads critical quotes, just to add punch to the bit and to encourage those who might be iffy about whether to buy tickets for this one or the other Memphis-set, rock n' roll birth musical. The problem is with "dazzling spectacle." Were I going to buy a ticket based on this, I'd have left the theatre sorely disappointed, for MDQ is many things (good and bad), but a dazzling spectacle it is not...not even the "flashy" final minutes.

They'd have been wise to stick to selling the familiar, but I guess getting them in the seats during the hot summer is more important than long-term word of mouth. Still, of the four, I think this is the Best Commercial for a Best Musical Nominee in 2010.

Grade: A+

Coming up:  Ads for two would be contenders: Come Fly Away and The Addams Family.

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