Thursday, June 6, 2013

The 2013 Tony Awards: The Best Play Revival Nominees on TV

As the countdown to the Tonys continues, I'm taking a look at the ways this year's nominees for Best Play Revival tried to entice TV viewers into seeing their show.  Unlike most musicals, these shows have but 16 to 30 seconds to get their message out there.

Two of these shows use very similar techniques:


  • A quick screen shot of multiple reviews, with eye-catching words like "powerful" and "dazzling" that hones into the important Tony nomination graphic
  • A male husky voice reads us quotes about screen-now-stage stars, engaging the men that the horny housewives who'll want to see this hunky trio
  • Hits all the right buttons and quickly... why didn't it work?

The Trip to Bountiful

  • Vintage country scenes whiz by, suggesting a road trip, while a jazzy period number plays in the background. time and place, check.
  • A gentle, but authoratative voice reads rave reviews
  • The star power is rolled out; name and picture aurally and visually conveyed
  • Well done... why aren't audiences flocking to this show?

Golden Boy

Leave it to Lincoln Center to create a piece of advertising art.  They take twice the time, and the result is mesmerizing.  I am kicking myself still for missing this one...

  • Whether the viewing audience knows it or not, the opening seconds tell the time, place and story.
  • The smoky montage is visually interesting and atches the masculine tone and subject matter of the story.
  • "Musician" Seth Numrich cross-cut with "boxer" Seth Numrich... sensitivity AND athleticism.
  • Sweaty/sexy... athletic/artistic.. appeals to a wide-variety of potential audience members.
  • Nice work all the way around!

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

All these monrhs later, this one is still the one to beat.  It is a combination of the three above, substituting more quote for Tony info, at the time unknown to all...

  • Fast cuts of the sparring and heavy action of the play are highlighted, a good thing when most people equate older plays with lengthy, stuffy monologues.
  • Even smarter, freez-framing allows us to take in the emotions of the brilliant actors we are hearing about in the voice over, which is reading us the obligatory rave reviews.
  • Again, it hits all the buttons, and the show got an extension.  If it really worked, wouldn't it still be running?


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