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BROADWAY RETURNS: Hadestown - Resumes 9.2.21 Chicago, The Lion King, Hamilton and Wicked - Resume 9.14.21 Come From Away - Resumes 9.21.21 Moulin Rouge! - Resumes 9.24.21 THE 74TH TONY AWARDS - 9.26.21 Aladdin - Resumes 9.28.21 To Kill a Mockingbird - Resumes 10.5.21 Tina - Resumes 10.8.21 Girl From the North Country - Resumes 10.13.21 Ain't Too Proud - Resumes 10.16.21 Jagged Little Pill - Resumes 10.21.21 The Phantom of the Opera - Resumes 10.22.21 The Book of Mormon - Resumes 11.5.21 Dear Evan Hansen - Resumes 12.11.21

NEW ON BROADWAY: Pass Over - Previews 8.4.21 Opens 9.12.21 SIX - Previews 9.17.21 Opens 10.7.21 Freestyle Love Supreme - Opens 10.7.21 The Lehman Trilogy - Previews 9.25.21 Opens 10.12.21 Thoughts of a Colored Man - Previews 10.1.21 Caroline, or Change -Previews 10.8.21 Opens 10.27.21 Trouble in Mind - Previews 10.8.21 Opens 10.27.21 Diana - Previews 11.1.21 Opens 11.17.21 Mrs. Doubtfire - Previews 10.21.21 Opens 12.5.21 Flying Over Sunset - Previews 11.4.21 Opens 12.6.21 Company - Previews 12.20.21 Opens 1.9.22 Skeleton Crew - Previews 12.21.21 Opens 1.12.22 MJ: The Musical - Previews 12.6.21 Opens 2.1.22 The Music Man - Previews 12.20.21 Opens 2.10.22 Paradise Square - Previews 2.22.22 Opens 3.20.22 Birthday Candles - Previews 3.18.22 Opens 4.10.22 The Minutes - TBA Plaza Suite - Previews TBA American Buffalo - TBA Take Me Out - TBA 1776 - TBA Sing Street - TBA Our Town - TBA

COMING UP THIS WEEK: 6/14: 1970s Broadway Musical Logo Madness! The Final 4! - 6/15: This Week in Broadway History - 6/16: Best Songs From Best Scores - 6/17: TBA - 6/18: Broadway Game!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Broadway on TV: The Glass Menagerie

When I left the Booth Theatre a couple of weeks ago, I had that "theatre buzz" feeling.  It is that rare excitement - a mixture of an aching soul and an exhilaration in my senses that would probably have allowed me to run the New York Marathon right then and there. Overwhelmed by the need to articulate my feelings, I'm pretty sure I babbled on and on, trying to get it all out.

So, when I saw this commercial for The Glass Menagerie, I had to smile and chuckle to myself.  Why?  I remember saying things like, "It took my breath away!" and "Zachary Quinto was a real revelation!" Lo and behold, what quotes are used in that ad?  See for yourself...



Grade: A+

As classy and powerful as the show that it is advertising, this TV spot is a textbook example of how to promote a play (versus a musical).  First, almost all such ads include pull quotes from the reviews, but it is essential for a play.  I've read that several surveys have shown that people who buy tickets to straight plays are most influenced by reviews.  This spot includes quotes from a variety of sources, some spoken aloud, others fading in and out of the visuals.  And the most prominently displayed (and spoken) are those from The New York Times, still the most influential source of criticism among those same ticket buyers surveyed.

The sound of the commercial also tells so much about this production.  The underscoring - a somber piano tune - comes directly from the show.  The male voice narrating it is deep and very serious - no hype here.  But it is the kind of voice that commands your attention - maybe even enough to make you not change the channel or turn around as you run off to the kitchen for a snack.

Visually, this commercial captures the show's theatricality, starting with a slow pan away from the outside of  the Booth Theatre, and then fading into a shot of a stage light shining on the title.  Tennessee Williams wanted all to know that this play was meant to be overtly theatrical (have you ever read the stage directions for this masterpiece?), and the production  and this ad embrace that concept completely.  As the ad goes on, images from the show fade in and out, colorful and extra vibrant against a completely black background.  And on the sides where the quotes appear in bright white, the black background ripples like water making rings after a pebble stirs it. Of course, the reflective water mirrors (literally and figuratively) a key design element in the show.

A memory play... a memorable production... this commercial pays off in enticing theatre-goers to get to the Booth, and it pays homage to an amazing production of an real American masterpiece.

Jeff
5.031

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