In recent weeks, two different Broadway productions have dumped their press agencies. Press agency Boneau/Bryan-Brown resigned from Honeymoon in Vegas, which stars Tony Danza, after the show’s gross ticket sales have been fair at best. Earlier that week, press agent Rick Miramontez resigned, albeit amicably, from the Harvey Weinstein-helmed Finding Neverland, which opens this spring. This move was made after Weinstein was displeased with Miramontez’s marketing strategies for the show.
The shake-up of the press agencies for these productions clearly illustrates that marketing is as important as ever. Many shows are competing with each other for ticket buyers. While other shows, particularly those without an A-list Hollywood star, have taken to non-traditional strategies when it comes to filling their theatres.
The best example of this is the Tony Award-winning show, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Their marketing team has opted to promote the show with funny advertisements that focus on the show’s signature event — the death of eight members of a family, all of whom are played by a single actor (the hilarious Jefferson Mays). Their marketing team has released videos and advertisements that feature this entertaining aspect of the play, including a video of Jefferson Mays singing each of the Grammy nominees for Best Record while portraying a different character that he plays during the show. This strategy seems to have served the show well so far, as it is still playing to over 80-percent-filled houses, even in the usually slow weeks of January and February.
Two new Broadway shows, Something Rotten! and Hand to God, are following the lead of Gentleman’s Guide, trying to woo audiences with a comedy-based marketing campaign and seeking to differentiate themselves from the traditional Broadway fare. Something Rotten!, a new musical set in the time of Shakespeare about the creation of the first musical, has played up the “rotten” aspect of the show by featuring rotten tomatoes and slogans like “All actors promise to memorize most of their lines” on the marquee and their marketing materials.
Hand to God, a new play opening on Broadway after two off-Broadway productions, has focused its marketing on the fact that it has “No movie stars, no London transfer, no film adaptation,” and asks the viewer to “pray for us.” The play, which earned critical acclaim off-Broadway at the MCC Theater, is hoping that its past success will transfer toBroadway, a tough hope in a season in which Helen Mirren, Matthew Broderick, Tyne Daly, Larry David and Matthew Morrison are all performing.
Only time will tell if these new marketing strategies will pay off, as these shows have placed their hope in the fact that hilarious and sarcastic marketing will be enough to intrigue audiences to buy tickets.