Broadway Features and Reviews
Next Fall and Broadway Celebrity Producers
By Orville Lloyd Douglas, Broadway Magazine
In the 21st century, theatre companies are competing with Hollywood films, concerts, professional sports, the symphony, malls, and television, for the public's attention and money. The marketing for Broadway plays has changed due to the direct influence of pop culture.
Broadway productions are cognizant that they have to find innovative ways to generate attention to remain commercially and culturally relevant.
One method Broadway companies have utilized to their advantage is to attract a high profile celebrity "producer" to "endorse" the play. Once the mainstream media realizes that the play has a celebrity "producer", the publicity reaches the public consciousness and the play has a greater chance at success.
The British pop star Elton John has signed on to produce the play "Next Fall" with his longtime partner David Furnish.
The plot of "Next Fall" is simple, it involves a white gay male couple coming to grips that their divergent religious beliefs may affect their relationship. The character Luke he believes in God but his lover Adam is an atheist. The lovers question whether their five-year relationship can survive the tensions of having divergent beliefs about God and love.
Of course, a play that involves homosexuality and religion may seem like an incendiary issue but "Next Fall" is a comedy.
Elton John is the perfect celebrity producer for "Next Fall" because this is a form of diversity marketing. Elton John also has been involved in Broadway in the past. For instance, Elton John composed the music for the Broadway hits The Lion King and Aida. Elton John has illustrated he isn't just a celebrity face, he is a serious artist.
Also, Elton John is popular in both the white gay male community and the mainstream heterosexual community. Due to Elton John's popularity, "Next Fall" should attract greater publicity and a larger audience --meaning more attention and press for the production.
"Next Fall" was first performed on Wednesday June 3rd, 2009 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre and received strong critical acclaim. Due to the success of the Off Broadway production, it was extended three times until August 8th2009, and now has moved to Broadway.
Following the production's opening night on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre another round of critical acclaim greeted the new comedy. The praise included an enthusiastic notice for the Broadway production from New York Times critic Ben Brantley.
Whether positive reviews and celebrity producers are enough to attract a large Broadway audience remains to be seen, but if any show has a chance to succeed under such circumstances it surely is Next Fall.
Watch interviews with the cast, show video, and get tickets to Next Fall here at Broadway.tv and look for a feature on the production in the February Issue of Broadway Magazine.
For additional Broadway features visit http://www.broadway.tv/broadway-features-reviews