From Bloomington to Broadway

Amy Drake headshot summerBy guest blogger, ONSTAGE semi-finalist Amy Drake

I’m so excited about having my play MODEL BEHAVIOR read at Little Black Dress INK’s 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project in Ames, Iowa! Here’s why: according to The Broadway League a full 49.2% of Broadway ticket-buyers reside outside of New York City or Big Apple suburbs.[i] Chances are theater patrons are who take their vacations to New York and spend their hard-earned dollars to see Broadway shows enjoy seeing theater during their leisure time back home, not just on vacation. In terms of ticket sales that equates to 6.5 million tourists making the trek from large cities and small towns all across the country.[ii] “The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 36 days before the performance.” These patrons are planning ahead. Not surprising. No one wants to risk missing the show they really want to see.

If your new play resonates with the sensibilities of their family and friends in the Sun Belt or the Midwest, it bodes well for theater ticket sales in New York. That’s why it’s important to read and stage new works in theater festivals around the country. You can forge a connection with patrons by staging short works in their home town. If they like your work they may just remember you when your show makes it to the New York stage.

And they can afford to see a range of shows. NYC Data reports, “Broadway theatregoers were quite affluent compared to the general United States population, reporting an average annual household income of $201,500.”[iii] These travelers have already made a substantial investment in travel and lodging. If the ticket buyer has heard of your show, or you, the playwright, they might just take a chance and buy a ticket after taking the site seeing tour and visiting Central Park Zoo.

The only way you get better at play writing is to write and produce a lot of plays, read a lot of scripts, see a lot of plays and stay current with theatrical trends by joining professional theater organizations, attending conferences and maintaining connections with others working in the field. Attending a workshop can be a great learning and social experience, too. Moreover, theater festivals are training ground for improving your play, even after you have held readings and local performances. You can get feedback on your work and a new perspective on the piece.

I am delighted to present my play MODEL BEHAVIOR in the upcoming reading. The plot developed from a news story about a Swedish department store featuring “real-sized” models right alongside traditional thin mannequins in their windows. My message is that everyone should be able to find clothing that makes her, or him, feel attractive. Full disclosure: the play recently premiered at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in Manhattan, but a reading always helps a playwright improve work. I’m grateful that the Little Black Dress INK’s 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project has given me this opportunity to share my script with my colleagues and a wider audience. See you there!

Amy Drake is a Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright, member of the Dramatists Guild of America, International Centre for Women Playwrights and Theatre Communications Group. Her play Home Body was nominated for four awards in the Midtown International Theater Festival (MITF), New York. Voted Theatre Roundtable Best Director for Night Must Fall and was assistant director for the Actors’ Theatre production of Servant of Two Masters, chosen by The Columbus Dispatch as a Top Ten show of 2012. Amy is a published academic writer, conference speaker, and poet. Amy holds a B.A. from Ohio Dominican University and a M.S. degree in marketing and communication. Her education includes creative writing and history programs at Cambridge University, UK, graduate studies at Reed Hall, Paris and playwriting at the Kenyon (College) Summer Institute. Her new play, Alexander the Great in Love and War, will be performed in the Evolution Theatre Festival, June 2016.

[i] The Broadway League, “The Demographics of Broadway Audience 2015-2015.” Download 4 Apr 2016.

[ii].According to the Broadway League: “In the 2014–2015 season, there were a record breaking 13.1 million admissions to Broadway shows.” The Broadway League, “The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2014-15.” Online. Retrieved 2 Apr 2016 from https://www.broadwayleague.com/index.php?url_identifier=the-demographics-of-the-broadway-audience

[iii] NYC Data. Demographics of the NYC Broadway Audience, 2013-2014. Online. Retrieved 2 Apr 2016 from

< http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/culture/broadway-demographics.htm >

 

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