Month: August 2015

I am on my way…

I just wanted to tell you: I’ll be taking the rest of August off from here. Because a) it’s still summer and many people have more exciting things to do than hang around the internet and read the stuff I type up and b) I’ll be on a (mostly) non-theatrical vacation! But expect some nice stuff around here this fall. πŸ™‚

See/read you then!

//

Hey, nur eine kleine Info fΓΌr euch: FΓΌr den Rest des Augusts wird es hier ruhig werden. Weil a) es ist Sommer und wenn wir ehrlich sind, haben die meisten Menschen anderes (“besseres”) zu tun, als im Internet und auf diesem Blog rumzuhΓ€ngen und b) fahre ich in einen (zum Großteil nicht (!) von Theater bestimmten) Urlaub. Aber ich hab schon ein paar nette kleine Sachen fΓΌr den Herbst in Planung.

Bis dahin! πŸ™‚

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#YAYHAMLET

Why the Hamilton PR Team Makes Me Want to Look Into Social Media Marking

I think not many people know that, but my very first ever internship right after 18 year-old me graduated from high school was in the PR department of Komische Oper Berlin. Before I continue here, give me a moment to wrap my mind around the 6 (SIX!) years having passed since then.

Anyways….back then I was more of an idealistic theatre girl all the way in for the arts and low-budget and I kind of percieved marketing as something commercial people would SO NEED, but ‘real art’ wouldn’t, because few people attending it would make it extra special and something. (Cut me some slack, I was 18!)
So these three months taught me another side of making theatre happen – the more “It didn’t happen as long as not enough people attend”-kind of side.

More recent, in the last season I looked more into social media as a marketing tool, a little bit of a trending topic in German (theatre) marketing, talked about e.g. at the 3rd annual Theater und Netz conference. There’s still SO MUCH talk about, especially since German theatres doesn’t seem to be very proficient in social media marketing, more often than not it’s nothing more than the occational tweet/post “Another performance of [opera/play/performance-title] tonight! Still tickets left!” – well, at least there’s some consciousness about the need to change.

So – as with so many things – we have to look over, across the pond to what seems my Mekka of musical theatre once again.

One tweet I’ve cited so many times in real life was saying something like “Welcome to America – where it’s easier to get a gun than a ticket to see Hamilton” (although I’m in love with this tweet I cannot for the life of me find it right now to link it properly! Sorry) and I think this is a good point to start talking social media marketing for Hamilton, which finally opened last week.

Even though I’d never think of saying the show wasn’t as good as everyone says it is (sadly, I cannot say myself…because I’m living FAR FAR FAR away), I’m sure it wouldn’t be buzzed about so much with that very intellegent (social media) marketing.

With Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s composer, writer and leading actor (!), being very active on twitter, they soon took social media by storm. You could say it all started with the celebrity selfies Miranda took backstage after the performances back at the Public Theatre and published on twitter; so night after night (or for me: morning after morning) we could look at all the celebs who had attended the show – with exception of Madonna, who earned the show some more publicity when she got called out for bad audience etiquette – and wonder if we would ever get the opportunity (to buy a ticket) to see this show.

What really caught my attention was the 21st century appropriate marking when it came to the Broadway transfer. One quality of the show – at least according to what people say – is it is a game changer when it comes to musical language, (“interracial”) casting and the way history can be handled on stages. To that, please add time appropriate online marketing. I’ve never seen so many hashtags evolve around just one show – with #HamiltonPublic from “back when” and #HamiltonBroadway being the most conventional ones.

I mean, the 10$ lottery and the pre-show show before the drawing of the winners has its own hashtag! #ham4ham (referring to Alexander Hamilton being on the 10$ note, so you pay an “Alexander Hamilton” to see Hamilton….) keeps you up to date with the masses of people attending the lottery every show plus the rap/sing/dance-acts the cast puts on to entertain the waiting masses (I’m not exaggerate here, people, there are literal masses!).

But the best – and classic! – hashtag by far is #YayHamlet, which I already expressed my obsession with in my July favourites. It originates from a story/tweet Miranda posted back when Hamilton was still #HamiltonPublic and everyone hoped for #HamiltonBroadway.

That lady’s (what I suppose was a) enthusiastic linguistic mishap/mix-up soon became the signature hashtag when talking about Hamilton and when we are honest on that one: What could have been more appropriate for a show everyone was so enthusiastic about???? – Playbill.com just recently published an article about the #YayHamlet phenomenon, read it here: What’s the story behind the hashtag?

And while so many hashtags make it to t-shits these days (#yolo and #swag for some, #kale and #selfie for others…), Hamilton took advantage of its own hashtag with a cult status. Yes, they REALLY made a shirt with #YAYHAMLET printed on it – which, by the way I need in my life.

In a way Hamilton’s marketing team (and Lin-Manuel Miranda as one of Broadway’s twitter-gods!) accomplished something every theatre enthusiast from the 21st century was secretly hoping for. Theatre entered what could be considered a more pop-cultural sphere by using popular communication-tools. And by that also combine more conventional things like apparel as souvenir with the 21st century pop-cultural ‘tool’, the hashtag.

Aside from that they rock the more conventional marketing tools as well. Full page ads in the NYtimes and they have pretty much all of this newspaper all over them, I mean – how beautiful is this article: Why ‘Hamilton’ Has Heat.

What I mean to say with this somewhat rambly post is: Hamilton isn’t only a theatrical game changer, but we should also acknowledge its game changer-potential when it comes of theatre marketing online.

Yes, the production was lucky to be buzzed about and that it “just” had to jump onto the already moving train, but the marketing people did – and by doing so they gave me (and I’m sure so many other people as well) a ton of fun on twitter.

And if we are honest – the random “Still tickets left”-tweet just wouldn’t be very….well….suitable for Hamilton on Broadway. Because there aren’t.

Music Monday … You Don’t Know

Last Monday I went to a small concert in which class mates of a close friend of mine presented translation works of another fellow class mate (that sounds confusing?!) – anyway, there I realized that there are certain songtitles repeating themselves. In this concert we had two “Quiet”s, the Jonathan Reid Gealt one and the Tim Minchin one from Matilda. And this #MusicMonday one is another one of these more common songtitles. I mean this all could be just in my head, but one of my FAVOURITE songs from Next to Normal is “You don’t know”, so….. Anyway, this one is one of the songs added in when they kind of re-vamped Bare: A Rock Opera to be Bare: The Musical Off-Broadway in 2012. I recently discovered this song and this rendition in particular when I was on a “YAY! Let’s listen to ALL the songs written by female composers on Youtube!”-trip. The one thing I’ll say before I send you off to listen (and watch!) this video is: Does anyone else gets this really intense feeling that the music is pressing down on you when (female) voices are arranged rather closely together?

(btw. that’s the composer Lynne Shankel playing the piano)

What are you listening to today on this hot summer Monday?

#Tesori2015

On Why Theaterkind is Still Rocking a Kinda Feminist Tony-Motto on Facebook

(disclaimer: I know Playbill.com named last week #WomenInTheatre-week, but I’ll take it as someone pointed out early last week, when she said “Shouldn’t every week be #WomenInTheatre-week?!”. And I’m like hell, yeah!)

I think even way before the nominations for the 2015 Tony Awards had been announced a thing started on various social media platforms – in my eyes mainly on twitter and it might have been the girls from The Interval NY who started it in the first place.

The “thing” was a hashtag, the hastag #Tesori2015 to be exact. To me it meant “we” – what ever that very flowy and ever changing ‘we’ on the internet is – were rooting for Jeanine Tesori, the composer of Fun Home, to win the 2015 Tony Award for best score (together with Lisa Krohn). And although I’m German and (sadly) living MILES and MILES and MILES away from the place of action – that is: New York City – I was so rooting with them.

In the weeks from the announcement of the nominations leading up to the actual Awards there was a lot of talk and bringing up of statistics happening. Important and kind of shocking pieces of information were put up on the internet – like the one that Jeanine Tesori is, with her nominations for both Shrek (2008) and Fun Home, the female composer (for theatre) with the most Tony nominations in Tony-history! Or that – in case of her win – she’d be the first female composer from a musical theatre background to win. The first EVER female composer to win a Tony for best score was Cyndi Lauper in 2013 for Kinky Boots.

YES RIGHT!

2013 – the first EVER female composer. Back then it were the 67th Tony Awards.

And now 2015 #Tesori2015 really happened. And along with it also the history making fact that Fun Home won “Best Musical” as the first musical ever to be written entirely by women, focussing on a female character, having SO MANY amazing female parts in it.

I mean – really?! It’s been effing 2015!

As you might or might not know I’m all in for gender equality and gender parity and general awareness about these things not happening most of the time. And this is also why – as pathetic as it sounds – I was about to do something very, very stupid and impulse-buy plane tickets to the big ol’ city of musical theatre and be there, see the shows that created such a buzz. Long story short I didn’t do it. But I have plans….

Anyway….the reason why I am writing this is to say something about why I still hold the “#Tesori2015”-flag high, most prominently on the profile pic on the Theaterkind facebook page, even though it’s SO June 2015 and we all know two months is a CRAZY long time on the fast and ever changing internet. I think this might be a sign, some kind of slogan to keep reminding us about women making theatre history this year and also reminding us that we still aren’t somewhat near gender parity when it comes to who gets to be heard in artistic contexts – both in the US and in Germany as well.

I mean – we’re living in bloody 2015 and women have come so far and there are people saying we should be happy with what we have achieved and can do, but: NO. If I can choose to be happy about being able to open a bank account and being unhappy about women not getting the artsitic opportunities they mght deserve I most definitely will choose the latter.

I really want to raise awareness among all of us and keep us thinking about why some people get heard and recognized while some really don’t and why that might be having to do something with their gender!

And that’s it for my short-ish rant about women and Tonys and making histroy and non equality, in case you want to read some more about these wonderful topics I poped some links below….

read more about what the girls on The Interval do over here.

especially their project-ish article in which they quoted a lot of young women, including me, in theatre about the history-making Tony Awards 2015 over here.

and then I have some articles I wrote here on this blog about the lack of gender parity in German theatre. Namely here and here.

P.S: I just recently scrolled through a new jury for a new competition for young musical theatre writers and out of the 13 members there’s only one (in numbers: 1!) woman. And while I don’t want to imply with any word I’m writing here and these men aren’t great men in and for German musical theatre – they are and I am inspired by so many of them! – I’m also just like: REALLY?!?!

Music Monday … High

Happy Monday! I’m super blown away by the return of my own discipline to post on here again regularly – anyway, it’s a new week, it’s a new Monday and this is why it’s time for a new #MusicMonday! Recently I re-discovered a song by Scott Alan from his own musical-project formerly named “Home”, just now it had been renamed “Fly Away, Home” (as fas as I understood).

This song is actually one of the songs I literally cannot WAIT to translate in German one day….#daydreaming

See yourselves, folks, I have two different versions of this song for you:

a) Allie Trimm – who made here Broadway debut back in 2008 in Jason Robert Brown’s “13” (from which, fun fact about me as a nerd, “A little more homework” was played at my high school graduation when I walked up to get my diploma) – back when she sung that song she probably was the age of the character, as we can learn during the song….

b) And Cyntha Erivo, who is going to be Celie in the Broadway Revival of “The Color Purple” this season. I mean: HELL YEAH!

I hope with these videos your week is off to a …. relaxed …. start. πŸ™‚

What are you listening to today?