Last night, I was out with a number of women bloggers, all invited by Kaliya Hamlin to see the final show of Little Women on Broadway. Interestingly enough, Little Women is a show on Broadway that made the financial decision to go from Broadway performance to road show - from a strong understanding of the economics of running a show. Scott Frieman, a producer of the show, joined us for dinner and discussed their "social media strategy", which was started with their own Little Women Blog.
Scott explained some of the economics of the show - including the fact that Little Women was one of the least expensive shows on Browardway today - which determined much of the marketing mix that were planned for. Scott, who had been in the software industry for 15 years, and his wife were discussing the need for more "grassroots marketing" and brought Kaliya onboard to be the "blogmaster" of the Little Woman Blog and help to create their "social media strategy".
Leveraging the connections within the blogging community - and applying some of the old media techniques (comp tickets to the show), a number of female bloggers - Liza Sabater of Culture Kitchen, Mary Hodder of Napsterization, Betsy Devine of Funny Haha, Esme Vos of MuniWireless, Elayne Riggs of Pen-Elayne on the Web, Laurie from The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Suzy Conn of Blogway Baby. The goal - to have female bloggers discuss the show and begin some positive word-of-mouth on the upcoming road tour.
So, a show - with a built-in audience - connecting with the potential evangelists - and then the creation of a communications channel through the Little Women Blog. Here is some innovative thinking in an industry which would normally focused solely on the big billboards of Times Square, the full-page ads in the New York Times and TimeOut - working a completely different strategy. Will it work? Not sure - as I write this post, none of the bloggers I mentioned has put anything on their blogs - but what is word-of-mouth? And how does the meme grow and become something that takes a life of it's own? Mary Hodder and a team of bloggers are working on this concept - and one that I look forward to hearing about as the need for understanding the growth of a meme begins to take shape across the webspace and the blogosphere.
My Opinion on Little Women on Broadway
Funny thing, as I went into the show with a group of female bloggers, I kept having this vision of Jeff Foxworthy complaining about going to a "chick flick" - and how it would be a weepy, sappy show. I remembered "Little Women" vaguely from Mrs. Roland's 11th Grade English class and something about the sense of independance of women in that era. Combine that with a musical score and Broadway sets, and I was a little worried I would get something that would be a 21st Century accounting of feminism in that era.
How wrong I was. While the first 15 minutes did not engage me (and the seats at the Victoria Theater were quite small), the show captured me upon return to Joe's childhood and the Marsh family. The musical numbers were, in a word, "powerful". I was amazed at Sutton Foster (incredible voice and could easily take the place of Hilary Swank for depiction of a tomboy) and Maureen McGovern (another astounding voice and stage presence) - as well as the rest of the cast (personal affection for Jenny Powers as the older sister Meg Marsh and her turn with love meeting the tutor from Boston).
While the National Tour Cast has not been determined at the time of this posting, the story itself is engaging (as it had been in high school) and has moments of beauty and poignancy that make for a worthy night out. I know that I will tell my family (in Florida) about going, if they can.