Friday, November 18, 2011

Writer/Actor Danny Hoch Talks Broadway, Gentrification, People With TVs In Their Heads: Gothamist:

Do you feel like it's more of a challenge to connect with the audience? It seems like when I go to a Broadway show, it's more like watching a movie than the theater I normally go to see downtown or in Brooklyn.

Well, I've been doing a little analysis of the audiences in this show versus audiences in Off Broadway theaters and regional theaters around the country. I think the majority of the audience that comes in on most nights—not all nights, but most nights—actually thinks they're coming to see a movie. And some of the reactions are as if they're watching a movie!

Audiences are weird. I think sometimes there's this mythification that happens with any kind of celebrity, and I think automatically people say, "there's this celebrity" and "there's that celebrity" and all of a sudden, what they're seeing is on a movie screen. It's not real even if they stop them outside the theater to ask them for an autograph. I've seen it happen. You can't often have a conversation because people are...they have a TV screen in their head, and nothing is really real. But that's not all audiences. Some audiences are really, really intimately engaged in a very different way and we can tell as a cast which audiences are sort of smarter and more sophisticated and really connected, and which of the audiences are just watching a movie. Those are a dead giveaway, when the curtain comes up and people are laughing immediately. Like nervous laughter, it's like "Oh, that's the TV crowd."