On October 13,2016, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature. He is the first American songwriter to ever win this award. One of Bob Dylan’s unique characteristics is his ability to reach an extremely wide crowd, including those on Broadway, according to an article originally published on New York Theater Me. Bob is the only person to have ever won an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize.
Bob’s music has been featured in four Broadway musicals. The first time that Broadway lit up to a Dylan song was on October 26, 1970 when theater goers heard “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and “Dear Landlord” in the musical Play Play with Music at the Paul Sills’ Story Theatre. This show was Dylan’s music longest run on Broadway.
Dylan fans had to wait over a decade for Bob Dylan’s music to light up a Broadway stage again. On October 24, 1982, fans heard “Blowin in the Wind,” “’Like a Rolling Stone” and “Forever Young” during the weeklong musical revue called Rock ‘N Roll! The First 5,000 Years held at the St. James’ Theatre. Despite the fact that this show only saw nine regular performances, the New York Times described it as an amazing summary of music over the last 25 years.
Bob Dylan’s music was next heard on Broadway in “The Times They Are A-Changin’” at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Bob wrote all the music for this dance show which featured many artists including Twyla Tharp. This show received mostly negative reviews and closed on November 19, 2006. Songs performed during this Broadway show included “Don’t Be Thinking Twice It’s All Right,” “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” “Mr. Trombone Man” and “On a Night Like This.”
The last time that Bob Dylan’s music was heard on Broadway was on February 9, 2014, in the music A Night with Janis Joplin where she sings “I Shall Be Released.” This show opened on October 10, 2013. It was originally held at the Lyceum Theatre before being moved off-Broadway.
Theater owners and performers may be singing Give My Regards to Broadway, if they do not change their marketing practices. A recent article published on Huffington Post, points out that theater owners and performers are not keeping up with trends in technology. The ultimate result may be the death of Broadway. The future of Broadway depends on performers, producers, theater owners and others in the industry embracing technology instead of being stuck in the mindset of yesteryear.
First, more than 50 percent of audience members are using their mobile devices to find out information about shows on Broadway. Yet, less than 15 percent of the normal advertising budget is spent on mobile advertising. Additionally, less than 15 percent of theater transactions take place digitally. This trend must be reversed. Theaters need to embrace the possibilities of promoting their shows on mobile devices. They need to make it very easy to buy tickets online to the latest shows. Those going to theaters are wanting this change. It is time that the industry embrace it.
Except for a few top shows like Hamilton, many Broadway shows have trouble filling their seats on a regular basis. Mobile technology can fix this problem to a large extent if its top performers are asked to help with the show’s digital marketing. These performers are natural storytellers. Let them perform their magic where people can see it on their mobile devices and watch theaters fill up once again. Some performers will happily embrace the opportunity to reach consumers on their smartphones, tablets, Apple Watches and other devices. For the others, it needs to be stipulated in their contracts
Staying stuck in the same place will lead to the death of Broadway. Consumers have way too many choices. Therefore, everyone in the industry must work together by embracing mobile technology to attract a wider audience. There are many who have never been to a Broadway show. They have to be encouraged to be reached and encouraged to attend if the future of Broadway is to shine brightly.
According to a story originally published on the Broadwayblog, Joel Grey will officially receive the 25th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theater at a December 5th gala held at the Asia Society. Joel Grey has been honored for his television career by the Paley Center.
Joel is the son of Mickey Katz, a famous American musician who introduced Joel to many early American musicians. His father is best known for creating Broadway satires.
Joel’s first performance in musical theater came when he was just nine years old when he performed in On Borrowed Time at the Cleveland Play House. Grey was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
This singers first show on Broadway was in Joy Ride during 1958. His most defining role, however, came when he originated the role of Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret. He was presented a Tony for this amazing job. A few years later, he played the same role in the Cabaret movie and won an Oscar for that role. He is one of only eight people to have ever won a Tony and an Oscar for the same role. Many years later, he also wrote a book and titled it Master of Ceremonies.
Throughout his illustrative career, he has appeared in 12 Broadway shows, six off-Broadway shows, two national tours and has appeared in numerous television and movie roles.
Joel will be opening on October 16 at the American Airlines Theater in a limited production of Cherry Orchard, playing along the delightful Diane Lane. He will be playing the role of Firs in this Broadway show that was first produced in Moscow in 1904.
When asked if he had any roles that he always wanted to play, Joel says that he always wanted to perform in a Shakespeare play. He says that he was only offered one opportunity and that it did not pay well enough to support his wife and their child.
When asked if Cherry Orchard would be his last performance on Broadway, he said that he did not know. That he was still open to considering possibilities. He also said that he was enjoying his new found love of photography.