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One word: DVDs.

To say that theater people love their shows is an understatement of the highest degree. When people fall in love with a show, say RENT, they want to know as much about it as humanly possible. They will buy books, posters, CDs, parodies (Forbidden Broadway), search the internet for clips, actor info, even start fan websites and listservs and everything else under the sun. What the Broadway Gods should do is release a special DVD for every musical that comes out. By doing this, they will be giving millions of fans more goodies, and in the process make a lot of money for themselves.

Audience

One of the biggest problems with Broadway is that well, its Broadway, located in NYC. If you don't live on the East Coast, it can be very difficult to come see the musicals that you love because not only are they expensive, the trip to there can be expensive, as well as the accomodations. By releasing musicals on DVD, they'd be giving anybody who is in an out-of-the-way place the opportunity to enjoy their favorite musicals. Sure the shows tour, but they don't cover the whole country, usually only the major cities. Additionally, international audiences would be able to enjoy the musicals without having to make the trip the US (and vice versa for US audiences seeing international productions).

Drawbacks

Probably one of the biggest drawbacks is simply that musicals and most of theater just doesn't look as good on film as it does live. Something about the magic disappears, and the experience isn't quite as great. This can be helped, however, with intelligent filming and camera angles. Hopefully, if its done right, the filming will make the show more dynamic and and interesting, and will be able to simulate the audience's experience as much as possible.

For the people producing the DVD, probably the biggest perceived drawback is the fact that if someone buys a DVD, they very well may not come see the musical itself. This I think will not be a problem because many people who go see the musical will buy the DVD afterwards (TIP: have a whole stack waiting out in the lobby, right next to the CDs), and you can make a lot of the money back with the additional sales you will make to people who can't go to NY to see the musical. Make the DVD a double disc set, charge $30-$40, and you have a pretty good profit margin. This situation is very similar to that faced by the MPAA when they considered releasing movies on tape. They feared that people would just buy videos and stop going to see movies. As it turns out, videos make more money each year than movie ticket sales. If the producers are really scared about losing money, they can release the DVD a year or two after the show first opens, thereby guaranteeing a good amount of audiences.

Goodies

By releasing the shows on DVDs, the producers can become the ultimate resource for everything musical. Release a 2-disc set that contains a whole disc chock-full of special features, and you instantly have the perfect gift. Think of the possibilities:

Possible Special Features:

This would be such a valuable resource to anybody who is interested in possibly going into theater, giving them real world info on the creative process, how musicals are produced, time lines, production needs, etc. This would be especially useful for techies who are interested in what goes into constructing professional shows (try finding out that info on a soundtrack CD!)

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