Randi Zuckerberg’s Ideas For Broadway

Randi Zuckerberg and George Takei at TEDx Broadway 2013. Zuckerberg Tweeted about Takei: "He was so great talking about theater & social media, I don't even have to speak! "
Randi Zuckerberg and George Takei at TEDx Broadway 2013. Zuckerberg Tweeted about Takei: “He was so great talking about theater & social media, I don’t even have to speak! “

Before Randi Zuckerberg spoke at the second annual TEDx Broadway, offering some  suggestions at how to use technology to transcend the limitations of Broadway, the former official at Facebook and sister of its founder took to Twitter:

“About to go on stage for ‪#TEDxBroadway! On the Avenue Q stage, no less! So nervous. Here we go….”

Zuckerberg left Facebook and created Zuckerberg Media in 2011, aimed at “combining the interactive and social media expertise of Silicon Valley, with the high-quality content and moving-image storytelling of Hollywood and television.” Just last week, she announced Zuckerberg Media Studios, a media production studio in Menlo Park, California that will offer “the unique ability to create and distribute live innovative content for digital, social and traditional media channels.”

By “live…content” did she mean to include theater?  Apparently so, judging from what she told the audience at TEDx Broadway: The two great loves of her life have been technology…and theater. While she was growing up, “my dream was to sing and dance on Broadway.”

Her talk was a slew of suggestions about how to use technology to enhance the experience of Broadway. Technology can help transcend what she sees as the three largest limitations of Broadway:

physical space

price (In 1946 Broadway tix $4)

the fear to take risks, resulting in shows that are safe…and the same.

Her ideas, which included some that are already happening:

Youtube auditions

A complete Playbill on mobile devices

Crowd-sourcing costumes – by which I guess she meant having the audience donate their old clothes

Crowd-funding (something that TEDx Broadway co-founded Ken Davenport did with the recent Broadway production of “Godspell”)

Partnering with local businesses to expand audiences.

Online viewing options: Follow along with your favorite show at home. Zuckerberg suggested this would combat expensive tickets.

Tagging audiences in pictures put on Facebook

Social media walk-on roles – i.e. rewarding people who spread the word about the show on Facebook or Twitter or wherever by giving them a one-time role (preferably without any dialogue) in the show.

“The @ reply is the new autograph….Make your fans stars”—i.e. increase the interaction between theatergoers and theatermakers.

Try some of these, Zuckerberg suggested, and the audience for Broadway will expand.

“Instead of having a small sliver of the world come to Broadway, why not bring Broadway to the entire world?”

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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