Monday, January 11, 2016

BroadwayCon Fusion

I met my Broadway buddy again, but this time we went to a Starbuck's. The last time we had a few at a local watering hole, I was sick for three days! Jeez, he can put the sauce away! I'd be safe with just the coffee to drown our sorrows.

So over a couple of gigantic strangely named caffeinated beverages we caught up on the last few months. Rather than an organ recital (I didn't want to talk about things medical), it was just a matter of time before we got around to his favorite subject, Broadway.

"Lot of closings this month, huh?" he asked rhetorically.

"It's that time of the year," I answered. "A tale as old as time, you know..." Boy, my cuppa joe was strong. I felt kind of jittery.

"Ain't it tho," my friend replied, eyeing me somewhat warily. "Are you feeling okay? I know you had those surgeries..."

"Tut, tut..." I interrupted. "Let us not speak of it! I'm feeling better, thanks." A drip of coffee escaped down my chin. I dabbed it with a napkin in the nick of time, saving my tie from a fate worse than stained.  I was also pleased to be able to use the phrase "Tut, tut," in conversation. It's rare, and thank goodness for that.

"So," my pal began, "what do you think Broadway ought to do to navigate through this slow time in the calendar?" He's not a lawyer, but he doesn't ask a question without having the answer already prepped in his head.

"Well," I tried to come up with a coherent response, "without trying to reinvent the wheel, I guess they should do the discount thing, a "winter sale", perhaps. That's worked in the past, more or less."

"Yeah, yeah, that's right. The two-for-one Broadway week thing is on. That's the low hanging fruit, isn't it? Though, to be sure, it'll be hard to sell full price or premiums while the shows are so actively pushing those half-price ducats. But that's Broadway for you, always at cross purposes." I couldn't argue that point. Who'd buy a full price ticket when an industry-wide half price promotion is on?

But, he was just getting started. "And speaking of "cross purposes", what do you think of "BroadwayCon"? Was there anything more appropriately named than that?" I felt he was baiting me, but I answered anyway. We were on our second jugundo sized coffees, and I was amped.

"Well," I began, "it does seem to be attracting a lot of interest, if the idiot chatboards are to be believed. It's a weekend long convention dedicated to Broadway, if I'm not mistaken. Panels, workshops, meet-and-greets with all manner of Broadway folk and a charitable component too. It seems harmless enough, right?" I knew that comic books and science fiction had their "cons" as well, and they seemed to always make a lot of money. Now Broadway would have its chance to extract its tribute from its fans in the same way.

My friend sighed. "That's all well and good, but my point and question was, 'What can Broadway do to navigate this slow time in the calendar'? I don't give a fig about a "con" job, unless it's Broadway shows doing the conning!" I was confused by his logic, and it was getting harder to concentrate. With our third serving of java, I was starting to feel the despair one feels when you view a long line at the men's room. I began to calculate and triangulate my impending trip to the rest room.

While I planned my trip to P-town, my friend continued, "If it's a slow time of year, how does a weekend long Broadway-themed convention help sell Broadway tickets for that particular weekend? Whose bright idea was this? You are attracting a Broadway crowd to town for a winter weekend in January, a traditional slow time of year, and are offering these folks something to do other than buy tickets to Broadway shows! Is this any way to run an airline? Yes, we sell tickets like airlines do, but in this case, what the hay?" He didn't really say "hay", but his word of choice was a bit too crude to report verbatim.

My bladder calmed a bit, and I felt a momentary respite from having to hit the bathroom. My bladder was my new best friend. I could focus more on what my buddy was getting at.

"Well, the people coming into town for BroadwayCon might attend shows also, right? Why do you dismiss that possibility out of hand?" I thought I had a good point.

"Because, my friend, they are selling three day passes, all day tickets, and are charging an entrance fee just to get into the area where they can be preyed upon by the souvenir sellers. Somehow, I don't foresee any bargains being offered at this event. Plus, when someone has an all day ticket to all that the "con" is offering, why would they leave to spend even more money on the few surviving shows that will be playing that weekend? The "con" here is that these folks may not realize it but they will be willing captives of the goings on of the "con". " As usual, his ability to apply his cynical nature to any commercial situation was in full flower. But also, he seemed to be correct. I began to wonder...

WHERE WAS THE BATHROOM? It was now or never.

"Wait here, pal, I'll be right back!" I was off on a mission.

"Sure, buddy, you go take care of business," he said. I only half heard what he said as I trotted off to see a man about a horse.

Moments later, after my reacquaintance with the existence of God, I returned to where my friend had been. He was gone, and there was a note on the table that read,

     "Sorry guy, I had to run, something came up. I'll call you next week. Take care."

Along with the note, was the unpaid bill for the coffees we had drank. I smiled, shook my head, and thought to myself, "BroadwayCon, indeed."

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