Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Wild Ride from Broadway to Beale: The Presenter

Joey of WAR HORSE met real horses of the Mounted Police Force
at a special Press Event at The Orpheum Theatre in March 2014.
Over the past few months we've been periodically exploring all that goes into bringing your Broadway favorites to the Orpheum stage.  Last time we took an in-depth look at the Press Agent and his or her role in prepping for the engagement.  Today, we're talking about an element that you're pretty familiar with already: the presenter.  Which of course in this case is the Orpheum Theatre!

If you hadn't noticed, the presenter is involved from the very start.  The presenting theatre ultimately decides which shows to pick up based on what's touring at the time, it works with the press agent to help drive ticket sales by putting together a marketing strategy and selling Group and Season Tickets, and it encourages community buzz by helping actors get out and about to local TV and radio stations.  

However, it doesn't stop there.  In many ways, the Orpheum is the middle man between the show and its fans.  It's the audience's connection to the production, and it's the production's connection to the city.  Everything from getting actors to and from press appointments to ensuring that patrons are comfortable during the performance to offering special opportunities like Broadway 101 Master Classes to giving actors a pocket full of happy Memphis memories falls within the Orpheum's scope. 

Students get some training in Broadway choreography
at a Broadway 101 Master Class.
Our Education Department offers some great programs relating to our Broadway shows.  For most productions, we offer Broadway 101, which allows students to enjoy dinner and a master class on a relevant theatre topic before seeing the show live.  Many times, students get to learn from actors and performers from the show, giving students great tools and real-world insight into the performing arts profession.  For family-friendly Broadway shows, the Education Department often hosts Kids Night on Broadway, and many productions allow the Orpheum Theatre to offer a Student/Teacher Rush performance at some point during a show's engagement.  We've also been known to take actors directly into schools for on-site workshops.  All in all, if you're a budding young performer who is interested in learning more about the biz, our Education programs have you covered!

Did you know that the Orpheum helps take care of the cast and crew too?  Upon arrival, we give our actors a welcome package that tells them all of the wonderful things they can do in Memphis.  From necessities like the nearest grocery store to fun stuff like how to get to Graceland, we want them to love Memphis as much as we do.  We also host a private party for the cast and crew of every Broadway show that graces our theatre.  Even more fun, however, is that our wonderful volunteer group, Friends of the Orpheum or FOTO, always make the cast and crew a special home-cooked meal on the Sunday of the run in between matinee and evening performances.  This meal has become legendary among touring groups, and there's nothing that says Southern hospitality quite like the word "homemade."

Ultimately, the goal is to make sure the cast , the crew, and the audience wants to keep coming back - whether it be returning to Memphis for those from out of town or visiting the Orpheum Theatre for another spectacular Broadway experience.  While it's true that we can't help but have a little fun, we also continually strive to do justice to our job as a presenter.

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