Alex's Blog

The Future of Broadway?

I just had a vision of the future while I was in the shower (which may be too much information for this "professional" blog, but we can keep it casual, right?): Part of the problem with attendance for Broadway shows has to rest with the fact that many of the people who would be inclined to see any particular Broadway show don't live in the immediate geographic vicinity of New York City. You could live in Topeka and be the world's biggest fan of [name-your-favorite-writer/actor/director/producer/whatever], and you might even be willing and able to shell out $75 bucks for a ticket, but since it would cost you at least $2000 to get to NYC and stay for a night, you get priced out of the market.

Seeing shows on tour, and local productions of Broadway shows is a fantastic way to experience the magic, but it isn't quite the same as seeing the original production with the stars - and they certainly can't be in more than one place at one time. That's one of the edges that the movies have over live theater: everyone who sees a movie, no matter when or where, gets to have the same experience.

So what if everyone could actually have the same experience of seeing a Broadway show, anywhere in the world, simultaneously?

Ok, I know what you're thinking, live theater doesn't translate well to film. But I'm not talking about taping and re-broadcasting. What I'm talking about here is something a little more science fiction than that.

Imagine the mother of all motion-capture studios meeting the Holodeck from Star Trek. My idea is this: we fit out everything in a Broadway theater with 3-D scanners, so that while a show is running, everything about it is captured in precise, full dimension. Then that scan of the show is instantaneously transmitted to theaters around the country, or around the world, which are fitted out with extremely good 3-D projectors (stick with me here, this is a fantasy), which then project the show as if it were happening on that stage in Topeka instead of on Broadway. Presto chango, and you have a Broadway show instantly replicated someplace else. It's not recorded, so you still have to go to a theater to see it. Would it mean the end of tours or regional productions? Probably not. But think of how that could essentially uncap the limit for audiences to see a Broadway show, without actually having to come to Broadway to see it!

Ok, so odds are that this won't happen, at least not in our lifetime, but it's a fun idea!

What do you think is in the future of live performance, as technology continues to change?