You remember those commercials?
The ones that sold Ginsu knives (or any “as seen on TV” product)?
They all had something in common that will help you make your show stand out. (And it’s something that the most successful plays and musicals have in common).
Remember the end of those commercials? When they said, “When you get this one knife, we’ll give you a second for free. And then we’ll give you this set of steak knives. And a salad spoon. And also a travel bag for your knives. And engrave them . . . and . . .and . . . and . . .”
There was always more. When you thought there couldn’t be anything else added to the low low price of $19.99, they added something else.
In sales terminology, this is called “The Stack.” It’s when companies add so much value to the offer that it makes it irresistible.
So what does this have to do with writing a play or a musical?
If you want your show to stand out, then it must be unique. The most successful shows of all time have been the most unique. They’ve been shows that we’ve never seen on Broadway before, for one reason or another. Hamilton, Avenue Q, Dear Evan Hansen, A Chorus Line, even all the way back to Show Boat.
So if you want your show to be a smash like these . . . you can’t just have a good idea for a show.
You have to stack it.
So when you come up with a good idea, say, “Boy meets girl.” Well, that’s fine. And with a great score, a great book, it could be a fine musical.
But could that musical stand out amongst the cluttered environment of Broadway?
Probably not. And it doesn’t matter how good it is.
Your show has to be special, and unlike anything we’ve seen before.
So when you come up with an idea, come up with at least three “stack” reasons why your story and/or storytelling will be unique (Directors and choreographers are a great help here.)
When you do, your audience will not only find the show irresistible . . . but they won’t be able to resist talking about it with all their friends . . . and you’ll Ginsu all the competition.
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