A musical is a wonderful thing. Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Schwartz – they all knew what they were doing! With a handful of talented actors, a thoughtful set, and some high-quality lights, you can pull off a good musical – but what can take your musical from good to great? Detail. A detailed production feels different; it feels impressive. The guests’ experience is sharper and cleaner. There are three places to start focusing on detail orientation: Technical Design, Choreography, and the Lobby Presentation.
Detail in the Technical Designs:
We’re supporters of using donated materials and hand-made set pieces, but this doesn’t mean you can’t pursue the same finesse as a large-budget production. You can create beautiful set-designs on a budget. Make sure every edge of your set is clean – hide the seams. Take a couple extra hours during your tech process to position the lights exactly where you want them, avoiding any dark spots on stage. Keep your props locked away when not in rehearsal so they aren’t damaged during the day. Schedule your actor calls 10 minutes before shows for a proper sound call – test levels for every microphone and speaker before every performance.
Detail in the Choreography:
Dance numbers are a huge factor to creating a great musical. We’ve all seen a bad dance number – ambitious choreography poorly executed, too many actors in a small space, etc. A good dance number is essential. This doesn’t mean forcing complicated combinations or adding spectacular acrobatics – you can have detailed choreography that is simple and attainable for your actors. Give your actors enough space to complete the movements. Stay within their physical abilities. Schedule enough time to teach the choreography in detail. Give your actors enough time to practice.
Detail in the Lobby Presentation:
The audience’s experience begins as soon as they step into the lobby. Think through their first impression. De-clutter your space – limit how many flyers and posters are out at once, so that the space is inviting without being overwhelming. Play music from the same time period as when the show takes place; set the scene early. Make sure the check-in process is as smooth as possible. Ease your guests’ experience by using dependable ticketing software. Unsure of where to start with your box office technology? Don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you. Another fun way to spice up the experience is to make your concession stand unique. Name a fun drink after one of the show’s themes. Dedicate snacks to particular characters in the script. If you’re concerned about the costs of a concession stand, consider our 5 tips for sustainable event planning – good for the earth and good for your budget.
You don’t need to have a million-dollar operating budget to pay attention to the small details, and when those small details are all combined, the result is a beautiful, clean production. Every piece can, and should, feel memorable. Any group of passionate artists can whip up a good musical – take your production to the next level. With attention to detail, you can elevate your theatre’s production from good to great.