The Playgoer: The "4-Ticket Buy"

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Monday, March 02, 2009

The "4-Ticket Buy"

Chris Jones explains why casting-by-reality-show may not have helped "Legally Blonde" on Broadway but still is delivering residual bonuses on its current post-NY "boffo" road tour.

The success of TV casting shows is well documented. "You're the One That I Want" did a lot -- financially, if not artistically -- for the Broadway production of "Grease." "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" did a lot for the London revival of "The Sound of Music."

But there was an important difference with the "Elle Woods" show. Styled as a search for a replacement rather than an original star, the show was broadcast toward the end of the New York run. It thus did little for the Broadway box office. But the timing has been huge for the road.

"It helped us become the thing everybody loves: the four-ticket buy," [producer Mike Isaacson] says. "The show has given the kids a huge knowledge base about the show. You can hear the whispering in certain scenes."

"Knowledge-base"? Really? About "Legally Blonde"???

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