"Why is this live?"
That's the question that Jordan Roth asked during the first TedxBroadway and I swear the question has haunted me every since.
For those of us that work in the live entertainment/art world that is the cornerstone question. Why is this particular experience worthy of the cost, time, energy and just plain hassle that comes with making it happen live?
That's the charge that hit my credit card for two tickets to a preview performance of the latest Cirque show in Las Vegas.
Not exactly cheap. But the place was packed. As a marketer that sometimes has difficultly moving ANY tickets at ANY price point, I feel a bit of jealousy as I settle in to my seat.
The feeling fades quickly and is replaced with questions.
I mean this shouldn't be possible right? You can get tons of entertainment free, yet there are thousands of people here willing to shell out hundreds of dollars what's about to happen?
Are they all rubes? Tourists? The 1% flaunting their wealth?
Nah, those are the easy answers. The real reason a lot of them are here is because the emotion I feel in this room.
Excitement. Anticipation. A sense of community. The feeling that something special is about to happen.
That's what they are paying for.
Then the show starts and the experience is so uniquely live that I can't really do it justice.
Sure, I could tell you about it. Or show you photos. Or videos. But none of that would replicate the feeling in that room.
I've always believe that live art is at it's weakest when you just watch the thing and go home.
It's at it's strongest when the work on stage is surrounded by energy, excitement and/or a sense of community . . . a sense that a sort of family has come together to see the work.
That's the only thing that makes live worth the costs. That's the only thing worth creating.