Movies may bring in millions or even billions of dollars, providing a shared experience of seeing the latest blockbusters with friends, or waiting until they reach your preferred streaming service, so you can watch from the comfort of your home. However, live shows still hold a lot of appeal and here’s why.
Being immersed in the story
Broadway producer Louise Gund is passionate about storytelling and is inspired by the live experience of the theater, which enables the audience to enter the story in a way which movies don’t. Although movies can contain all kinds of special effects; from alien spaceships landing on earth — to battles in space, the effects used in live shows are happening at that moment and there is no editing involved. Anything could go wrong, either with the props or an actor getting his lines wrong. It builds suspense and holds the audience’s attention in a way that movies can’t. It’s all part of the experience and rather than distracting from the story, forgotten lines or missed cues can provide a moment of light relief, especially if they occur during an intense moment. It all contributes to the live experience. Even if you see the same live show twice, you’re likely to see two variations of it, because it will never be exactly the same.
Although the cast of a live show are unlikely to receive the same attention as Hollywood movie stars, performing in front of an audience can mean trying harder to deliver their lines or to use their body language to convey the message and mood they want to convey. There are no retakes and no waiting to find out what the audience thinks, when they share their opinion on social media or movie review websites. The audience reaction is instant, giving the cast the opportunity to see if what they’re trying to convey is getting across, possibly being able to improvise and change it.
More connected to the cast
In most live shows, the actors and actresses won’t be household names or if they are known they are rarely at the height of their fame. That means they are more accessible. So, getting front seat tickets can make you feel much closer to them than if you watched them in a movie. When they go on to become bigger stars than they already are, you will be able to look back and recall when you saw them live.
Natalie Portman was an understudy in Ruthless in 1992, Kristen Bell landed the role of Becky Thatcher in the 2001 live musical of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Morgan Freeman appeared in Hello, Dolly!, making his Broadway debut in 1968.
Although it’s rarer, you do sometimes get the chance to see actors at their peak. Bradley Cooper, who has several stage credits, starred in The Elephant Man in 2015. At this point in his career, he had already been in movies such as Limitless, American Sniper and Silver Linings Playbook (amongst many others) so the choice to take on a stage role suggests an appeal to all levels of experience.
Another successful actor who has taken to the stage is Idris Elba, not only did he star in Tree, but also rushed off the stage to aid a fan who was having a seizure.
You can make an occasion out of it
There are lots of packages which include a combination of theater tickets, a meal and/or a hotel stay. Many people purchase for themselves or as gifts for someone else. It may end up costing much more than a trip to the cinema, but it’s likely to be more memorable.
Anything can happen
At the time of writing this, much of the world is in lockdown or has restrictions on social gatherings, however, eventually, theater will go back to having a live audience rather than being streamed to our laptops at home. The magic of this live experience means that anything can happen. We as the audience, can see rising or current stars in lead or supporting roles. We can make memories that stay with us for years to come, whether just spending an evening at the theater, or as part of a short break to extend the experience. Compare that to going to the cinema or watching from home. How many people can recall those experiences years after the event? Unless of course, something unusual happened during the film or streamed show.
Big-budget movies will always have their place in the entertainment business, but nothing can truly compare to the magic of having the action going on live within a short distance of where you are sitting, combined with the act of creating memories.