Tourists arriving at JFK’s Terminal 8 today, September 7, will be able to get a little preview of Broadway before even leaving the airport. Cast members from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will be performing as a part of an American Airlines sponsored concert series that takes place two or three times each month at center stage in Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The series is intended as a way of providing some entertainment for people arriving and waiting to depart for flights, and so far musicians from a variety of genres have been featured. The Tony Award winning Broadway musical Once is slated to be featured later in September, and another Broadway show to-be-named will be featured in October.
American Airlines is the official airline of the Broadway production of Spider-Man, so the superhero musical is a natural choice for the JFK concert series. The show was previously featured on the Terminal 8 stage last month, so the Spider-Man cast have already had a warm-up for this performance.
The September 7 performance of selections from Spider-Man will be held from 2:30pm to 3:15pm.
Displaying a keen sense of humor, the infamous Broadway musical Spider-man Turn Off the Dark celebrated the Tony Awards last week by giving away free tickets to anyone named Tony (or with similar names such as Toni and Antonio). As a result, Spider-man was able to claim — with tongue firmly in cheek — that it had broken the record for most Tonys on Tony Sunday. It was a clever way for the musical, which only received nominations for Set and Costume design (it didn’t win in either category), to turn its general snubbing into a funny, press release-worthy news item.
Advertising and marketing gimmicks like this have a long history on Broadway, with producer David Merrick being one of the most notorious practitioners. Today, many of the gimmicks are internet-driven, such as the Instagram meet-up hosted by End of the Rainbow or Next To Normal‘s special live-tweet performance. The current Jesus Christ Superstar revival held a secret concert for fans, spreading the word through social media.
Some gimmicks, like Bonnie & Clyde‘s posting of “Wanted” posters around town, are designed to intrigue potential Broadway ticket buyers. Other gimmicks, like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels handing out free cast recording CDs to entire audiences, are done with the hopes of creating positive word-of-mouth and repeat business.
Gimmicky Broadway merchandise can be a great way to get people talking about a new Broadway show. This season saw such buzzworthy promotional items as Evita tissues (“Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”) and Stick Fly fly swatters. Promo items are often passed out at events like “Broadway on Broadway” and the Broadway Flea Market, where superfans receive them and then pass on the word to their friends. And in the age of Facebook and Twitter, this kind of marketing is even more effective, since people can instantly upload photos to show their friends. In this way, the fans themselves are transformed into advertisers, proving that it pays to have a good gimmick.