The "Ovation Donation" Could Update The Broadway Show Standing Ovation, Which Has Lost A Lot Of Its Meaning. and Now Provides Little Value or Feedback For Stage Performers. It Could Also Benefit a Charity As Well as Breathing Life Back Into The Gesture.

The Dilution of the Value of the Broadway Show 'Standing Ovation'

What warrants a standing ovation at a Broadway show?

The debate has been around for years, but the practice of the standing ovation has long been a great way for the theatre audience to show their appreciation to a Broadway cast of how much they enjoyed seeing the show. It is a was to demonstrate the appreciation of the actors’ talents, drive and determination that brought the stage to life from the words formed from the playwright’s heart and hand to the boards on which the actors tread.

Historically speaking, the standing ovation was a very special act that only the best performances could ever hope to receive, but how times have changed. The standing ovation is now often expected and even anticipated, and has thus become somewhat disingenuous. It has lost its meaning when even lackluster performances get a standing ovation.

Actors Now Expect A Standing Ovation At Every Performance

What once was a signal that the audience recognized and rewarded the exemplary performance of the evening has become passé, empty of meaning and divorced of its original intent. Now audiences will give a standing ovation to every show and every performance that treads the boards on Broadway, regardless of how good or bad the production actually was.

Standing Ovation on Broadway
Standing Ovation on Broadway

The "Ovation Donation"

With this, many stage actors today often expect nothing less than a standing “O” at every show. In 2018, Noel Turner, the President of New York Show Tickets Inc. proposed that the standing ovation be changed to an “Ovation Donation” that increases charitable donations to a good cause, while bringing back the true nature of the standing ovation, showing appreciation for only the very best of performances.

How Does The “Ovation Donation” Work

The idea is that anyone who visits a Broadway show and who wants to give a standing ovation is still welcome to, but they are asked to put $5 into the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS bucket that will be held by theatre staff at every exit of the theatre.

Standing Ovation

Audiences Could Become More Selective in Their Appreciation, Because They Will Pay For It

Much like tipping your Uber driver, audiences will become much more selective in their choice of standing ovations and their subsequent donating. If the performance is wonderful then audiences will donate with gusto, otherwise audiences may stay seated at the end of the performance, but can still clap appreciatively.

Stage actors will get reports on how much they are collecting at the buckets for charity, which will give them an excellent feedback mechanism so they can see just how well they performed that evening, from the perspective of the audience member.

Two-Fold Residual Effect. Money For Charity And Making The Standing Ovation Mean Something Real Again

The residual effect of the Ovation Donation will be two-fold. First, it will mean that a deserving charity receives an income boost for the great work that they do and secondly, the act of the standing ovation at a Broadway show, can return to becoming something special again, where it actually means something to both the audience and the actors.

The net result will be that the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will be happy and the actors will now get a true reading on their performance when audiences put their money where their clapping hands are.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the theatre experience to regain some of things that make live theatre special and may have been lost along the way and all it takes is for one Broadway show to try out the idea.