Broadway Bound with Public Relations Strategies
By Logan Powers, Creative Content Producer
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve most likely heard about Hamilton the American Musical. Since it premiered in 2015, Hamilton has become an international sensation with the soundtrack being streamed over half a billion times within its first year. Like any Broadway musical, Hamilton’s popularity is in part due to some outstanding public relations and marketing teams making sure the musical gains as much popularity as possible. The challenge these teams face is promoting the show to tourists from around the world, which make up 63 percent of all Broadway attendees, and maintain long-term audience engagement.
One of the best ways to expose a Broadway musical to a larger audience is by releasing an album for all Broadway lovers to listen to at home. Publishing the soundtrack digitally is usually the first step, but many shows – including Beetlejuice and Hadestown – have begun releasing their albums on CD and Vinyl to increase overall album sales.
Some shows have also begun publishing exclusive music and videos that are not featured in the shows, the most popular of which is the Hamilton Mixtape (shown on the right), which was released in 2016, and the series of Hamildrops: 13 songs that were released once a month the following year. This helped Hamilton stay relevant after the initial release of its cast album a year earlier. Other shows have begun following in Hamilton’s footsteps as well, including Waitress the Musical and Wicked the Musical.
Along with these online releases, many shows have taken part in community events and showcases in NYC and National Television. Some of the most well known events include
Broadway in Bryant Park and In-Person Lotteries (in the case of Hamilton, the Ham4Ham lottery awarded every winner with $10 first row tickets).
These events are used to get the audience involved with the show and create another way for these shows to become more widely known. Along with those events, many shows have begun to use national television, like GMA and Broadway Week Concerts on the Today Show (shown on the left), to showcase their music on a much larger scale.
The final key ingredient to creating the most national buzz is publicly responding to current events in real time. Hamilton gave a great example of this during the 2016 presidential election by reacting to events in real time on their social media channels and through onstage speeches and talks after the show. While many of these statements given by Hamilton’s cast and creative team spoke to one side of the election, they made national news and resonated with their audience very well.
Staying consistent with music and video releases, putting on community events, and maintaining relevance through current events are just some of the most effective techniques used by Broadway shows to gain popularity and remain relevant overtime. There is no doubt that these tools will remain popular in the future while adjusting to the changing times.