Trying to Fill Broadway Seats With Those Who Fill the Pews
Jesus is cracking jokes, sharing parables and dying for our sins in three Broadway musicals this spring, while another six shows feature religious themes that are woven through dialogue and lyrics.
But what many of these productions lack are ticket-buying multitudes who identify themselves as people of faith, a group rarely courted by Broadway producers offering the sort of focused advertising campaigns that turned movies like “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Blind Side” into unexpected hits.
Tom Allen is working to change that. A partner in Allied Faith & Family, a Hollywood marketing firm that aims to attract churchgoers to movies and now theater, Mr. Allen has spent the past 18 months breaking into the cloistered world of Broadway.
He has worked with “Memphis,” “Sister Act” and “Leap of Faith” to draw coverage from Christian news media and to create study guides for the shows — annotated with Bible passages — to leave at parish halls. He has suggested script changes to appeal to the devout. (His request that “goddamned” be cut from “Leap of Faith” was denied.) And he has displayed a preacher’s touch at postshow receptions with religious theatergoers, like a recent one at Sardi’s where he mingled among a dozen priests and ministers he brought to see “Leap of Faith,” about a con-man evangelist whose latest scheme leads to a change of heart.Continue reading at www.nytimes.com