Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Jerry Springer's Stage Success Proves the Benefits of Research

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Jerry Springer's Stage Success Proves the Benefits of Research

Article excerpt

Jerry Springer: The Opera has just opened at The National Theatre in London. Every critic who has seen it has raved about it and this most unlikely of operas is about to become a worldwide smash.

Its success is surprising for two reasons. First, who would have imagined that an opera about Jerry Springer would prove so popular. Second, the way in which the opera was developed offers a best practice approach to product development.

A best-selling opera and a slice of marketing genius were unlikely propositions when Richard Thomas sat down at the piano at the Battersea Arts Centre in 2001. Thomas ran 'scratch nights' where he improvised around the ideas for imaginary and unlikely productions that the tiny audiences suggested.

An opera about Jerry Springer proved to be a fun and fruitful concept and slowly over these sessions the idea solidified. Comedian Stewart Lee attended one of the evenings and the pair agreed to co-write the opera.

Twelve months later the opera was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.

It was a huge hit with audiences. Critics were not quite as impressed and despite the audience acclaim, Thomas and Lee read each and every review in great detail. They met with many of the critics to discuss their reactions and to collect suggestions for improvements. With a huge amount of input the pair revisited the script and made major alterations to the structure and content of the opera. One audience member who had been particularly impressed was Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre, and it was he who commissioned its current London run. …

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