The house lights dim, the music rises and a hushed energy crackles as a stage that was dormant only seconds before suddenly comes alive. It’s a moment shared by every audience in every theater on Broadway, filled at once with excitement, anticipation and the slighted bit of nervousness. Some of you have likely experienced that same sensation as a boardroom meeting or client presentation was about to begin. And even when it’s all over, the feeling is something that stays with you.
“The first time I experienced the power of live theater I was a small child watching Peter Pan fly over the audience in a Broadway theater,” says Pamela Johnson Sweder, Vice President, Business Transformation at Eclaro. “I couldn’t understand how they had done it! I couldn’t see the wires or microphones, so when it came time to save Tinkerbelle I clapped with everything I had. Something about being in a room with a large crowd where we all suspended reality and took a break from our daily lives made this fantasy world real.
“Now that I’m older I can see the seams of a production, places where the theater magic doesn’t convince me anymore, but the experience is no less special. I can now appreciate what an incredible effort it takes from performers, crew and production team to put any show on stage. Anything could go wrong, and I am thrilled to experience the uniqueness of every show as talented performers pull off the impossible eight shows a week.”
The connection between life onstage and in the workplace is remarkably strong. You’re about to find out just how strong as Johnson Sweder steps into the spotlight—taking along our Engage, Evolve, Excel philosophy—to share her passionate perspective on the power that Broadway holds for both theatergoers as well at owners, managers, employees, investors…really anyone looking to help a business or a career flourish. Curtain up!
“Live theater is live! It’s a brief moment in time that is unique every performance. Theater artists can see the audience from the stage, whether they are paying rapt attention or sneaking a peak at their phone. When you attend a performance, your actions are an inextricable part of that performance. What you do in your seat, how you react, what makes you respond—it all matters and informs the performers on stage. It’s a thrilling experience to witness an incredible performance live, in person, in an intimate theater setting. It’s a cathartic joy to laugh or cry with your fellow audience members.
“As you gather your team or with clients, think about ways to bring a sense of excitement or uniqueness to the event. It will help draw in your audience and enhance the engagement in what you are doing.”
“Theater technology is always evolving to bring audiences the next great experience. From video projection to exciting sets and transformational costumes, theater artists make magic on stage, and they know how to raise the stakes to hold an audience’s interest.
“Did you know in 2019 there was a Special Tony Award for the Creators of the character/puppet Kong for the Broadway musical King Kong? It took 12 professional puppeteers and technicians to manipulate, and their achievement was so singular that the Tonys granted them this honor, despite the show’s receiving generally mixed reviews. Technology and innovation in theater are a thrill, even if the plot leaves something to be desired!
“When your team introduces new technology, know what problem it is meant to be solving and make sure it is designed to have a big positive impact on your audience.”
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. The actors, dancers and singers on Broadway stages certainly have mastered their craft through years of practice and hard work. Many performers will build their resume as part of regional productions in smaller cities or as part of national tours before making it to a Broadway stage in NYC. Patience, diligence and a bit of luck are all needed to eventually be cast in a Main Stem production.
“Just like those performers, we all need to pay our dues and put in the hard work to get ahead at work and deliver excellence for those working with us, while also focusing on excelling as a team.”
“Watching a Broadway show is the perfect way to explore a new world outside of the norm. The heightened reality can explore deeper truths or just be entertaining if you enjoy some song and dance. This Broadway season you could be stuck on a boat with the filmmakers of Jaws in The Shark is Broken, dancing back in time in the stage adaptation of Back to the Future or transported back to 19th Century London in the revival of Sweeney Todd.
“There’s always an opportunity to try something new on Broadway. Every show has the potential to surprise and challenge you, just like every day at any workplace when you step out of your comfort zone and seek out new challenges and opportunities.”
“Going to see a Broadway show is a wonderful communal experience, but that experience doesn’t begin and end at the theater doors. You’re going to have to eat! Joining with friends and family in a meal before or after your show rounds out the event. If you can wait, a post-show meal gives your group the opportunity to discuss what you’ve just experienced. Every person will notice different aspects of a performance, so it’s always fun to learn what details really captured their attention.”