There are only a few words that can describe my first season announcement:
A Rush. Unpredictable. Anticipation. Exhilaration.
For this upcoming 2019-20 Broadway season, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia chose me to be their first-ever Broadway League Fellow, also making me the first Broadway League Fellow outside of New York City. This fellowship seeks to identify, mentor, and develop underrepresented young professionals who aspire to careers in the theater industry. During this 6-month placement, I am working heavily with the Marketing team on all Broadway initiatives, including shows such as Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Percy Jackson Musical: Lightning Thief, Rodger's & Hammerstein's Cinderella and many more! Recently, we have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming 2019-20 Broadway Season at the Kimmel Center.
The environment at the Kimmel Center administrative offices is very fast paced and the prepping started as soon as I walked into the door in January. The main focus of a season announcement is to not only announce the amazing Broadway performances coming over the next year, but also to encourage subscribers to renew their season subscription and acquire new subscribers. We do this through the emails and print publications, the Kimmel Center website, and a press event on the official announcement day.
My role in helping with the season announcement was astounding. I had to learn about the unique and diverse audiences being marketed to, various communication methods that are being used, and the roles of everyone in the office that help make it all successful. I was able to be a part of the entire process and work directly on content.
One of the biggest projects that I helped with is the season brochure. The purpose of the brochure is to provide information about the benefits of being a subscriber, highlight each of the Broadway shows included in the subscription and include info for the non-season shows that can be added onto the subscription package. This brochure is sent out to a large mailing list, handed out at various events, and displayed across the entire Kimmel Center Cultural Campus.
I had to gather all content (show copy, photos, logos, and more) from each Broadway show’s marketing site and send it all for each unique show page to our designer. There were several rounds of edits that went through the Marketing, Public Relations, and Programming staff in the office, along with each show’s press agents. It was my responsibility to communicate directly with the designer about any changes we had with the brochure.
This was a huge project for me that ended up being a great success. It helped me learn more about how important it is to distribute the correct information and appropriate language to subscribers, new or old.
Another project that I tackled was requesting the build of the website pages for each show. The website page in particular is one of the most important parts of the announcement as that is where a majority of people go for information, directed from either email or social media. This process was similar to the brochure process, as I had to retrieve all the Broadway information for each show and then send all content to our website specialist. She then designed each page to match the Kimmel Center brand, and we routed again to the entire team. The website pages were amazing and are another project I can point to and say I am proud of.
Finally, it was time to prepare for the press event. As I said previously, the team at the Kimmel Center has been working on the season announcement event since I walked into the office. There was so much preparation that I would not have considered before this immersive fellowship position. Throughout the last three months, there were talks about which theater the event would be in, what was the venue’s capacity, who would be invited, and most importantly, who was paying for it all. I’ve learned that funding is the most important aspect when it comes to event planning.
We scheduled a live performance from a show in our season (Mean Girls), obtained shout-out videos from Tina Fey and Jimmy Buffet, drafted an in-depth presentation, and even coordinated an Escape to Margaritaville beach ball launch into the crowd at the end. We additionally had show b-roll montages playing on large tv screens around the room depicting many of the show’s form the upcoming season. As the event was from 12-1 pm, we also provided a lite Broadway-themed lunch crafted by the Kimmel Center’s exclusive caterer Garces. The food was absolutely incredible, complete with a “Crabby Patty Station” (The SpongeBob Musical), Coconut Shrimp and Pina Colada dipping sauce (Escape to Margaritaville), Israeli Salad (The Band’s Visit), and “Fetch” Pink Cake Pops (Mean Girls). The event was overall a huge success; multiple print, digital, and broadcast press came to cover the story of our season announcement, as well as invited social media influencers and current Broadway subscribers who could renew for the 19-20 season at the event!
Overall, I got a lot of hands-on experience when it came to the season announcement experience. I was treated like a regular employee and given access to every step of the process. The extensive planning, content creation, and execution was all necessary when it comes to the season announcement and everyone worked as a team when it came down to it. I was proud to be a part of all the nooks and crannies of the season announcement and because of everyone’s hard work, it turned out to be a success! Thank you, Kimmel Center and the Broadway League, for providing me the opportunity to help with this event and season announcement. On to my final three months as a Broadway League Fellow!