Broadway's Next Hit Musical is a comedy show. You've seen some comedy. You know that it can be raunchy. Is that what Broadway's Next is going to be like? Maybe you saw our show in the past and thought it would be so fun to take your kids to - but what if they get a song title suggestion that's dirty? It's improvised, so they never know what it's going to be about from show to show, right?
This post is to make it clear what ages are appropriate for Broadway's Next Hit Musical and let you in on how we handle any not-kid friendly situations. We asked Rob Schiffmann and Deb Rabbai - co-producers and co-artistic directors - to shed some light on the little ones coming.
Why is it important that the show is clean
Rob: Because we want to appeal to as wide an audience as we can. Also, profanity is a cheap way to get laughs. I prefer the challenge of a deeper level.
Deb: As we travel the country performing our show our aim is to be inclusive while entertaining. While it's true we have the ability to not stay clean it's more of an exciting artistic challenge to remain clean. We want everyone to feel excited, entertained and happy at our show whether it be a grandmother or a 10-year-old kid and staying clean is the best way to do that.
Has Broadway's Next always had that philosophy?
Rob: Yes and it has paid off in the form of the varying types of work that I get.
Deb: Absolutely yes. Some groups or entertainers are willing to dip into the well of blue material because it's shocking but frankly it's too easy. It's a greater artistic challenge and offers greater fulfillment to stay clean while getting your point across.
What age do you think is too young for this show?
Rob: I think that when a parent thinks their kid is able to sit through a 90 minute show and focus on it, they are old enough to come.
Deb: I would echo Rob's answer. If your child can remain focused and seated for 90 minutes it would be great to have them at the show. If pressed I would say five years old might be too young.
Broadway's Next is based on suggestions audience members write down on slips of paper. What if they write something off color? How do you handle that?
Rob: We try to avoid it but when it does come up, we proceed with intelligence and dignity and remember that their may be children in the audience.
Deb: If the suggestion borders on questionable and we end up accepting it the best way to handle it is to take the high road and use our intellect to manage that suggestion. If the suggestion is clearly inappropriate or unacceptable sometimes the best way to manage that is to discard it and go back to the bowl for a suggestion that's less offensive.
What's an example of a suggestion that you got that was not PG? How did you handle it in that moment?
Rob: I got the suggestion "Jewish Dogs Eat Their Own Poop." I turned it into a musical about a zoo for stereotyped animals and how the zoo owner learned a moral lesson. The song then won which meant we had to do the entire musical. It was a little preachy but a good challenge nonetheless.
Deb: Again Rob gives a great example. A very long time ago when we had the ethic to accept whatever suggestion we pulled from the bowl and make the best of it, I got a really inappropriate suggestion "you're a c**t" which I changed to you're a runt. It was the best I could do in the moment as there was a ten year old sitting in the front row.