Five years ago, on the Fifth of July, 2008, my favourite musical opened in previews on Broadway. It was a real underdog story, [title of show] was the little musical that could. It was a small, original piece. It documented it’s own creation, it only used a keyboard, and it was one of the first shows to harness the powers of social media to effectively build it’s fan base.
I was a part of that fan base, a very visible part. I created a YouTube show about trying to get to Broadway to see the production, which sadly never happened, because it closed early. Little did I know that making that series would radically change my life. In the last five years I’ve turned from a kid that liked musicals and made youtube videos in his bedroom, to a professional producer. I even co-produced the Australasian Premiere of [title of show]!
When [title of show] announced it was closing on Broadway I created a little program to encourage a shared experience within the fan community. There’d be hundreds if not thousands of fans from across the globe that wouldn’t be able to make it to the show (myself included) so I formed an adoption program. People unable to attend the show attached a photo to a form and filled out their contact details, where they were from and why they wanted to see the show. Then, someone going to see the show would download a form and become a foster theatre goer. They’d see the show, write down their details, attach a photo of themselves, and then take the form to the stage door to get autographs from the cast.
The [title of show] team loved and embraced the idea, as did the community. Slyly, even at the end of my teens, I had a marketing head on me, and I tried to create the program in a way that would help sell a few more tickets. You could only take one fan per ticket, and I actively encouraged people to see the piece again with this initiative as a motive. The program was more successful than I thought. I started getting a series of emails for people applying, and then found out that foster fans were sending not only the completed autographed forms, but signed playbills, pieces of merchandise and more. Some even became really close friends who would visit each other, in different states or countries!
That was what was special about the [title of show] community. We loved the show, but we loved each other too. We felt (as the show puts it) like we were part of it all.
Today, I looked back on the five years of my life since [title of show] and the opportunities that have presented themselves. And a few hours later I delved into my archives and found the original forms filled out by International [title of show] fans wishing to be part of the program. So many of these forms talked about how these teenagers and young adults were aspiring artists, producers, musicians, technicians, actors and a dozen other professions that weren’t just in the arts. They talked about how the show had helped them conquer fears and inspired them.
I began to wonder, if so much had happened to me in the past 5 years, what had happened to all these other people who had been influenced by the show. It got me questioning what kind of long term effect has [title of show] had on the lives of it’s fans. Where are the fans now?
Subsequently, I’m now attempting to hunt down these fans through the wonders of the internet. Some I still keep in touch with on Facebook (and I’m sure that’s where I’ll find a lot more), I’ve even coincidentally realised at this early stage of the search that I tweet regularly with one of the participants. But internet- I need your help! I need you to spread the word, help me find these people so I can ask them this:
Where were you five years ago? What were you doing?
Where are you now, what do you do?
What kind of effect has [title of show] and it’s message had on your life?
If you’re on this list below get in contact with me right away on firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your story! I’m dying to find out and collate the information to see what we’re all doing now! And if you’re in the UK and close to London (where I now am) perhaps we can organise a get together to chat about the whole experience.
If you’re not on the list but think you might know someone that is, tell them, or share it on facebook, twitter, tumblr, whatever you’re using to connect with your friends! Help me find these people so I can share their stories with the world, because I think there’s going to some great ones!
It’s basically a five year school anniversary!
*List Update Information: 7/7/13*
After a day of searching and trying to make connections I’ve already seen a fair bit of progress on the project and people are loving it! As such I’ve updated the list below.
Italicised names means I’m now connected with a person on the list.
A ‘Found’ message after means I’ve attempted to make contact via FB, twitter, etc and am awaiting a response.
The Bold Response Received means that I’ve got their amazing stories in my inbox!
[the ones that got adopted]
Jaime Garner From Indiana USA
Anne-Wil Huisman From Holland (Connected on Facebook Response Received)
Erin Bahrt From Evansville,IN, USA (Found on Facebook)
Ellen Shaw From Australia (Connected on Facebook, Response Received)
Kate Barrette From Boston, MA (Connected on Facebook, Response Received)
Kristin Lau From Hawaii (which she describes as basically being another country)
Renee Thomas From Australia (Connected on Facebook)
Lauren From The UK
Lucy From The UK
Tally Deushane From Atlanta (Connected on Facebook & Twitter)
Luisa Ramirez From England (Who wanted [tos] to come to London) (Found on Facebook)
Shelley Dunlop From Australia (Connected on Facebook)
Shannen From Wales
Kate From The UK (who wanted [tos] to come to the West End)
Jane Howard From Australia (Connected on Twitter)
Elyse Dolan From Ohio (Connected on Facebook, Response Received)
Lucy Harrold From The UK (Connected on Facebook)
Mario Mazetti From Lake Zurich IL, USA (Found on Twitter)
Kathleen Cox From Ada Ohio
Erin Millar From Ada Ohio (Who connected with the writing aspect of the show)
Charles Fouquet From Brazil
Johnathan Ware From Australia (Connected on Facebook, Response Received)
Hollye Abner From MS, USA
Kathryn Fergerson from CA, USA (Found on Facebook)
Laura from New Zealand
Claudia from Germany
Emily Reed from (the bottom part of) the USA (Found on Facebook)
Jordy Orbe from the Phillipines
Chris Pelrine from Canada (Connected on Facebook)
[the ones that didn’t get adopted]
Ann Tornroos From Sweden (Found on Facebook)
Sarah Daniels from England (Who wanted to write, act or be a techie) (Found on Facebook)
Ashley Warren who was in the UK but was originally from Arizona (Found on Facebook)
Rachel Baldock from Cincinnati (Who hoped to one day be a producer) (Found on Tumblr)
Molly from the USA (Who was attending a very competitive arts school at the time)
Kyle Hatfield from Ohio
Josh Telepman from the USA (Connected on Facebook)
Cary from the USA
Raena H from Minnesota (Found on Facebook)
Nora Therese Hanlon from the USA (Found on Facebook)
Paula Bickel from the UK (Found on Facebook)
Marissa Fergerson from the USA (Found on Facebook)
Jillene from Arizona
Jenny from England
Hailey from Florida
Lindsey Stanton from MS, USA (Connected on Facebook)
Danielle from Chino Hills, California (who was seriously pursuing theatre as a profession)