Miz’ed Opportunity

les-miserables-picture01 (1)Do you hear the people sing?

I really want to.

I absolutely loved the new Les Misérables movie.

In fact, I just returned from doing something I have NEVER done before:  saw the movie again while it is still in the movie theater.

I wanted another opportunity to drink in in the film’s visual richness.  I wanted another injection of the emotional heroin that literally left me sobbing.  I wanted to wrap myself in the virtuous flag of shared and noble purpose.

Yet when I arrived home I discovered an additional “want” that remained unfilled.

I really want to sing!

I mean it.  If my local movie theater offered a special “sing-a-long” showing of the film, I’d be first in line to go!  Don’t worry about giving me the words or a bouncing ball.  I already know every line.

I also imagine that the place would be packed – filled with people who, like me, have spent years singing out loud with the Broadway cast album (on long car-trips, it’s a personal favorite!) – or a capella (in the shower, my Javert sounds far richer than Russell Crowe’s, though you’ll have to take my word for it).

The producers of Les Misérables deserve every accolade and award that may be bestowed.

But they missed a HUGE opportunity here.

We must never forget that we live in an age where audiences crave experience and participation.  Whether it’s in a movie theater – or in a concert hall, museum gallery or live-theater, you grossly underestimate your audience if you think that they are (or will continue to be) satisfied with activities in which all they are expected/allowed to do is to sit there quietly.

Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me?

I can’t wait ’til the people who brought us the Sing-a-Long-Sound of Music do that for Les Miz!



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  1. Donna Reiner says

    A thoroughly exciting proposition Matt. I plan to share it with a musical group for which I sit on the board.

  2. says

    Hi Matt -
    I couldn’t agree with you more on this. This is definitely going to stick around as one of those movie-musicals that gets adopted by their audiences, and reshown regularly for singalongs. It’s happened with Rocky Horror Pictures Show, Sound of Music (as you noted), Fiddler on the Roof, Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors, etc. It may take a few years for the production companies to loosen up their grip (I’m sure they want to milk as much as they can out of their full-price ticket sales, DVD sales, streaming options, soundtrack sales, etc.) Once they do, though, it’ll be a great guarantee for them to continue collecting smaller royalties on the movie for quite a long time, plus fulfilling for everyone who loves it.

  3. says

    Yes, there have been a few special events that allowed the audience to sing along, and I heard they were a great deal of fun. Or, you could be like one of my girlfriends when we went to see Mama Mia! and sing along regardless of who gives you a dirty look. Hahaha!

    Have a great weekend, and keep thinking about pushing the audience engagement envelope!

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