Now that press releases are dead (see yesterday's post), can we please also retire the phrase "outside the box"? If I've heard that once, I've heard it a million times from clients who really mean, "I'm looking for a magic pill to make my show a hit because I don't have enough money to advertise it adequately." Most clients can't afford to be in the box, much less out of it.
For the traditional show, there are tried and true techniques that work and that can generate an audience during the preview period to start building word-of-mouth (think direct mail). Then, when the reviews hit and if the word-of-mouth is positive a build will begin...usually a long, slow build. It can sometimes take a show 3 months to a year before it starts breaking even on a weekly basis. You've got to cover the basics before you can start playing outside of the box on marginal, untested ideas. [Note: in most cases, outside the box to many people means something about as "groundbreaking" and "bold" as sending a CD sampler of a new musical. They don't know what "outside the box" means, but they think they've got to be there.]
But I digress. Back to killing off the box. Fast Company has the inside story.