Jordan Roth: Why Audiences Change Everything

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The Originality of Live

Why is this live? That is one of the primary questions creative professionals must ask themselves before choosing a method of presentation. Jordan lists off several Broadway plays that have been able to successfully differentiate themselves from their book, film, or album versions – “Movin’ Out,” “American Idiot,” “Lion King,” and “War Horse.” He emphasizes that these works are original because they contain “something that you can only experience in the same room, with a community of others.” Artists can take comfort in these observations, knowing that they aren’t expected to reinvent the wheel. Jordan encourages artists to focus more on how the content is presented, rather than what the content is.

The Value of Audience

Whether you’re creating art from scratch or pulling inspiration from other materials, creators must consider the worth of their art based on their audiences. In his TED talk, Jordan explains, “As digital becomes more and more ubiquitous, live becomes more and more valuable.” We can see these effects in real life: art that can only been seen for a limited time will have very different price points than digital downloads. Jordan revisited audience value in his #UberLIVE discussion with Chase Jarvis during SXSW, explaining that, “Expression requires a listener. A receiver.”

Jordan is known for his tremendous accomplishments in the NYC theatre scene. At 24, he produced “The Donkey Show: A Midsummer’s Night Disco,” which was so successful, it catapulted him into Broadway productions. At 37, he became the principal owner of Jujamcyn Theatres – the youngest person to own a Broadway chain. He lives and breathes successful stage performance, so it’s no surprise that Jordan has been able to deconstruct the practice and philosophy of the stage to help out other artists.

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Loraine Kanervisto has been writing business, technology, and lifestyle features since 2008. She loves exploring how diverse communities interact with technology. Loraine spends her time tinkering with gadgets, exploring Seattle's lit scene, and hanging out with her two black cats.