When Tom Melcher and I co-founded Show-Score six years ago, we had a dream of connecting theatre fans to shows that they would love. We believed that if consumers had the right information to find their show, more people would see more theatre.
Take Tom and his family. As avid theatre fans, they saw hundreds of shows a year. Yet, figuring out what to see was a full-time job. There was no centralized list of everything running, it took hours of googling to track down reviews, and by the time a show was declared a hit, it was sold out. They were not alone in their frustrations—when we talked to other theatre fans, we heard the same thing time and time again:
“I’d go to more shows if it weren’t so hard to figure out what to see.”
As a theatre professional, I had seen this challenge from the other side. Shoestring budgets and a decline in independent, third-party coverage left the fate of a show to the tastes and inclinations of an ever-smaller number of critics. Word of mouth worked, but spread within existing circles. As a result, finding new audiences was a continuous challenge.
We knew that “business as usual” wasn’t serving either theatres or their audiences.
When we launched Show-Score, we wanted to change the dynamic by welcoming audience members to write helpful reviews, and by presenting new audiences with all the information they would need to make the right decisions for them: clear listings, reviews from members and critics, and helpful categories for discovery.
But more than that, we wanted to foster a community. Show-Score’s membership — now 300,000 theatre fans strong — has collectively written close to half a million reviews of live theatre in NYC. As a community, we love theatre and see as much as we can. But whether we see 2 shows a year or 200 (a credible range for our community!), we participate in Show-Score to support this art form — and help more people see more theatre!
As we enter our second act at Show-Score, the world has changed around us. Our industry — including our audience — has been deeply and irrevocably impacted by the pandemic. At the same time, our field is rightly grappling with becoming a more just, inclusive home for artists, makers, and audiences alike.
In this moment, a community like Show-Score feels vitally important: an independent platform, rooted in love for the form, empowering audiences of all backgrounds to speak to their experiences, and inviting new audiences to make more informed decisions about the right show for them.
So, as the curtain rises on our second act, we say to all of you: Welcome!
I look forward to seeing you soon at the theatre!Deeksha Gaur