Amidst pandemic shut-downs, theater enthusiasts are still finding innovative ways to bring productions to the forefront. Clubhouse has become the new digital Broadway kid, attracting thousands to “drop-in” audio theater shows, but it’s not cheap!
The New York Times reported projects of this category have had to pay more attention to detail, language and ideas, and that these “productions do not immediately suggest themselves as quick profit centers in an industry trying to pivot on a dime.”
Launching “low — to no cost” productions is straining an already burgeoning entertainment market that has lost nearly 50 million dollars and counting, according to Market Watch. Inspired by the trials of producing an audio production version of “The Wiz” on Clubhouse, Twin sisters, Talia Moore and Sherita Carthon created a solution.
“We rallied our production team in the spirit of community theater and “doing it for the culture,” said Executive Producer Moore. “Even though we personally raised $7k, we quickly learned it wasn’t enough to execute a quality project.”
Moore crafted “The Clubhouse Effect: How To Monetize Clubhouse For Instant Financial Success”. The plan is a clear monetization guide for theater producers who still want to execute a quality digital show and not go broke.
“Theater (especially in 2021) is so important to our mental health,” Carthon said. “We just need it. Period! If producers don’t have to pick between money and the art, more people will launch productions.”
Clubhouse Audio Theater is smashing attendance numbers, as people “drop-in” for hours to enjoy post-pandemic quasi-theater.” “The Wiz” sets for its debut on the platform, March 12th and 13th at 4pm and 7pm.
The project follows past Mega Hit productions on the app including, The Lion King, directed by Noelle Chesnut Whitmore and DreamGirls, directed by Sydney Connors. All three directors (Whitmore, Conners and Moore) are women of color.
TheWizCH will also feature Grammy-Award Nominee and National Recording Artist, YahZarah St. James, as Dorothy in show “A” St. James has done vocal projects with artists such as Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and Erykah Badu, among other stars.
Clubhouse is cofounded by Rohan Seth, a former Google engineer, and Paul Davison, an app developer. The app, now at a 1.1B valuation , is in its beta phase, allowing users to engage in real-time voice conversations worldwide. The app is now only available to iPhone users who have been “invited by a friend” already using the platform, though an Android-friendly version is expected to drop later this year.
The Wiz, is a varied version of “The Wizard of Oz” and it depicts a story of Dorothy and her journey through a magical land in search of her desire to get back home to New York. The Broadway version of the production triumphantly celebrated its 45th anniversary January 5th, featuring Stephanie Mills, Ted Ross, Tiger Haynes and Hinton Battle,” according to PlayBill Magazine. The 1978 movie version was played by Diana Ross, Micheal Jackson, Ted Ross and Nipsey Russell.
In 2015, The Wiz Live! joined NBC’s series of live musical events starring Uzo Aduba as Glinda the good witch, Queen Latifah as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em, Mary J. Blige as Evillene, David Alan Grier as The Cowardly Lion, Amber Riley as Addaperle, Ne-Yo as the Tin Man, Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow, Common as Bouncer, and 18-year-old newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy.
Moore is set to release “The Clubhouse Effect” e-book on February 15th on the production website www.thewizch.com at a cost of $15.00. Book proceeds will be used to both support the cast and the organization’s non-profit of choice, Black Theater Girl Magic, which creates a racially just and more equitable entertainment industry for black and brown women.
The production will host two shows on Clubhouse, March 12th and 13th at 4pm and 7pm. Donations are being accepted via CashApp $TheWizCH and also via Paypal.me/TheWizCH
To learn more about the cast or crew visit www.thewizch.com