"Blank! The Musical," which premieres Saturday at New World Stages in New York City, is pioneering a screen-to-stage experience for audience members. The improv-style show puts a spin on audience participation with a mobile app, designed specially for the production by Livecube, representing another step in the theater industry's adoption of digital technology.
At the beginning of "Blank! the Musical," which is being produced in coordination with Upright Citizens Brigade and ImprovBoston, audience members submit ideas for songs, lines and even the show's title using the app. Next, they get the chance to vote with the app on certain submissions, which the actors then incorporate into the show.
The show's producers eyed the mobile format for audience participation primarily as a way of solving a common problem with audience participation in improv performances.
"If you've been to an improv show, they usually take the suggestions from the first person to yell out an answer," said Matt Britten, the show's executive producer. "I thought about how we could incorporate the entirety of the audience so the whole room gets this experience."
To develop their app, the show's producers turned to Livecube, a company that specializes in developing mobile technology for live events and conferences. For the folks at Livecube, creating an app intended for live theater meant tweaking what they usually design for clients.
"We had to set the app up so it's appropriate," in a theater setting, said Livecube co-founder and CEO Aaron Price. "For instance, we've turned off most of the other interactivity because we want people to pay more attention to the show."