Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Eric Conway: Accolades for a Morgan production that audiences will never forget!

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello Wiz Cast and Community,

Allow me to say to each and everyone of you, how very proud I was of every participant in this great musical!  From the start, I knew with Shirley Basfield Dunlap and Melvin Miles leading the production, that this Morgan musical was destined for success, however, I did not know to what extent this would be the case.  By most accounts, this was the best musical that the Morgan Fine and Performing Arts department had ever produced!

I must say that I was a bit concerned when days prior to the show advanced tickets sales were slow.   I think that you would agree that “we" culturally procrastinate in committing to productions like this (God forbid something else comes up).  We all knew that the Thursday matinee would be close to sold-out before the first ticket was sold.  However, as late as the day before opening night, we had sold as few as two hundred seats for opening night.  Bringing André De Shields in for a cameo appearance and a city proclamation, we were concerned whether the opening night audience attendance might disappoint Mr. DeShields.  Well, by the start of the opening-night show, 589 tickets were sold.  In fact, this was the trend:  last-minute walk-up attendees would flood the ticket booths, to increase attendance by one-hundred percent or more. There were over fifteen hundred in attendance during our final show!  

Now of course, we had a great team getting the word out about this production, but I believe that the main reason for this incredible attendance is the powerful phenomenon of “word of mouth”,   i.e., persons who came to the show,  told their friends that they must come to Murphy, and they did so…  This is the “old-school" way of going viral.   When you have a good product, it is is easy to sell.  Thank you for producing such a great product.

The singing, acting, costumes, choreography, and orchestra were “off the hook!”  This was the perfect show for Morgan's sesquicentennial celebration.  I could go on and on about this production, but at the end of the day, this production truly was a celebration:  a celebration our Morgan’s one hundred and fifty years, as well as a celebration of the human spirit.

As chair of this great department, I thank you for a stellar production.  I pray that you all have memories about this production, that will last a lifetime!

All my best,


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