In an era of TV and movies, why do plays on Broadway still sell out?

In a theatre performance, the actors are right in front of you. There is no screen, no cuts, no retakes, and no commercial breaks. Just a bunch of humans in costumes right in front of us without filters or special effects. And then, there is the scarcity. This in-person performance is for this audience only – right here, right now. This very show hasn’t been performed before, and will never be performed again in the exact same manner.

When the curtains rise in a theatre performance, we pay more attention. Because it is real. Because it is scarce. Because it is right here. Similarly, we pay more attention to an orchestra or a band heard live, a painting seen in a museum, a game seen in a stadium, or even a meeting we attend in-person.

The quality of attention we pay in-person is a benchmark. The next time we have a remote interaction, can we pay the same quality of attention as we would to something right in front of us?

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