Broadening the Audience of a Specific Subject: Night at the Ballet (Stories for the Ear #10)

I admit, that photo up there isn’t the most enticing ever considering what I want to talk about. But that’s what I’ve got to work with; it’s the only photo with the title of the show that they ever put out. Anyway, what am I even talking about? Oh yeah, Hamilton. Remember that Broadway play Hamilton? It was, like, the most popular stage play of 2016 or something. It was nominated for sixteen Tony awards, and won eleven… remember that little play? Well, the reason it had such a large fan base is because it made rap music, musicals, and history all more appealing to a much larger audience than those three genres usually garner. And this audio show has done the same thing. It has taken a specific genre and made it more enticing to those who would have taken no interest in the subject before. Let’s take a look into “Night at the Ballet”.I first discovered “Night at the Ballet” while listening through “The Blackburn Gaslight Adventures”, which I wrote about a few posts ago. The actress who plays Elizabeth Blackburn, Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard (one of the coolest names ever, by the way), was involved in this other production called “Night at the Ballet”. I checked it out, not expecting much. But I was surprised.

“Night at the Ballet” was a sort of collaboration with actors and creators from several different modern audio dramas around the Internet. Additionally, the show also took time to promote up-and-coming audio drama. Really, making audio drama is a fantastic job, but it’s also largely unwanted by modern audiences. It’s a tough field; that’s one of the reasons I’m promoting so many modern shows here. Anyway, “Night at the Ballet” started in 2009 from what I can find, and unfortunately, it only ran for half a year with three episodes, each ranging from fifteen to twenty-five minutes. The show never “ended”, but it hasn’t put out a new episode since 2010. And that’s really too bad.

I thought “Night at the Ballet” was going to be an educational show about the history of certain ballets, telling me things like how Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker was a failure in its time or other stuff like that. You didn’t know that? Well you do now! Wait… what do you mean you’re not familiar with Tchaikovsky?

“Night at the Ballet” was a dramatization of the stories within the ballets. The picture above is from an episode on Giselle, an 1841 ballet in which a girl betrayed by a prince dies and revives as an undead destroyer of all men, hunting for her prince. Wait, that’s an actual ballet? Ballets can have plots that cool!? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t have known that, because as much as I respect performers of ballet, I most likely will never go to see one of my own accord. But listening to the story in audio drama format brings me the awesome story without me having to interpret it from performers dancing. After hearing these episodes, I really did have a newfound appreciation for ballet, and I loved hearing the unique stories without having to watch a Barbie movie, since that’s the only other way to get the story of a ballet without seeing it. Not that I would know. I don’t watch Barbie movies. …

Again, I’m disappointed that “Night at the Ballet” didn’t put out a few more episodes, and I wish that they would start back up again. They’d have a fan in me anyhow. But maybe they’d have a fan in you too. Go check it out! All of the episodes are available on imaginationlane.net/backroads. And if you do give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments down below. Happy listening!

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