Leap of Faith
So far, the folks over at Leap of Faith have not capitalized on their coveted Best Musical nomination in their ad. I'm sure they have other pressing matters to worry about right now. And their ad isn't bad as it is. With the title song as background, people just listening to it will get the tenor of the show's style - rousing, gospel-infused tunes sung by an excellent, soulful choir. And the visual gives a terrific impression of the show. One wonders what they were anticipating would be their critical strengths and/or nominees. One aspect that shows up frequently in these fast-paced 45 seconds is Sergio Trujillo's spectacular dancing. To see this commercial, you'd have to wonder why his name isn't on the nominee list. Note, too, that many of the supporting characters - Leslie Odom, Jr., Kecia Lewis-Evans, Kendra Kassebaum and Jessica Phillips - are all given solo time. And they squeeze in some story - tender moments with the kid in the wheelchair, the romance with the leggy redhead. But mostly, they focus on the guy above the title (and really the show's biggest asset) Raul Esparza. And even in that brief 45 seconds, you can see why he's the lead: charisma as he leads to company in a gospel number, charisma in a dance number, charisma with the kid, the lady and that famous disco ball jacket! I bet they are all surprised that he isn't a nominee. I am, too. Still, this montage spot celebrates all of the show's strengths, doing just what an ad should do. It sells the show. (A)
Leave it to one of the giants of advertising their own product, Disney, to create a slick 30 seconds that manages to hit every button a potential audience member might have when deciding to buy a ticket. Start with the sexy leading man singing a power ballad, then cut to some serious dance moves performed by sexy young guys. Then throw in some drama - boy slams the desk of grown-up in power, feisty girl joins the rallied troops - and some more Broadway razzle dazzle - tap dancing on tables and in kick lines. Then top it all with a voice over reminding us that it is a major contender for ALL of the awards and end it with a montage of "#1" "4 stars!" and "Winner!" and people all over the country should be picking up their phones and going online to buy tickets for their 'tween girls, boys who hate musicals but see buff guys that look like them doing the show (not to mention all the gay guys smitten with Jeremy Jordan). Short, to the point. Plot, relevancy and awards. The perfect commercial for a commercial hit show. (A)
COMING UP: A look at the ads for Nice Work If You Can Get It, Once and the nominees for Best Musical Revival, Best Play and Best Play Revival.