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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York’s theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we’re passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.


Written by Jamie O'Brien, Assistant Director of Digital Services

An email goes out after every New Victory public performance. It contains two evergreen questions:
Share one thing we did that helped you enjoy your visit and one thing that we could have done to make it better.
That email is step one in a process that turns digital feedback into real world action items for our staff. As the Assistant Director of Digital Services, it's a process that combines all sorts of things I like to geek out on: smart use of technology, automation and integration across data platforms, evaluating success based on specific customer comments and challenging one's self to continuously improve. Transparency is the name of the game, so, to me, it's also an essential step that we provide glimpses into what happens after you hit "Submit" on the feedback survey and send your thoughts our way.

Comments cover many topics.Your comments land in the inbox of almost every full-time staff member connected to New Victory public performances. A daily report that includes all responses, verbatim, arrives each morning, plus we recap per-production trends. If your feedback after the first weekend points to easy improvements, like re-calibrating temperature or music volume, we simply take care of it. Anyone requesting information or in need of customer service hears from a Ticket Services manager. Larger topics that emerge become agenda items for department meetings and Senior Staff-level discussions.

While the responses are themselves anecdotal, I log some quality spreadsheet time in order to track trends. Each answer gets tallied by theme—and even on days when the rows start to blur together, it's a pretty great task since you're quite generous with the compliments: Even on the "could improve" side, 40+% of people answer like Karen F did, aka "Not a thing, truly." Artistic choices, the staff, the amenities and the Public Engagement activities dominate the "things we did well" thoughts. Suggestions are heart-felt too, covering everything from wishing the Talk-Back could be longer to wishing the family in front of you had gotten a babysitter for their 2-year-old instead of bringing him to an opera recommended for 8+...

Your feedback—compliment or complaint—lets us know where we're succeeding and where there are still gaps in our efforts to provide family-friendly entertainment in a family-friendly environment. Here are two examples of how we've made changes based on your comments:

"It might have been nice to have a glossary of terms in the playbill explaining some of the culture and traditions of Jamaica." - Daryl L
Daryl saw Bob Marley's Three Little Birds during one of its first performances here last season. We loved the idea—and had the website updated and a blog ready midweek, and a poster up in the theater for the weekend.

"The line for snacks was so long that by the time we were served, intermission was over." - Pamela R
It's important to fin-ish your snack before Intermission ends!It's no fun to buy animal crackers only to have to stow them away before Act II because crinkling bags aren't a good addition to the show's sound design. That's why you'll see an extra Usher ringing up your order next time you line up for a bite between acts.


We're still contemplating the great unsolved mysteries of 2015 family theatergoing—late seating disruptions, glowing smart phones, tall parents seated in front of short children (and tall children in front of short parents—hi Mom!), etc.—but I'll return to post another progress report in the Spring.

In the meantime, you've got a standing invitation to share your thoughts with us. Add a note in the comments, tweet @NewVictory, click on the survey link in your next post-show email or send us an email. I really, truly look forward to it—and so does the rest of the staff at The New Victory.
 


 
Jamie O'BrienJamie O'Brien is the Assistant Director of Digital Services for The New 42nd Street and has been wrapped up in all things email, website and digital for The New Victory since 2007. She reads every piece of submitted feedback at least twice. She is luckily a few inches taller than her mother.

Posted by Jamie O'Brien
March 2, 2015

Kids' Lit March Madness


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We had such a blast last year with our Shakespeare-themed "Ides of March Madness" bracket. It started as a little activity to help drum up excitement for Fiasco Theater's Measure for Measure at the New Vic, but it quickly took on a life of its own! Nearly 20,000 of you visited our blog to vote on which of The Bard's plays would be named the best of its kind. The final round matched up Hamlet against Much Ado About Nothing, with the Danish prince coming out as champion!

So, we wanted to try it again this year. With musical fairy tale The Light Princess beginning the month on our stage, followed by a rockin' production of the children's classic Pinocchio, we figured our March Madness theme this year could only be one thing: Kids' Lit! 

Take a look at our match-ups, below. The fate of modern classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or beloved fairy tales like Cinderella all depend on your votes! Use the form below to cast your votes on our match-ups and check back next Monday (March 9) to see which stories make it through to the next round. Happy voting!

 
Posted by Hillary Reeves

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The votes are in! And it won't be happily ever after for all of our Kids' Lit favorites. Round two means saying goodbye to the likes of Goldilocks & The Three Bears, which was defeated by a hefty margin in its match against Alice In Wonderland. And in the closest call of the competition, rookie favorite Harry Potter lost to Where the Wild Things Are in a surprising upset.

Now the competition gets a little more fierce. Rapunzel versus Snow White... The Billy Goats Gruff versus The Ugly Duckling... Who will come out on top?

YOUR votes will decide! Use the ballot below to cast your votes, and may the best plays win! Check back on March 17 to see who makes it into round three!
 
Posted by Hillary Reeves

All season long, we'll be featuring young people from our Usher Corps program in our New Vic Bills and online on the New Victory Blog. Earlier this season, the New Victory Usher Corps program won the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, so we're thrilled to tell you more about this fantastic group of hardworking young people! Read more about the award here, learn more about the New Victory Usher Corps on our website, or find out how the young people in your life can apply to be a part of this award-winning program!


Today we're talking to third-year usher Ciarra Livramento, from East Harlem!

Ciarra LivramentoWho or what inspires you?
My determination to be successful in life inspires me.

What was your favorite movie as a kid and what's your fondest childhood memory?
My favorite movie as a kid was The Lion King because I loved the songs and I got to know the animals’ way of life. My fondest memory as a kid was going to sleep-away camp.

What is/was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school was English because I feel the best way to express my thoughts is through writing.

How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as simple but chic.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not at work?
When I'm not at work, I like to spend time with my family and friends. My favorite place to hang out in NYC is the Lower East Side because they have great thrift shops and many interesting people and places to explore.

What's the most challenging thing about being an usher?
The most challenging thing about being an usher is making sure everyone is getting an amazing theater experience.

What's your favorite place to eat or grab food near the theater?
My favorite place to eat near the theater is Cafe O.

What's your favorite song right now?
My favorite song right now is "Stay Ready" by Jhene Aiko.

What's your dream vacation?
My dream vacation is to go to the Cape Verde Islands and get in touch with my heritage.

If you could go to lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
If I could go to lunch with any person living or dead it would be with my grandfather because I would love to just have one more moment with him.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being a part of a great program that has opened me up to many forms of art. I have learned more about the history and techniques of circus, dance, music, acrobatics and puppetry.
Posted by Hillary Reeves

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The results are in and competition is intensifying as we head into the semi-finals! In Round Two, Cinderella was swept away and you told Puss to pack his boots. And not surprisingly, Peter Pan and his Lost Boys proved too much for Winnie and his pals from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Will a Little Pig or an Ugly Duckling end up atop the Fuzzy throne? Will Snow White or Sleeping Beauty reign supreme? Let the Wild Rumpus...continue!

Use the ballot below to CAST YOUR VOTES and may the best stories win! Check back on March 24 to see who makes our FINAL FOUR!
 
Posted by Lilaia Kairis

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The votes have been tallied, and four winners have been anointed! Not straw, not sticks, not even bricks could withstand the march of the Ugly Duckling, who squeaked out a Fuzzy victory against three poor Little Piggies in Round Three's tightest match. On the Rookie front, Peter Pan airlifted the Wild Things' crown back to Neverland, while Stranger-in-Wonderland Alice sent a floundering Little Mermaid back under the sea. And in Round Three's most crepe-crushing defeat, Belle seized the Princess tiara and put Snow White down for a long nap. The Dwarves were not available for comment.

Now our four victors face off; and, like books on wings, sparks are bound to fly. Will Peter Pan's crowing drown out the Ugly Duckling's cute little chirps? Will Beauty and the Beast's French heritage sauté Alice's mushrooms? The tension is palpable.

Only YOU can decide who will make it to the final round, and who will be packing their bookbags and heading back to the library. Cast your votes in the ballot below, and check back on March 31 to see who advances to the CHAMPIONSHIP. May the best archetype win!
 

All season long, we'll be featuring young people from our Usher Corps program in our New Vic Bills and online on the New Victory Blog. Earlier this season, the New Victory Usher Corps program won the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, so we're thrilled to tell you more about this fantastic group of hardworking young people! Read more about the award here, learn more about the New Victory Usher Corps on our website, or find out how the young people in your life can apply to be a part of this award-winning program!


Today we're talking to third-year usher Joshua Santiago, from the Bronx!

Ciarra LivramentoWho or what inspires you?
To be honest, my struggle inspires me, because without the struggle I wouldn't know what it really means to go out and get "it" on your own. Not because I want to, but because I have to. It makes me more of a man every day.

What was your favorite movie as a kid?
My favorite movie as a kid was Star Wars. Seeing my brother watch it got me interested, and then I just started liking it.

What's your fondest or earliest childhood memory?
My earliest childhood memory is when my father used to take me to his stickball games to watch him play. I was always excited when he took me because it was fun.

What is/was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school has always been English. It's always come easily to me and I've never had an issue with it.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not at work?
My favorite thing to do when I'm not at the New Vic is listening to my hip hop/rap.

What's your favorite NYC hangout or neighborhood?
My favorite NYC neighborhood is Times Square-42nd Street, because of the lights, and because it's a place where you can just walk around and have fun. It's a place that has everything.

What's your favorite place to eat or grab food near the theater?
My favorite place to eat near the theater is Chipotle.

What's your favorite song right now?
Every song I listen to is my favorite song! At this point the only music I listen to is hip hop/rap.

What's your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be going to Miami and South Beach. I see the way it is down there and I feel like I need to take a trip. I love how the beaches look, and everything about it just makes me want to go there.

What are you most proud of?
One thing I am most proud of is how I have improved as a person since working at the New Vic. I have improved with my attitude and also with my professionalism.
Posted by Zack Ramadan

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And then there were two. Our Final Four have faced off, and only our finalists remain! The Ugly Duckling flew far, but he couldn’t keep up with Peter Pan's vigorous pace; nor could Beauty and the Beast out-maneuver Alice’s amazing antics.

The Finals are now at hand. For the bronze, we pit The Ugly Duckling against Belle and her Beast in a battle of inner beauty; while, in our Championship Match, it's Neverland versus Wonderland. Will Peter soar to the top of the podium, or will Alice eat him for breakfast?

Yes, March now draws to a close, but the Madness isn’t over yet. All this week, we’ll be counting the votes as you determine this year’s Kids’ Lit Champion! Be sure to CAST YOUR VOTES, and check back on April 9 to find out who’s taking home the gold. Second star to the right, and straight on through the looking-glass!