Jim McCarthy is the co-founder and CEO of Goldstar, currently serving over 6,000,000 members as the the largest provider of half-price tickets to live entertainment. He is also the editor and main contributor to SellingOut.com and a curator and co-founder of TEDxBroadway. His latest project "Coffee with Goldstar" is a new chat series that allows audiences to connect with theater in yet another way, by joining Broadway stars in a live, unscripted chat online. His first guest was George Takei, who joined him last week to discuss his new musical Allegiance, and there are more guests to come. Given that Stagecloud is all about making theater affordable and accessible, we talked with McCarthy to learn more about this creative endeavor, and the ways Goldstar is bringing new opportunities to theatergoers everywhere.
STAGECLOUD: Goldstar recently brought Broadway audiences some unique ways to engage with George Takei's new musical Allegiance. Could you first tell our readers a little about the content of the show and why they should be excited about it?
JIM MCCARTHY: Allegiance is a musical about the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. George himself was a small boy when his family were removed from their homes and forced to live in a prison camp during the entire war. Though the story of the show is fictional, the events and situations are drawn from the actual situation, and it’s very powerful and moving. (Here's the link with more info, https://www.goldstar.com/events/new-york-ny/lea-salonga-and-george-takei-in-new-broadway-musical-allegiance-tickets)
S: How did Coffee with Goldstar come to be? And how did Takei first get involved?
JM: We thought Goldstar members would enjoy getting behind the curtain of some of the shows and events that they see on Goldstar, and so we came up with a way to make that happen. George has been a friend of Goldstar’s for a few years, including when he gave his talk at TEDxBroadway in 2013 in which he talked about his dream of bringing Allegiance to Broadway. Now that’s not just a dream anymore, and we’ve been selling and promoting the show on Goldstar for the last few months, and our goal was to create another way for our members to find out about it and get interested in going.
S: What are your goals for this new level of interaction between audiences and artists?
JM: We hope this will help make it even easier for people to find out about and go to shows. The more people know about a great show, the more they’ll seek it out. We have to break out of the four walls of the venue and reach people where they are. That’s how we’ll keep growing the live entertainment business and making sure people don’t miss out on all the great things that are out there for them to do.
S:What are your plans for the future of Coffee with Goldstar?
JM: We hope to expand it, do it more often, for more and different kinds of shows. It may even go beyond interviews to some snippets of performances or musical numbers. Who knows? People love the interaction and sense of getting an inside look at the event. I have really high hopes for what’s possible here.
S: Lastly, since both our companies are interested in making theater more accessible to a wider audience, what are your opinions on digital theater streaming? And are there any other untapped ways you think technology could bring theater to more people?
JM: I’m a big fan of breaking out of the four walls. Imagine, for example, if professional basketball’s business was limited to live competitions, tickets to live games. It would be a different and not as robust business. This isn’t a mystery anymore. These models exist, whether it’s NT Live or the Met or, as I said, professional sports. You don’t lose anything by making the product more widely available or giving people more than one way to participate. You gain, and you do that by growing your audience by orders of magnitude.
For more information on Jim McCarthy and Goldstar, and to receive discounted tickets to theater, sports, concerts, comedy, and other live events across the country, audiences can follow the link here. And stay tuned for the next Coffee with Goldstar when a new Broadway guest joins the conversation!