20,000 tickets to a virtual comedy show. What is Stephanie Miller doing right?

Video Highlight of the Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour:

Cocktail Parties, VIP Meet & Greets. Highlights from Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour #5!

The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour made a hard left turn into live virtual events on Run The World. After five consecutive months of sold-out shows, there may be no going back.

On October 24, Stephanie Miller was not backstage 30mins before showtime rehearsing her punchlines. She was at home, logged into the pre-show cocktail party with 900 fans from all around the country, getting matched up for fun, 5-minute 1:1 conversations. And after the show, it wasn't back to the dressing room. It was time for the VIP Meet & Greet, with 200 VIP ticket holders popping into exclusive experiences to grab the mic to talk with the cast about their favorite bits of the night. When the night is over, more than 2500+ fans will have bought a ticket, tuned in to the main event, and loved the 5th consecutive edition of the Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.

Few entertainers have pivoted harder or more successfully into virtual performances to build a new business model than Stephanie Miller. Her team has sold 20,000 tickets ($15 Regular; $40 VIP) across five virtual shows on Run The World and expanded the VIP program into a multi-day affair. What used to be a live theater show in a city is now a recurring monthly program with signature social experiences that drive fan engagement and generates revenue never before possible. But at the beginning of March 2020 none of this seemed feasible as their election-year plans to perform live around the country fell apart. Given this remarkable turnaround, we caught up with the producers of the Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour, Chris Lavoie and Ron Hartenbaum, to understand what they've learned in their shift to virtual events on Run The World:

Pro Tip: Cocktail Party is free. Click here to start your own

RTW: When was the last time you did an in-person show?

Ron: Seattle, Washington on February 29th. By March, ultimately, we came to the realization that there was going to be no live theatrical performances whether you were a rock and roll band, a philharmonic orchestra, or on Broadway.

RTW: What did you do next?

Ron: At the end of the day, we wanted to do something that was meaningful for the audience and so what we've come up with is allowing our different performers and cast members to create a monthly television show that is great political satire and humor.

RTW: How is this format different for the cast and the fans?

Chris: Sexy Liberal fans would never be able to meet face to face because they were scattered all around the country. This format allows people, especially in the VIP rooms and in the cocktail hour beforehand, to have conversations that they never would have had before. It's drawing people closer together, thanks to Run the World.

Ron: I will tell you, our cast members love what they're doing creatively. It's a different creative output. It's a different medium, it's a different modality. If we are able to do a creative show on a monthly basis, who knows what can happen as time goes on with the right production budgets on an even greater frequency.

RTW: You had 900 people in the last cocktail party. Why is it so popular?

Chris: In our theater tour, people would gather in the lobby and just kind of talk to each other, have a drink, meet each other, and gather in little groups. And the cocktail hour that Run The World offers dovetails very nicely into that. Plus we've discovered that if the cast members of the show pop into the cocktail hour, that adds an even bigger bang for the buck. That is something that we couldn't have done in the theater tour because the cast members are backstage preparing for their sets.

RTW: VIP demand is so high now you need two days?

Chris: Yeah, we decided to do another event the morning after called the VIP brunch. And it's basically the same thing as the meet and greet the night before, but it's another way to add another 200 people to the VIP experience.

RTW: You're big fans of the groupfie aren't you?

Chris: People love it! Who doesn't share selfies?! It's invaluable social media marketing for us because people share those group selfies and they tag Run The World and The Sexy Liberal Show and everybody involved.

RTW: What's the impact been on your business?

Ron: So that's interesting. Now all of sudden from the vantage point of a new business model, we've got a piece of content that lives on and is generating revenue. We're getting revenue as though it was music publishing. So that's very positive. Ultimately, it's more like television than it is live theatre. But television doesn't have the social interactivity before a show, or the post-show meet and greet. There's a halo effect in the business and the creativity, and it will only build as we attract a larger audience.

RTW: Any final thoughts?

Ron: The social interactivity has really been a blessing.  The bracketing on both sides of the event that Run The World did with the pre-show cocktail hour in the lobby and then the post-show VIP meet and greet have been wonderful.  

Chris: You have to be adaptable. People who are adaptable win in this environment.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour Thanksgiving edition is coming up Nov 11.
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