Super Bowl LIII pitted the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams. Celebrity sightings, halftime show entertainment and rivalry between the two teams are all part of the big game.
Long after the final touchdown is scored, it's the commercials that we remember. Whether the team you're rooting for wins or loses, everyone looks forward to being dazzled by the latest efforts of advertisers who have all of our attention for 30 seconds at a time on Super Bowl Sunday.
While millions of people were counting down the hours before kickoff inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, I made my way to the historic Town Hall Theater in New York for a once in a lifetime event. There an audience of only 1,500 were treated to a commercial for Super Bowl LIII, in the form of a 30-minute show titled "Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical."
Most commercials are aired on television during the big game, but this year Skittles decided to do something unique. Instead of filming a commercial, Mars candy company went in another direction with a one-time only play on Broadway. A show with a talented cast for a small audience, which according to Skittles and the show's writer Will Eno, will never ever be seen again.
If you didn't make it to the show, I, as your trusted entertainment reporter, will share details of the event with you.
The play is set in a convenience store on Super Bowl Sunday. Michael C. Hall ("Dexter," "Six Feet Under") dressed in a "Cats" like costume plays himself and questions if he, as a celebrity, should appear in a commercial for Skittles. Other actors in the ensemble cast help to set up punchlines that poke fun at how important advertising, commercials, and branding are in the modern world.
Actors in the audience interact with the actors on stage to question what is real and what might possibly be imagined in the play including Michael C. Hall dying and talking to Amelia Earhart and Winston Churchill in the afterlife.
This was a fun one-of-a-kind show with a lot of laughs. Dance routines choreographed to great music by Drew Gasparini make the songs "This Might Have Been A Bad Idea" and "Advertising Ruins Everything" so catchy that I was humming them long after eating the last Skittle in my press bag of goodies. You can check out these songs and the cast recording on Spotify and CD Baby.
Before the curtains opened, I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with the show’s writer, Broadway playwright Will Eno.
Rodeo: You have won many awards for writing. One of your plays "Thom Pain (based on nothing)" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. How do you come up with the ideas and characters for your plays , and did you ever think they would be on Broadway?
Will: "I didn't imagine what the future might hold for me when I was just starting out. I think Hamlet even though he's a fictional character would have really loved what Michael C. Hall was doing with Thom Pain."
Rodeo: What is the most difficult part of your job and what do you like most about what you do?
Will: "Self-discipline is a really hard part, and I think everybody struggles with that. I didn't know that I was going to find my thing that I love on earth, and I feel that I found it. It took a long time but here I am. It's very nice."
Rodeo: How important is music education and the arts in public school?
Will: "I think it's incredibly important. It's just huge. It's so basic to what a human being is. It's crucial to our development as human beings. I think it's good for the soul, good for the person."
Rodeo: What advice or inspiration do you have for young people who dream of growing up to be professional writers?
Will:"It can take a long time. You have to love the process. That's the same for poem, novel, or anything. You should enjoy it and be in the present with it and not be thinking about what might happen, are people going to like it or is this going to sell."
To watch the rest of my interview with Will Eno go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9TwMjDuNkw.
Rodeo would like to thank the following people for being super, awesome, and cool, Will Eno, Rachel Viola at United Talent, Trey Wojciechowski at Ninth Frame Films, Sara Mohn, Caliesha Brown, and Pierre Exantus.
To find out more about Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, go to www.broadwaycares.org.