Identifier

etd-04142014-104311

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This study simulated a fan extension of the Broadway-renowned musical Les Miserables on a community level and measured the effects of fan interactions—both online and with the characters’ narratives as performed at Theatre Baton Rouge during summer 2013. The stimulus materials in this study were Tweets distributed via Twitter identities for each of the lead characters whereby their thoughts and narratives were communicated with audiences and Twitter followers—coinciding with the opening of the live theatrical production. Patrons of Theatre Baton Rouge were surveyed online after the closing of the production. This study served as a practical use of Twitter for Theatre Baton Rouge and promoting the live production as well as an examination of the aforementioned media theories. The goal was that greater audience engagement with the narratives would result in more interest in attending the actual production. This theoretical approach also had very real-world implications and usefulness for the organization and its operations. Through a quasi-experimental, post-test only design, this study observed the significant predictive relationship between audiences’ empathy, connectedness, identification, and perceived realism of the characters of Les Miserables and their attitudes towards the narratives, their personal involvement with Les Miserables, as well as their behavioral intention to attend the live production. This study also found a significant predictive relationship between audiences’ familiarity, or fan activity, with Les Miserables and the parasocial interactions (PSIs) and audience-persona interactions they experienced. While the hope of this study was that there would be real-world implications of this digital performance or campaign on Twitter for a traditionally non-digital theatre, the expectation was that data collected would also offer an opportunity to apply media theories in new and creative ways.

Date

2014

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Moore-Copple, Jensen

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