New Genres Drive Dr. Phillips Center's 2018/2019 Line-Up
They don't sing, dance or play musical instruments. And no one under 30 will recognize their names. But between them, Dan and Phil have more than 10 million YouTube subscribers and their upcoming world tour (yes, we said world tour) is selling out performance halls on four continents.
The British duo known for its quirky video blogs is one of several upcoming acts at the Dr. Phillips Center that feature celebrities who've risen to fame exclusively through social media.
In addition to Dan and Phil, the arts center will host astrophysicist, author and pop-culture phenom Neil deGrasse Tyson in January. DeGrasse Tyson, whose playful personality makes physics relatable, achieved mainstream awareness with his radio show and podcast "StarTalk."
Also coming to the arts center are Cat & Nat, a pair of Canadian moms whose hysterical take on marriage and #momtruths has made them social media superstars; and My Brother My Brother and Me, featuring three brothers from West Virginia who host a weekly advice podcast that averages 300,000 downloads per episode.
"It's a phenomenon; there's no other way to describe it," said Dr. Phillips Center's Vice President of Programming Foster Cronin. "Social media has changed the very definition of 'entertainment.'"
Cronin, whose team will book more than 400 shows from July 2018 to June 2019, admits securing these types of acts is different than booking more conventionally popular performers like country star Vince Gill, who will play the Dr. Phillips Center in November.
"You're taking a leap of faith that people who follow these 'stars' on social media will buy a ticket and come see them live," he said. "But the numbers don't lie - they're doing very well in other markets. We expect a similar response here."
Interest grows in talk, alternative and film concerts
Cronin said another genre growing in popularity is "talk," an unscripted platform that allows a celebrity to share his or her thoughts on politics and current events in a less-formal, more intimate format. For instance, "AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen" will feature the longtime friends and television personalities interviewing one another and taking questions from the audience.
The arts center is also expanding its repertoire by adding several alternative musical acts, including Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne, Brussels-based Erasure and "4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince."
"Some people still believe the Dr. Phillips Center only books one or two types of performances," said Cronin. "In reality, we cater to a wide variety of musical and artistic tastes: jazz and blues, pop, country, kids, you name it, we've got it. "
Like it did this year, the arts center will also present iconic, blockbuster films with live orchestral accompaniment. Fans will watch "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" on the big screen while listening to the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra perform the score live.
"In a theater, the action and the visuals take center stage," explained Cronin, "but when you add the orchestra, the music becomes the star. People are blown away when they realize the scope of the score. And it's a wonderful opportunity for families to introduce their children to what may be their very first orchestra experience. I highly recommend it."
For a full list of announced shows for Dr. Phillips Center's 2018/2019 season and to purchase tickets, visit drphillipscenter.org.