*By the time I finished replying from another thread, I realized this was really its own topic, and one I've heard a lot about, but can't remember seeing on these boards. My first post is about one part of this question; I hope that this thread expands with others' perspectives and directions. I'm interested in what everyone thinks. Those who've seen ZED and those who haven't, those who are curious and those who are uninterested (why?), those with inside info on OLC/Cirque's plans and those who have ideas and questions (like me^^). Everything that follows is based on the assumption that ZED attendance really is problematic. I've heard these rumors for a long time, but I've looked all morning and can't seem to find any hard evidence that proves it.
The "ZED + Park" campaign that runs at least through the end of this year seems like a great idea to me. I wonder how it's actually affected sales? My only beef with it is that it limits the offer to people who are willing to buy premium seats. What bugs me about ZED is that it's a truly amazing show that everyone ought to see, but the high-priced seats stop a lot of people from seeing it. And a lot of people who would see it again and again (like me) aren't willing to pay upwards of ￥7500 to see a show we've seen before, especially if we can't convince friends to spend the money to come with us.^^ The "Value Seats" start at ￥7500 during Non-peak times. I imagine that's a little steep for high school and college students that make up a LOT of TDR revenue, especially when it's considered on top of admission to the theme parks, which is the real draw to Maihama for most. ZED certainly has an audience, but its price is prohibitive to a lot of people who'd be interested in seeing it if it didn't cost so much that it had to be its own very expensive main event. ZED needs to offer some seats that are cheap enough that one could go to the show on a day at the parks and not feel they were spending a lot of money to "lose Disney time." I think "ZED + Park" is headed in the right direction, though - namely, linking ZED to Disney.
Along those lines, I'd also suggest that what worked for Duffy could work for ZED - constant visibility and more charming/cute/affordable/character-based product offerings. I don't know how complicated the licensing would be, but if there were plush mascots of the "Illustrious Eight" as ZED characters hanging off designer handbags all around Tokyo, I think there'd be a fuller house more nights of the week. Besides totally non-Disney ZED Tarot cards, these are what I wanted after I saw the show:
Mickey as Zed
Minnie as Nouit (callback to Dramatic DisneySEA bonus!)
Daisy as Erato (callback to Mysterious Masquerade bonus!)
Donald as the Shaman (callback to Mysterious Masquerade bonus!)
Goofy as Djinn (Djinn is anything but "goofy," but Mickey has to be Zed, right? And I Donald as the Shaman for the callback... Goofy can be very cool with the right design!)
Pluto as Abraka (more positive) or Kernoun (more visually interesting)
Chip & Dale as Clowns
Even if these plush were only available for a limited time or by becoming a "ZED Fan Club" member or something, the impact could really be significant. Other options with a "ZED Fan Club" card are allowing members to get discounts or special offers like Funderful Disney, or even a point card system to save money after multiple viewings. What ZED really needs, I think, is for more people to be able to go more often and "adopt" it. Those people need attention-getting "badges" they're likely to keep visible as they go about their daily lives to advertise it. I have never seen a single piece of ZED merchandise outside the official shop. Compare that to Duffy, those of you who've been in Japan during the past year.^^
Also, that core needs to be able to invite friends for a reasonable price so more of the people who are not already interested will go and fall in love with it. ZED's (lack of) financial success, I suspect, is directly related to pricing changes and other developments in the park now that it's part of OLC's budget. Again, it is definitely not for lack of being a great show. I remember when I saw Alegria for the first time on DVD and Quidam as my first live Cirque performance, and ZED impresses me as much as either. The difference is that those are not permanent installations. If I wanted to see Quidam, I had to pony up and pay now. Audiences don't feel resigned to, "It'll still be there whenever I feel like going" or "We saw that already; it's just the same thing." With such high ticket prices, this line of thinking is not unreasonable. In Maihama's largely local ecosystem, pricing needs to be adjusted so that locals can support it. To survive, it needs a healthy number of avid repeat customers. Even if they limited Fan Club membership, or made only half of the "Value Seats" cheaper, if there was a way for me to see ZED regularly for less than ￥4000, I'd go often. But any more than that and no one will go with me, which is less fun, so I have only seen it once, like a lot of people.
PS: For non-Japanese theater goers (visitor OR resident!) who'd like to see ZED during select performances next year from January 18 through March 6, there is currently a special 25% off campaign. I'll try to get some folks together to go again during this time, to support the show and the pricing decision. Unfortunately, though, the friends who'd be most likely interested are Japanese. That "non-Japanese" part confuses me, especially since card-carrying foreign residents of Japan are not excluded. Good for me, but still odd. Anyway, take advantage of the chance to see and support this incredible show! (...and keep TDR prices under control!^^) (LINK to ZED official site, page for campaign)