Best place to advertise creative/theatre/singing gig in NYC?
September 20, 2010 8:08 PM   Subscribe

A small, cheerful, talented group of strangers will run into my girlfriend & I somewhere in NYC and break into song to help me propose to her. How do I find these fine folks?

I plan to propose to my girlfriend in a couple of months. I live in Manhattan and she will be visiting. We have talked about it, so the answer is not in doubt; I just want to make it memorable. Here's what I'm thinking: We are out in Central Park or somewhere, chance upon some 3-5 people who randomly break into a song or something, telling her how awesome I am and how she should totally marry me. It's all vague at this point, but I guess if I find some creative types, they would know where to go with this. So my question is:

1. Is there a better place than craigslist(/gigs/creative) where I could advertise this?

2. I don't know how much this should cost, but $300-500 for 10-15 person-hours of time (including suggesting a song and meeting us at a pre-arranged time/place) of almost-professionals, of which there must be many in this city, sounds about right to me. Is that too low an estimate?

posted by shazzam to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you want to be messing around with musical accompaniment, so my best guess would be to look for NYC a capella groups and see if any of them (or a selection from their numbers) would be willing to help with your ambush proposal. Even better would be to see if the group might have an appropriate song in their repertoire (perhaps one that you could write new lyrics to) which saves them the trouble of having to learn any new music.

Good luck!
posted by Zephyrial at 8:13 PM on September 20, 2010

I am glad that this will not be a complete surprise and that you know the outcome. (Because otherwise, shudder.) I would suggest contacting music schools in the area: you may be able to get a choir/a cappella group that will be happy to perform. I think this would be a much better bet than Craigslist.

Oh, and congratulations!
posted by sfkiddo at 8:14 PM on September 20, 2010

What a great idea!
Just a thought. - telling her how awesome I am and how she should totally marry me - I'm sure she should marry you, but ... ah.... being a girl an all.... it would be much more special if the song was about how awesome she is and how you totally want to spend your life with her (and then maybe a short verse about how you're not a bad catch either). Congratulations!
posted by Kerasia at 8:32 PM on September 20, 2010 [34 favorites]

Maybe try contacting a college a cappella group?
posted by Vibrissa at 8:35 PM on September 20, 2010

Improv Everywhere. They are likely able to be hired for such a thing. The economy's tough.

Alternately, you could post to Craiglist.

And finally, proposals are traditionally about your love for the person you are proposing to and why you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Maybe the kids are doing it differently these days.
posted by micawber at 8:52 PM on September 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

Definitely what Kerasia said.
posted by Jubey at 8:52 PM on September 20, 2010

I agree with Vibrissa, search local colleges like NYU and Columbia for a cappella groups. Most have recent performances up on YouTube so you can see their style. If you can't find any local ones you could consider paying one of the many groups from Yale to commute in (a cappella at Yale is huge), it may still be cheaper then hiring pros. College a cappella groups typically have multiple music arrangers and customizing their lyrics is usually part of the fun if you want to do that too.
posted by girlhacker at 8:54 PM on September 20, 2010

Try the music school at a local university. I've hired many small musical groups (talented students always form groups on their own and do amazing things so don't limit the concept too much) for various events this way. Be sure they know what you want and you are sure what you'll be getting and be prepared to pay in cash. Maybe negotiate the size of the group to make the money work.
posted by Anitanola at 8:56 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, great suggestions already, please keep them coming. As for the "telling her how awesome I am" bit that many of you didn't like, I was thinking of the whole thing as more of a comedy routine than a romantic outpouring of my love. The kids are indeed doing it differently these days, it seems. :)
posted by shazzam at 9:00 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I recommend you organize some level of audition. That is, you're paying. Make sure you KNOW you're getting something darned good. Keeping the number of performers small is a good idea, particularly the key ones. A bunch of extras doing a few dance moves is probably okay.

And just in case you're looking for something, I've always thought This Guy's In Love You would be the perfect proposal tune.
posted by philip-random at 9:10 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by cazoo at 9:21 PM on September 20, 2010

Seconding Improv Everywhere. Those guys would probably devour that idea.

Hey, if they can do a song-and-dance about veggies in the grocery store...
posted by Heretical at 9:35 PM on September 20, 2010

I totally get what you're saying about singing your praises instead of hers, and I think it's funny. You should stick with it.
posted by newpotato at 9:49 PM on September 20, 2010

Not only would Improv Everywhere probably hop all over this, you'd likely get it videotaped / photographed as well. Thirding IE (I've done missions with them, definitely cool guys).
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:04 AM on September 21, 2010

Please follow up post-event with us, btw.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:05 AM on September 21, 2010

I'd look up barbershop quartets as well.
posted by hermitosis at 6:41 AM on September 21, 2010

nthing Improv Everywhere. I can only imagine how they'd take it and run. If comedy is what you want, I'm sure they'll deliver. ;)
posted by patheral at 6:49 AM on September 21, 2010

It would be so awesome if all the bystanders to this event turned out to be Mefites who break out into "spontaneous" applause. Just sayin'...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:09 AM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like the idea of having them tell her how awesome you are. And I'm a girl.
posted by HotToddy at 7:45 AM on September 21, 2010

I know a great a capella group who are funny and great musicians and would do a great job...mefi mail if you'd like the contact info
posted by pipti at 10:34 AM on September 21, 2010

IE don't really hire themselves out. You would need to genuinely spark their interest with something a lot more unique than "let's do a singing marriage proposal" (and in the event that they were interested, you'd need to cede your own control over the event and agree that video of the results, whatever happened, would be part of a very popular group's permanent archive).

I think you want a pre-formed, adventurous group that will work for hire according to your plan. (Definitely not an assembled set of individuals who've never sung together.)

And I think the research tool you want is the definitive NYC choral site, They have an exhaustive list of local groups including sizes and descriptions.
posted by kalapierson at 4:53 PM on September 21, 2010

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