Hot Pepper Theater

Hot Pepper Theater

In August 2014, two crazy people (specifically, PowerOut’s Artistic Producers Todd Brian Backus and Ben Ferber) had an idea: “Could theater reviews be both informative and entertaining?” The answer was “Yes!” and also “Oh god, what have we done.” Borrowing the format from the popular YouTube review show Hot Pepper Gaming, episodes unfold thusly:

1. A reviewer eats a really, really spicy pepper (habanero or hotter) or downs an equally spicy shot of hot sauce.
2. They give critical analysis on a theatrical production in New York, a classic script, or an upcoming production.
3. They rate the show, and the pepper, on a scale of 1 to 5. Only then have they earned:
4. The right to drink milk to relieve the searing pain.

Hot Pepper Theater covered Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off ventures, and more. The channel released five types of videos:

Hot Pepper Theater: Regular episodes, the bulk of releases, are reviews of productions.
Hot Pepper Theater #newplays: Directors, playwrights, and producers eat spicy things and convince audiences to go see their productions.
Hot Pepper Theater Classics: A theater professional eats something spicy and gives a SparkNotes-esque summary of a classic play.
Hot Pepper Theater One-Minute Reviews: A reviewer has 60 seconds to eat a pepper and review a production. This format is usually reserved for long-running shows in New York.
Hot Pepper Theater Live: Brave souls joined the ranks of Hot Pepper Theater for live shows at 54Below and the People’s Improv Theatre.

Before ending in 2016, Hot Pepper Theater released 100 episodes with over 30 different reviewers and had a 1-year anniversary live show at 54 Below.