Bedford’s Dori Berinstein is a Tony-winning producer (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”) who also made an award-winning documentary film about Broadway (“ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway”).
“I love trivia and I love Broadway,” she says.
Who better, then, to create “The Broadway Challenge,” a new app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that features thousands of brain-twisting questions about Broadway, from its stars and shows to the lore behind the Great White Way?
“The Broadway Challenge” takes players deep into the world of theater, with many layers and games within the game. Match a star with her show, a lyric with a song, or fill in the blanks. You can play solo, against a friend or match theater wits with the world, all the time racing against the clock.
Berinstein says there was a learning curve as she worked with a team of Irish app designers to perfect the game. It was launched at Broadway’s Flea Market in September.
In the first month after its release, some wrinkles were ironed out, including problems with how the game handled questions about chronological order.
“I look at that first month as our out-of-town tryout,” she says with a smile.
Writing good trivia questions — a task Berinstein gave herself nightly from midnight to 1 a.m. for a solid year — is tricky, she says.
“You need four answers and you need to understand theater well enough and deep enough to make it logical,” she says, sitting in the Cafe Edison, Broadway’s diner of choice. “You need to have a body of theater knowledge to really understand what the three other confusing choices would be.”
Berinstein wanted the app to appeal to fans and insiders alike.
“It was really important to me that it wasn’t just about the hot theater shows today, that it was about plays and musicals and also the creators of these shows,” she says.
“I’ve gotten emails from actors who are on tour, traveling from city to city, and they’re loving it,” she says.
After Berinstein’s Dramatic Forces company covers the cost of creating the app — which sells for $2.99 on iTunes — proceeds will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
She sees a longer-range payoff of sorts: By building interest in Broadway, even through a $2.99 app, Berinstein sees potential audiences for shows that haven’t been written yet.
That’s something every producer can get behind.
The app’s 4,000 questions will be updated regularly — with new categories and questions added monthly — because Broadway isn’t standing still.
There might be a Stephen Schwartz category, or a Stephen Sondheim category, Berinstein says. Or one just for the 2010 season when the Tonys roll around in June.
“It’s a celebration of Broadway,” Berinstein says. “And there’s so much more to go.”
Photo by Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News: Dori Berinstein, the mind behind “The Broadway Challenge,” at the red steps in Duffy Square. The trivia app might be a great way to while away the hours waiting in line at the TKTS booth.