KEARNEY, Neb. — A friendly hometown crowd jumped to its feet following the premiere of NBC’s “The Blacklist” Saturday at The World Theatre.
The audience of more than 250 whooped its approval when writer and producer — and Kearney resident — Jon Bokenkamp walked onstage for a discussion following screening.
“It’s weird to hear that,” Bokenkamp said about the audience’s reactions to the show.
“The Blacklist” stars James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington, a master criminal. The series airs Mondays on NBC at 9 p.m.
Watching the first episode with a live audience helped Bokenkamp find the moments in the script that feel successful.
“You sit there in a room writing and thinking, ‘Oh, that’s great,’ and then you get to see it in front of a group. Well, that’s super satisfying,” he said. “I don’t think most writers get a chance to see that in a TV show, and I don’t think I’m going to see that again for a long time.”
As writer and producer, Bokenkamp said he concentrates on creating surprises in a purposefully terse drama such as “The Blacklist.”
“For me, the only thing that matters is trying to surprise yourself,” he said. “What am I not expecting? For writers, that’s our job; to continually flip the story on its head.”
The screening, a fundraiser for the restored World Theatre, allowed the audience to get a fuller understanding of the creative process.
It also gives a taste of the rest of the series, said World Theatre board member Bill Sinnard.
“That’s the neat thing that we’re going to have here: the chance to know a little about the next two or three episodes, to get a teaser — not only because it’s Jon’s show, but because it’s a good show,” he said. “I’m intrigued with all the new villains and characters coming up.”