7 Theater things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving

There’s a whole bunch of things about the theater industry that I wish were a whole lot . . . different.  But despite all that, on a day like Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember that while there is a dump truck full of things we’d all love to change, there are also a bunch of things we should be thankful for.

Here’s a list of 7 theater things I’m thankful for this year.

1.  Broadway League and Actors’ Equity finalize new deal with no fireworks.  

The Broadway League and AEA recently announced that their pretty chill negotiations were completed and a new contract had been ratified.  Here’s the thing – when it was announced that the negotiations were over, I forgot that they were even going on.  And that’s exactly what you want from your labor talks.  There was no talk of strikes, and from what I heard on the inside, it was a pretty peaceful process.  Congratulations to both sides.  Let’s hope the Local 1 negotiation coming up is just as smooth.

2.  Both Broadway grosses and attendance were up!

For the first time in a few frames, Broadway recorded both a jump in gross and in attendance in 2010.  Growing grosses and expanding audiences are what we need to stay healthy.  We did it last year, and now, we’re shooting for two seasons in a row.

3.  Broadway’s in prime time!

NBC green lit a new pilot called “Smash” that is all about . . . Broadway.  Yep, millions of people are going to hear about what we do every day in a prime time series, and that’s even if it sucks.  And from what I heard, it doesn’t.  And you know what a successful show could do, right?  See Thankful Thing #2.

4.  The Jackman is back, man!

People would buy premium tickets to see Hugh Jackman hold a phone book.  He wouldn’t even have to read it.  When ‘cool dudes’ like Hugh come back to Broadway, it creates quite a frenzy, and . . . well, it makes us cool by association.  (BTW, do phone books even exist anymore?)

5.  Stars?  Who needs ’em?

The Best Musical of 2011 didn’t have one f@&#ing star in the cast, proving once again, make the show the star, and you’ll win every time.

6.  Downsizing becomes a trend.

First Avenue Q, then 39 Steps, now MDQ and Rent have followed the concept we talked about in this blog, extending the life of the shows, and providing work for hundreds.  Oh, and at the same time, they gave some much needed street cred to Off-Broadway.

7.  Spider-Man is a member of the $1mm club.

I know, this seems like a strange thing for me to be thankful for, right?  I’m not a Producer of Spider-Man (and I wouldn’t want to be), so why am I thankful that this show is not only still running, but still grossing well over one million every week?  Well, it’s like this.  Spider-Man got some of the worst set of reviews I’ve seen . . . twice . . . and it didn’t seem to matter, proving once again, that reviews aren’t what makes a show run . . . it’s the audience.


What about y’all?  What theater thing are you thankful for this year?  Comment below!

And have a happy Thanksgiving!


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.