3, 2, 1 . . . launch (hey, did anyone check the weather?)
When you open on the big Broadwaay, you get one shot. And it’s imperative that you know what’s happening around you before you pull that touchy trigger.
Look at this quote from Variety about an industry that’s much smarter than we are (partly because they have more resources, I will admit, but mostly because they care more about research).
TV network execs who pay attention to the numbers know that young male
viewership can dip in the first few days after a blockbuster videogame
launches. And home-entertainment honchos avoid releasing big titles
aimed at that demo in the same time period.
The current Broadway season is one of the most competitive I’ve seen since I moved to New York, with 8 new musicals competing for only 4 Best Musical nominations (anyone else remember 1995, When Sunset Boulevard won by pseudo-default, because the only other musical nominated was Smokey Joe’s Cafe?).
Not this year.
What’s interesting to me is that up until a month or so ago, there were only 7 potential nominees.
And then, a small show from out of town, with decent but not stellar reviews, no stars, and a minimal advertising budget compared to its behemothic peers, announced that it was going to beat the Tony deadline and open this season. Look out Little Mermaid, Young Frankenstein, In The Heights, Passing Strange, Cry Baby, Xanadu and A Catered Affair, there’s a new show in town! Are you scared? (I bet most of you don’t even know what it is, or it will take you some time to come up with it . . . and that feeling you’re having is what we call a lack of awareness in the market.)
It sounds like David versus Goliath, right? But it’s not. It’s David versus SEVEN Goliaths, and I don’t think they make a sling shot big enough.
These eight shows are not only competing for just four nomination slots and the television appearance that comes with it, but they’re also competing for press, critics, and more importantly, ticket buyers. Just because there are more shows, doesn’t mean there are more audiences to go around. Like too many puppies born in a litter, a few of them can’t feed, and end up runts . . . or worse.
I’m rooting for the underdog here. I hope something great comes out of this late entry, because I think the team is talented and I do know the players.
But I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they would have looked at what else was happening in the market like our TV execs above, waited 8 weeks and opened next season.
They could have been the first to feed, instead of the last.
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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.