7 Predictions For When Broadway Comes Back. Part I
I spend a good 25% of my day thinking about what we’re going to look like on the other side of this thing.
It’s not the healthiest activity to engage in. Things change so fast, it’s hard to know where we’ll be tomorrow, never mind next March (fingers crossed).
But I do it anyway. And I know you do too.
So I thought I’d share three predictions that I see coming as a result of the Broadway shutdown.
Oh, and big ol’ disclaimer . . . every time I make a prediction, by the time I finish making it, something changes. So I promise to have another set of these suckers in a few months. Make sure you get ’em by signing up here.)
Here are my predictions as of today:
1. More shows will come in cold.
We’ll have a lot fewer out-of-town tryouts in the coming years, especially in the short term. In fact, I’ve heard rumors about a few new shows that have already committed to coming straight in.
Why? Won’t we still need the creative R&D?
Yes! But the current, previous out-of-town model will be too expensive in the new Broadway economy (see Prediction #2).
And, the out-of-town tryout will also be too . . . well . . . out-of town! Even with a vaccine, trust in travel isn’t going to appear overnight. I expect artists will prefer to keep their circles smaller and stay-at-home, if they can.
Which brings me to . . .
2. Everything will cost less . . . because it will have to.
Costs have risen like a rocket over the past several DECADES.
It was hard to keep a lid on ’em, to be honest, since the mega-hits were earning so much mega-profit.
Vendors, unions, and everyone who makes a living on Broadway set their rates based on the best possible scenario, not average scenarios. So, as long as one out of five shows continue to recoup, it’s hard to make the argument that expenses are out of whack. (We’ve had a 20% success rate since we started keeping track!)
But that potential has changed. Tourists account for 65% of our audience, and right now many can’t come to the city without quarantining for 14 days! Unemployment is 50% higher than it was in 2008. And our audience has said they’re not sure when they are going to come back.
Does that mean we do nothing? NO. We need to produce shows. We need theaters lit. The ONLY way we get back to where we were before and beyond is to raise the curtains. When our audience hears the roar of the crowd and smells the greasepaint, they will run back.
But how do we do that if the risk is HIGHER than it was pre-Covid? You stimulate the production by decreasing the costs . . . across every budget line.
3. Broadway Investors will get better returns.
And hey, hey, Broadway Producers (this guy included), don’t think you can ask everyone else to cut expenses and not cut your potential as well
Because here are two truths . . .
First, you know what is going to be hard to do in the next year? Get people to invest in Broadway.
You know what helps stimulate investing in Broadway . . . or in anything? Giving Broadway investors better returns.
We’re asking for the people we “deal” with to change their models . . . we’re going to have to change ours.
Phew . . . this is a lot to digest. My anxiety level just spiked and I have three predictions to go!
I’m going to go drown that anxiety in a big, sugary coffee from Starbucks. I’ll tell you the other three things (including the BIG ONE) in tomorrow’s blog.
Don’t want to wait? I already wrote the other four predictions. If you want them now or are afraid you’ll miss them tomorrow, then fill in the form below.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you! Anxiety ahead!
“Give me the rest of them now, Ken!”
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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.