A Broadway Top 40

Every week, Ryan Seacrest counts down the Top 40, in a tradition handed to him by the shaggy-voiced Casey Casem.  It’s a weekly “hit-list” that I listened to as a kid, and millions more listen to today.

Best of, Top 10s, etc. are consumer crack when it comes to judging products . . . but at the end of the day, what they are . . . are the “best of” marketing tools.

The Top 40 . . . The New York Times Best Seller list . . . Top Grossing Movies . . . these are all ways of getting out what the most successful products in an industry are, the Top 40 being the most successful because it not only lists the products, it allows you to experience the entire product at the same time.

We’ve got the Broadway grosses in our industry . . . but what’s interesting about this set of numbers is that it’s not a “top” . . . it’s a top and a bottom . . . so it fails to be a marketing tool, like the ingenious Top 40 or the NY Times list.  Even sites that recap weekly grosses like Broadway.com, publish the “underdogs” by gross and capacity (the former not even taking into account the size of the house or the type of show it is).

Do we need a new Top 10?  (I think we’re going to work something like it into BroadwaySpace.com).  Or if we don’t have a new Top 10, should we just be pushing for more publications to list our weekly grosses?  Is there another metric we could use to let consumers know what shows are the most popular that week?  And could we keep them coming back week after week to see the shift?

Whether we like it or not, consumers like to see competition between products in a related industry.  And, if it’s going to be something that will make them follow it for week after week, we should give it to them . . . as long as we don’t have to get Ryan Seacrest to host.


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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.