Across the pond is a lot further than we think.
I saw War Horse when it was a wee pony of a show at the National Theatre and remember thinking how wonderful it was going to be on Broadway.
And it was.
Although it didn’t last as long over here as it did over there.
Same thing was true for Billy Elliot. That little boy danced his tutu off for a couple o’ years on Broadway, while his British counterpart kept on pirouetting for another year more.
And Oliver? Why, it hasn’t even been revived on Broadway since The Orwellian Year of 1984. Almost 30 years! I think we’ve had 14 revivals of Into the Woods since then.
Interesting trend, right? I know, you’re saying it’s the economics. Broadway is more expensive than producing in the UK, which is why hit shows over there may be hits over here, but for not as long.
Well, with that logic, wouldn’t it mean that hits from here would last longer there?
Like, oh, I don’t know . . . Rent.
In the Heights?
Hasn’t even been there.
Those are three Tony Award winning musicals (and one Pulitzer winner, btw), and none of them achieved the success across the Atlantic that they did here.
Not coincidentally, all those shows were set in NYC. And War Horse, Billy Elliott, Oliver, etc. are set in jolly ol’ England.
Now look, there are obviously umpteen factors that determine the success or lack thereof of a musical.
But one of those factors is without a doubt geographic. Producing a show in the city/county/country where it’s set, gives you an immediate in with the audience. What an audience relates to, they are more likely to enjoy, and more importantly, recommend.
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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.