Are we producing more new musicals each decade or less?

I’m on a statistics kick lately.  Don’t know why.  It’s like that time I ate sushi every day for lunch for a week.  It just satisfied a craving.


And right now all that I can crave is numbers.  Raw numbers.  Mmm, mmm good.  So expect a few number-soaked posts in the coming week or so.


And here’s the first one:


We got into a fight debate in my office after hours last week about the quantity and quality of new musicals over the last several decades.  So we went to the books to see exactly how many NEW musicals were produced season over season, and if we could spot a trend.


Unfortunately, we did.
  • In the 1940s, the average number of new musicals produced each season was 14.9.
  • In the 1950s, it was 11.6.
  • In the 1960s, it was 14.6
  • In the 1970s, it was 13.6
  • In the 1980s, it was 10.1
  • In the 1990s, it was 7.5
Yikes, right?  For the past five decades, the new musical average has been dropping like a stone in a bowl of miso soup.


Well, wouldn’t you know it, check this out.
  • In the 2000s, the average number of new musicals was 9.3.
A bit of a bounce this last decade.


Will it continue?  Let’s hope so, because dropping lower than the paltry 7.5 of the ’90s will make Broadway look more and more like a museum; a place for tourists to visit like The Met.


We need to figure out a way to get back into the teens by coming up with ways to encourage Producers to take the risks associated with these big budget shows because frankly, that’s one of the big reasons tourists come to New York in the first place.


Tomorrow, we look at the average number of new plays per decade.
Can you guess what kind of trend we’re going to see?


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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.