Believe it or not, this is NOT a good thing for Broadway.

On Tuesday, I insta-ed that I’d be posting tips and takeaways from the marketing conference I attended this week.

But you’re going to have to wait.

Because there was some breaking Broadway news this week that I felt needed a blog.

Honestly, when this news broke, I bet a whole bunch of people in the biz cheered enthusiastically (including a bunch of Broadway Producers).

And I wanted to make sure that people knew it wasn’t such a good thing.

Yesterday it was announced, that Broadway’s “Demon Barber of Shubert Alley,” gossip columnist Michael Riedel, is leaving his post at the NY Post.

Since Michael’s few hundred words a week can cut sharper than any knife in a drawer, it’s no surprise that Producers, Actors, Writers, etc. may be breathing a huge sigh of relief as he sheaths that sword and moves over to radio and a more general morning talk show.

Why am I not jumping up and down?  Here are my three reasons:

  1.  PSSSSST . . .There’s a reason why Michael kept his desk over the last decade, while critic after critic kept getting laid off.  Because people like gossip!  And gossip, good or bad, gets people talking.  And people talking about Broadway is (almost) always a good thing.
  2. HE’S MORE POSITIVE THAN YOU THINK. You might think that Michael only slammed shows, but if you look at his track record, I’d bet that the ratio of positive to negative slants were more 50/50 than you think (as humans, we only tend to remember the negative – you might get 10 great reviews on a show and 1 bad one, and you’ll focus on that bad one like it was the only one, am I right?). With Michael gone, we’re losing a positive outlet for our news in a paper that doesn’t dedicate much space to the arts.
  3. HE LOVED IT MORE THAN YOU THINK. When Michael appeared on my podcast (in its very early days), I was taken by two things. First, he knows his $hit. If I was on a Broadway trivia game-show and had a phone-a-friend option, it would be a serious toss-up between him and Jen Tepper as my go-to.  Second, he may not show it, but he loooooooooooves Broadway.  And when that kind of passion won’t be paid to talk exclusively about the theater anymore, it’s a big flop-like loss.

I have this feeling that Michael will still be around a bunch, and I have this secret dream that he’s leaving only so he can be a double-agent on morning radio and talk about Broadway non-stop, but losing him on our daily beat ain’t a good thing.

Because yes, most press, good or bad, is still good press.

(The Broadway space is now wide open for a gossip columnist, by the way . . . who do you think will take the spot?)

My takeaways from my marketing conference will be next week . . . in the meantime, listen to my podcast with Michael here. 

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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.