Can we Moneyball Broadway?

One of the most popular flicks of the last several weeks has been the Brad Pitt produced, Moneyball, based on the book of the same name.

Simply put, Moneyball is about statistics . . . and how the Oakland A’s used complex mathematical formulas to find some of the most undervalued players on the baseball market, in order to put together a team that could challenge the best teams, for 25% of the payroll costs.

Despite a bunch of the old baseball guard rejecting the theory, the A’s were so successful that the principles in Moneyball are now used by a bunch of ball clubs across the MLB.

Think we could do it for Broadway?

It’s not as easy, because we just don’t get up to bat as much.  Ball players play over 100 games a season, get up to a bat a few times a game at least, and play year after year.  They have a long-term past behavior that can help predict future results.

It’s not as easy for plays and musicals . . . but maybe . . .

Could we analyze which theaters recoup more shows?  Which writers?  Which actors?  What about the time of year?  Musicals versus plays?  Is there a budgetary sweet spot that gives you an edge?

I’m not sure we could ever get something as effective at sabermetrics, but there are no doubt a whole bunch of numbers that could help determine what degree of risk you were taking with a show.

Would statistical analysis be the only thing I’d use to make a decision to produce or invest in a show?


Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a huge believer in numbers, and I’d be the first one that would support the research of some of my questions above.  But in the business of Broadway, as in sports and the like, the numbers come second . . . and your gut comes first.


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– 10 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway 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.