Is a new Broadway theater a good idea?

Based on the number of likes I got when I Facebooked the news about the soon-to-be-built Broadway theater (2018 anyone?), you all like love the idea.

But is it really a good idea?

Before a new business owner opens any new business, whether that’s a theater, a restaurant or a golf course, you’ve got to survey the market.  What kind of competition is there?  How expensive is it to open?  What’s the population of the community (i.e. are there actually enough people around you to support the concept?)?

Given the fact that we’ve got a line of shows looking to open on Broadway longer than the line at the midtown Shake Shack, I’d say, yeah, there’s definitely room for a new theater.  And as a Producer with three shows looking for a theater in the next 2 years, the idea that I’ll have another chance to actually do what I love to do (produce shows) is music to my musical lovin’ ears.

But I can’t help but remember this blog I read by this Producer fella . . . he’s like 6’0″, black hair, has a last name that also means “sofa” . . . you know the guy I’m talking about?  Just in case you don’t know who I’m talking about, then here’s a link to the blog in question.

That blog demonstrates statistically that despite our grosses exploding all over the graph over the last decade, attendance has remained relatively flat.  We’re not expanding the audience.  We’re just getting more out of them.

And, here’s the rub, that’s despite an almost 100% increase in the number of tourists coming in to the city every year since 1998.

You see where I’m going?  If we’ve got the same number of people seeing shows and we open another theater, do we just dilute the dollars from the other shows running?  So if we’ve reached our audience attendance ceiling, do the Producers/Investors of all the shows suffer just a bit?

Of course, there is the bullish theory that another theater and additional shows are the only way we’ll break through that attendance ceiling.  And I do believe that, to some extent.  Additionally a new theater will provide more work for actors, stagehands, etc. and will juice the NYC economy a bit more as well.

But how it affects the bottom lines of the Producers that will fill that theater remains to be seen.


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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.