Is Cirque sucking up Broadway sales?

Patti LuPone should play Annie Oakley some day, because the woman is the ‘straightest shooter’ I’ve ever seen.

When something’s buggin’ her, whether it’s a photographer in a theater, or a circus in Broadway’s backyard, she’s going to tell you, and everyone around you, exactly what she thinks.

This week, Patti had this to say about Cirque du Soleil and their new tenancy at Radio City Music Hall:

Cirque du Soleil – it’s the big, bad brother now. Cirque du Soleil taking a five-year lease on Radio City Music Hall is going to suck Broadway dry. … If you don’t know a particular playwright or a particular play and you’re facing a huge ticket price, what are you going to do? You’re going to go with what you know, and more people know Cirque de – the tourists come and people know Cirque du Soleil. They really are, I think, ridiculous now. Go back to Montreal.

Yipes.  I bet there are a lot of sad clowns out there right now, packing their trunks with . . . like 100 other clowns.

Patti isn’t the only one that’s pi$$ed about Cirque and their new show, Zarkana.  Broadway Producers up and down the street have been buzzing all summer about the dollars that the show is sucking off the street.  It’s major competition, and Radio City has nothing but seats to sell.  Unlike something like The Book of Mormon, whose tight ticket can actually increase demand for other shows, a show like Zarkana in that monster of a theater just diffuses the weekly grosses a bit more.

And the big complaint I’ve heard this summer is about TDF allowing Zarkana to sell its seats at the TKTS booth.  If it wasn’t there?  No doubt, those dollars would go to Broadway shows.

Do I agree with Patti?

Nah.  New York is about the best of everything . . . baseball teams (sorry Sox), bagels, and yeah, entertainment.  And if people want to produce a show, any show, then let them, and the people will decide what runs and what doesn’t.  It’s Broadway Darwinism.

While I may not like that Cirque has set up shop a few blocks from Broadway, I have two options:  1, be a sad clown about it (and no one likes a sad clown) or 2, use that competition to inspire me to be better at what I do.

Besides, is anyone else starting to fee like the sheen is wearing off of Cirque?  Interestingly enough, I recommend their shows in Vegas like they are my mom’s chocolate chip cookies . . . but I never suggest someone see a Cirque show outside of Sin City.  And I’ve never seen one myself.

So fear not Patti . . . let them franchise . . . and we’ll work harder at being original.

(By the way, you know that word I used up there .  . with the $$ instead of Ss . . . I’ve decide to replace that word in my vocab with . . . Pattied.  Because she has become such an advocate for Broadway, I think it’s only fitting.  For example, “Ugh. I’m so pattied there was no Broadway on Broadway this year.”  Ok?  Let’s try it.  Now you!)

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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.