It’s a recoupment record!

What I love about working on Broadway is that there’s always a shocker.  Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something comes along to remind you that you don’t.

Par example . . .

One year ago today, would anyone have bet that a small, semi-sad, non-spectacle musical based on an independent Irish movie (that cost only $160k, by the way) would sell out its run at New York Theatre Workshop and bounce to Broadway on the backs of a Director and Authors that were all making their Broadway debuts . . . only to defeat the Disney juggernaut Newsies for the coveted Best Musical prize?

What were the odds of that?

And if that isn’t enough of a story, how about adding on this coda . . .

Two days ago, that musical in question, Once, announced that it recouped its investment after a mere 21 weeks, making it the fastest musical to recoup in more than a decade.


The Once story is a great one . . . but what’s really great is that it’s not without its predecessors.  Rent, Avenue Q, and Spring Awakening are just a few of the shows in the last 15 years that proved that while we may think that all that gets produced, and all that is successful, are jukebox musicals tuned up for tourists . . . but it’s simply not true.  The public, the critics, and the voters reward the different, the challenging, and the unique (most important) more often than we rant.

So congrats to Once and to its courageous Producers for surprising us all.  It’s good drama.

(By the way, a very deeply embedded blog reader reminded me yesterday that every single Best Musical Tony Winner of the last ten years has gone on to recoup its investment.  So here’s a smack-me-in-the-face-it’s-so-obvious tip:  want to recoup?  Win a Best Musical Tony.)


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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.