Santa is bringing us a lot of presents this year. And it’s only August!
Programming around the seasons is hard to do on Broadway, mostly due to theater availability. But something is happening this coming holiday season that has got my mittens in a bunch.
Used to be that there was one giant NY holiday attraction . . . those attractive, long-legged Rockettes over at Radio City that do 143 shows per day of their Christmas Spectacular.
And then, in the mid 90s, a Broadway-like version of A Christmas Carol by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens took residence at Madison Square Garden. (Produced by the same Co that produces those kickin’ Rockettes, actually.)
And that was it . . . for a while anyway.
But in the latter half of the 2000s, other shows started to pop up around Candy Cane time . . . first there was How The Grinch Stole Christmas . . . and then Wintuk . . . and then White Christmas . . . and then Elf . . .
And this year . . . A Christmas Story gives the limited run holiday engagement a go. (And my Group Sales Department says there’s a good deal of interest in that one!)
Were they successful?
Well, some were, some weren’t, but there’s gotta be something good goin’ on for these shows, because this year?
Almost all of them are coming back!
This year we’ll see three shows on Broadway that all have their targets set on the tourists that are in town from Thanksgiving to New Year’s: Elf, A Christmas Story and The Grinch. And, of course, the Rockettes will still be dancing up a snow storm.
So why is there more availability this year to allow for all these shows to take up short term residence?
Is it because theater owners now know that it’s pretty common for these timely tuners to do $1mm a week for their entire run?
Or . . . is it because the recent trend of shows opening in the spring is causing a lack of shows opening in the fall, making more theater space available?
And most importantly, is there enough business to go around for all these shows with their fragile “must-recoup-in-8 weeks” model?
Only time will tell. But I’ve got my Christmas trees crossed for all of them.
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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.