Sequels suck. But just for us.

Squeezing successful products for every penny of profit may sound like a greedy, grubbin’ producer sort-of-thing to do, but the exploitation of products that have penetrated the market successfully is what allow producers to reinvest in more new product.

When most industries squeeze their products for more profit out pop sequels.

How many Rocky films were there?  How many Lestat books?

How many iPhones do you think there will be?  Yep, even technology has sequels.

But plays and musicals don’t . . . or not successful ones, anyway.

Bring Back Birdie, Annie Warbucks, Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, etc.  Bomb, Bomb, Ba-bomb (although that last one had some great Carol Hall tunes . . . and a real horse on stage).

There has never been a successful musical or play sequel in the modern theater (the thought of a play or musical sequel just sounds brie-zy, doesn’t it?).

In a year and a half, we’re going to see the biggest challenge to the “sequels-suck” theory, when the longest running musical in history puts up its version of “what happened next”.

The question is, will it, like Rocky II, sit next to its predecessor on the shelf?  Will both shows be up at the same time?

Not if I was producing both (and I bet they won’t have the same producers).  I’d slide out the old for the new.  The one thing that Phantom has to fight history is that it could seamlessly present its sequel, instead of waiting 20 years.

But I wouldn’t be producing it.  Given the opportunity to do a sequel (with all the economic baggage that will come with it) or something new, I’d go for the original.

Now, if I had an opportunity to produce Rocky 7, that’s another story.

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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.

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