Six Says “Suck It” to Traditional Development Path, Which Is Sick! (In a Good Way)

People ask me all the time why Broadway doesn’t change.  The answer is the same as to why most things don’t change.


See, our business model is super fragile.  It’s like carrying around an egg, while you’re walking on a sheet of ice . . . wearing slippers made of ice.  And because of that, we trudge very, very slowly, taking very small steps towards our goals, for fear of not only dropping the egg, but of falling on our face and breaking our a$$ (dollar signs intended).

So whenever the question comes up of bucking a traditional way of doing something, most of us (including me, a ton of the time) say, “We’ll just do it the way that it has been done . . . because it can work that way.”

But that doesn’t mean that’s the BEST way for it to work.

Take bringing a new show to Broadway, for example.

The “what’s always been done” approach is the reading to the workshop to the out of town tryout to Broadway.  (Click here to access a free webinar on “The Road to Broadway” if you want a more in-depth description of this path).

The “what’s always been frowned upon” approach is putting shows in lesser markets or exposing the title to the regions before launching on Broadway.   “It’ll lessen the brand,” “You gotta save it for the tour,” or “You have to show everyone you are first class and first class only!”

Blah, blah.

Then, along comes the courageous producers of Six, including Kevin McCollum (who is no stranger to trying new things – who, with his partners, moved Avenue Q to Broadway when everyone said it wasn’t a Broadway show, then downsized it to Off-Broadway with a Tony Award in tow to get another ten years out of it), and Kenny Wax (who has built an empire on a little show called The Play That Goes Wrong and its spinoffs – a strategy that hasn’t worked on any other show since Nunsense) to say . . . “Eff the traditional model!  We’re going to do something different!

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Earlier this week, the buzzy West End smash that tells the story of the six wives of Henry VII as a pop concert announced that it’s opening on Broadway in the Spring.

But the show isn’t coming direct from the West End.  It’s playing both Boston and Chicago this summer.

“Ok, ok, that’s not soooooo crazy.”

But then they announced they were going to Australia.

“Before Broadway?  Huh. What are they . . . ”

And then they announced that they are going BACK to Chicago next summer.

“Now why . . .”

And THEN they announced that they are going to play cruise ships.  Cruise ships, I tell you!  Cruise ships!  Where other shows wouldn’t even consider playing.

If you heard that sound, it was the system . . . getting bucked.

And I love it.


Six has a ton of buzz, great reviews and audience response . . . but it’s not yet a brand.  It’s not a Hollywood movie turned musical.  It’s doesn’t have a songbook with 147 Top Ten hits.

And because Broadway is a brand snob these days, it would have been challenging to bring it in the usual way.

So, these uber-smart Producers are building its brand . . . before they arrive.

The show is already getting press.  It’s already getting talked about (some folks are even blogging (!) about it).

And most importantly, by the time the show opens, more people will have seen it!  With all of these productions, the Producers are putting more marketing foot soldiers on the streets to sell tickets through word of mouth. #Brill

They’ve smartly checked their egos at the box office and planned a path that could lead not only to Broadway success but to global success as well, with a title that came out of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it started.

But now, I’m predicting big “sick” things for Six.

If you want to check out the webinar on the path shows take to get to Broadway, click here for free access.

Speaking of shows coming out of festivals, do you have your tickets to a RAVE show yet?  Many shows are SOLD OUT already!  Come support new theater!  Who knows, the next Six may be just a few blocks away!  Click here.

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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.