The Top 5 Broadway Stories from 2019.

I know, I know, we’re two days into 2020 now, so this blog might seem a touch late.  But how could I post this blog until every single day of the last year had passed?

I mean, you never know what could have happened on the 31st, right?  Hamilton might have announced its closing or something!  🙂

Overall, 2019 continued the trend that Broadway has been on for almost the whole decade.  Hadestown, The Tony Award winner for Best Musical and quickest show to recoup in a long while, bested jukebox musicals and big movie-to-musical adaptations just like The Band’s Visit, Fun Home and more.  The overall Broadway box office broke another record AND attendance was up almost by a double-digit percentage.

To quote the famous song, but as if David Mamet wrote the lyric . . .”it was a very good @#$%ing year.”

But five stories stood out to me . . . and as we reset for a new 365 days, I thought I’d recap my faves for you now:

  1. Be More Chill Opens on BroadwayOn the backs of hundreds of millions of streams, this little-show-that-could snagged a Broadway house when so many other shows couldn’t.  While the show didn’t last as long as it should have, the fact that it got to Broadway signals the beginning of a content revolution and a changing audience.  Future shows will get their shot because of Be More Chill.  Let’s just hope that many of them are written by its super-talented creator, Joe Iconis.
  2. Fosse/Verdon on FX.Ok, I know this show wasn’t ON Broadway, but whenever a television network, which has such a wide audience to appeal to, focuses on our little niche, it’s not only a compliment, it’s a huge marketing boon.  The number of people who watched this series and heard the word “Broadway” over and over, is equal to what we seat in our theaters over an entire year.  Those kind of impressions eventually show up on our bottom line.
  3. Ali Stroker wins a Tony Award.If you don’t know who Ali Stroker is or why this was an important moment in 2019, click here.  So many lives were changed because of her appearing on that Radio City stage with that trophy in her hand.  It was a win-heard-round-the-world.
  4. Netflix plants their flag on Broadway.American Son opened on Broadway in the fall of 2018, was optioned by Netflix immediately, was shot a few months later, and was on screens this past September.  The Prom was snagged in the Spring by Ryan Murphy for the streaming series and has already cast Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman.  13 has been optioned.  The film The Irishman ran at The Belasco.  Every other article on Playbill seems to mention them.Expect more Broadway from this king-of-acquiring-content in the future.  Because they like us.  They really like us.  So take that, Amazon.
  5. The Best Musical, Best Play and Best Revival of a Musical Tony’s were won by women.65% of theater tickets are purchased by women.  This year, 75% of the ‘big four’ Tony Awards were won by women (the Lead Producers Mara Isaacs, Sonia Friedman and Eva Price).  That hasn’t happened before.  But I predict it won’t be too long until we see a 100% sweep.  And I’ve even got some bets on who those winners will be.


Alright, now that 2019 is officially out of the way, lets talk about . . . 2030.  No, no,  that wasn’t a typo.  I was a couple days late in this blog, and now I’m going to be ten years early on the next one.

See, next Thursday, I’m going to post my predictions for Broadway in . . . 2030.  Stay tuned to this station (or click here to subscribe) to make sure you see ’em.  ‘Cuz they are going to be spicy!

See you then.  (Don’t forget to sign up here to get the blog in your inbox!)

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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.