Our reopening date got pushed. A third wave rose. And organizations like The Met and New York City Ballet announced they are taking the year off.
So the burning question of how will we bounce back is now more urgent than ever.
I’m not predicting an outright “V” shaped recovery by any means. Since NYC tourism will take longer to get back to where it was, so will Broadway.
But I am still predicting a strong and swift recovery . . . like the stock market’s over the past nine months (after all, I proved here
that we follow a similar trend.)
Why will Broadway come back fast?
1. We will be the last industry back.
First, let me say how much this sucks. First out. Last back. We’re like the Marines. And I never wanted to be a Marine! Those guys are a lot tougher than I am!
But, there are benefits and blessings in every situation, if you look deep enough.
And the benefit to being last back is that we get to watch and learn from every other industry! We’re watching restaurants. We’re watching professional sports. Weddings. Conferences. Travel. We’re even watching theater all over the world and in other areas of our own country!
By the time we’re ready to come back, we’ll have the best “best practices” possible. Our audiences will feel more comfortable, which means they’ll buy tickets even faster.
2. Our Primary Demographic Still Has Disposable Income
This is something that we didn’t quite understand months ago.
But now we do.
This financial crisis is NOT like 2008, which hit everyone and hard.
See, the primary demographic of the Broadway theatergoer is a household that earns $250,000 a year.
That sucks from an audience development perspective. And we’ve got a lot to do to widen our economic and cultural accessibility. More on that in an upcoming blog.
But from a comeback perspective? It’s good news. Because this demographic isn’t feeling the crunch of the recession like others. They still have jobs. Their 401ks have recovered. They’ve got that disposable income. (Note to Broadway marketers – this means we do not have to “Walmart” our ticket prices to encourage people to come back).
3. People Are Starving For Live Entertainment . . . With Other People.
If you missed lunch and someone offered you a can of Spam, I’d bet you’d pass. Miss breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week? You’d scrape the corners of that Spam can eating every last processed bite, right?
The longer this shutdown goes, the more our audience will be desperate to gather together and hear a great story told well. I’m seeing it in the success of the livestreaming market. People are craving live entertainment so much they’ll even take it in 2D form!
When we do come back, people are going to be starved for a taste of what Broadway does better than any other industry. You’re going to see a rush of tickets sold for those first few shows. And just imagine what it’s going to feel like in a theater that first night the curtains go up! Oh, the ovation!!!
And then, well, that word of mouth is going to spread faster than the virus did.
Want to hear more opinions about what Broadway is going to look like when it comes back? Hear from Producers, Directors, Writers, Journalists and 100 (!) speakers who are a lot smarter than me here