What Next Season Is Starting To Look Like . . .

As this season winds down, I’m already hearing whispers in the wind of what’s coming next season.

Some shows announced their NY plans.  Some are expected to announce.  And some are still rumors.

But if things shake out the way some people are suggesting . . . next year could have a very interesting theme to it.

And maybe, hopefully, it’s the theme that the public has been waiting for.  Because we need that public back and in a big, big way.

Because all the marketing magic in the world won’t work unless the shows we produce are the shows audiences want . . .  nope . . . will do ANYTHING, to see.

Here’s what I see coming (in new musicals, anyway) . . . 

Smash is coming to Broadway.  An exciting “comedy about a musical” (love that tagline).

And we also know that Tammy Faye is coming in . . . with a “joyful and deliriously fun score” by Elton John.  (And one of the funniest musical comedy actors we have is Andrew Rannells.)

Then we get into the “expected to come in” category.

I’d put money on Boop and Death Becomes Her opening before the Tony deadline.

And after Sunday’s Olivier Win for Best Musical – I wouldn’t  be surprised if Operation Mincemeat has secret plans to open this season.

That’s . . . count ’em with me . . . five new musical COMEDIES are opening in one season.  And that’s just what we know so far!  There could be more, brewing on the back burner.

And top that sundae off with the cherry of Forbidden Broadway opening on Broadway for the first time, and we could have one of the most fun-filled, sugary seasons on Broadway in years.

That’s quite a contrast for the upcoming season.

So if this is what’s happening . . . the real question is . . . why is it happening?

Is it in reaction to the audience’s desire to laugh, as they still battle with post-pandemic blues?  Is it our attempt to woo back the Suburban Audience, and convince them that a night in New York City isn’t what they see on the news?  (Remember when Mamma Mia! got a positive NY Times review and a nomination for Best Musical after September 11th?)

It feels that way.  And boy would programming the season like this sure seem like the smart thing to do.

But it’s probably nothing more than coincidence.  Development paths are irregular.  The timing of when shows get theaters is irregular.  We can’t program a season like a television network programs their schedule.  

(In fact, this trend reminds me of when Godspell, Book of Mormon, Leap of Faith and Sister Act all opened in the same season . . . and I did an interview about whether it was a trend towards faith based musicals.  See my response here.)

Luck or not, I do believe the comeback of the musical comedy next season and thereafter is exactly what the musical theater doctor called for.

Do you think this is what will get more audiences back to the theater?  

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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.