Where do our big hit ideas come from?

Like stockbrokers, or more specifically, private equity investors, Broadway Producers, Broadway Investors, and even creatives are always looking for the next big hit.

You know, the one that will run for years, win Tony Awards, and give the individual the freedom to do a lot more stuff.

Just like in business, I believe the big hits starts with the idea. There are a lot of other factors that go into hit-making, but if you don’t have a good seed, then it won’t even sprout, no matter how much you water it, fertilize it, etc.

That’s why I decided to dig into where the ideas for our big hits come from. Because if we know where they come from, we can seek more of them out. I call this the, “There’s gold in them their hills,” theory.

So, we looked at the Tony Award-winning best musicals of the last twenty years, as well as our longest running musicals, and googled-our brains out to see who conceived them, who started the snowball rolling down the hill . . . or as I like to say, who served the tennis ball. (Entrepreneurs are always responsible for starting the game.)

I don’t think the results below will surprise you, but I bet they get you serving the tennis ball to specific types of people later on today.


In the last twenty years, the ideas for the Tony Award Winning Best Musicals have come from:

Writers:  65%

Producers:  25%

Performers:  5%

Directors: 5%

The ideas for Broadway’s Top 20 Longest Running Shows (all musicals) have come from:

Writers:  52.5%

Producers:  42.5%

Performers:  5%


Just for contrast’s sake, we also asked the same question for the plays.


In the last twenty years, the ideas for the Tony Award Winning Plays have come from:

Writers:  85%

Producer:  5%

Author of Source Material: 5%

Director:  5%

The ideas for Broadway’s Top 20 Longest Running Plays have come from:

Writers:  95%

Producers:  2.5%

Performers:  2.5%


My thoughts?

Well, Producers popped up on this list more than I thought, and I love that Performers sneak in with a big one every once in a while.

But the big takeaway is that no doubt, if you’re looking for a big hit, then after you call your Mother today, make sure you call your favorite writer and say, “Hey, got any ideas for a Broadway show?”

Because statistically, that’s where the long-running, Tony Award-winning shows come from.

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Got an idea for a show? But need some help getting it out there?  Take our 30 Day script challenge, guaranteed to get your idea on paper, so you can do something with it. Because a great idea never executed can never be a Tony Winner, Long Running Show or anything. 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.