Will Broadway come back to fewer shows per week?

If my blog were a person, he’d be feelin’ pretty old right now.

Because I’m about to go way back in time.
In 2007 (!), 14 years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “8 Shows A What” which questioned why the 8-show-a-week model even existed.

I wrote the blog because I was producing Off-Broadway at the time and it was painfully clear that there wasn’t enough demand for 8 shows a week. So using the Actors Equity “Per Performance” contract, we were able to keep shows running for a much longer period of time, and therefore keep people employed for a much longer period of time.

 And here’s some case study data for you:

The shows that did less than 8 shows a week were more commercially successful than the shows that did 8.

You can read the blog here.  Reminder, it is 14 years old.  I like to think I’m a better blogger now.  But you’ll tell me, I’m sure. 🙂

Why am I rubbing my blog’s age in his old face?

Because this past week, news broke (by Philip Boroff again) that one of the ideas on the table between Producers and the Unions is the concept of a pro-rated return.

 In other words, some shows might come back for 7 shows a week or 5 or. . . . whatever they can agree on.

 And yes, that’d mean a pro-rated salary as well.

 Fewer shows per week, allows you to reduce other expenses as well.  You don’t have to spend as much advertising to fill 5 shows as you do 8.  You shouldn’t (!) have to pay as much rent (this was what made the Off-Broadway model work).

 So, since we know that demand is going to be less when Broadway comes back (due to the fact that tourism won’t be at the levels we need to support 8 shows a week for so many shows – and locals are still not wanting to go out on a Tuesday night), I believe pro-rating is a “makes sense” solution for our first step back.

 Provided that everyone gets on the pro-rating page, of course.  This comeback means every party pitching in to make this work, from unions to producers to accountants and managers and . . . everyone.

 But if it worked, pro-rating could get MORE shows back and FASTER, because there will be less risk for returning or new shows. They will not only be exposed to less risk, but they’ll be more likely to fill a house, provided a better experience for the audience and those on stage as well.

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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.