Will opening nights be a thing of the past?
Traditions are very hard to change.
Until something makes it impossible to engage in those traditions. That’s when disruption happens.
For example . . . pre-pandemic, every show threw an opening night party. Sometimes super expensive ones.
Enter Covid stage right, left and center . . . and right now? No shows are throwing big, fancy, opening night parties.
Some shows are doing small dinner parties, or separate events for the cast and separate events for the investors. (The idea being to keep the cast in as much of a safe bubble as possible.)
But going forward I can’t help but wonder . . . will NO opening night party become the new norm?
Since a no-frills opening night party can cost well north of $100k, I’m predicting that in the future instead of General Managers asking, “Where are we having the party,” they will ask, “Are we having a party?”
Some shows will, and some shows may not. After all, $100k is a lot of money that could be used for marketing or to keep the show open for another week.
That said, the cast and company deserve a celebration . . . as do the investors who are paying for the party in the first place. (I once polled a group of my investors to find if they’d rather have a party or have a little bit more capital back – and the majority said they’d rather have the party.)
And opening night celebrations are the one of the very few times, if not the ONLY time, where every single person who worked on your show is in the same room at the same time. Lighting rental companies, casting directors, stagehands, marketing directors, musicians and more. Everyone is there celebrating the almost impossible task that was just accomplished . . . getting a show from an idea to a page and to a stage.
In the future, we will see some opening night party attrition. Some shows will do smaller celebrations. And some shows will opt out completely.
But not mine. 🙂
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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.