We’ve all known that we’ve been losing writers to Hollywood for years. And actors, well duh. Every Broadway actor I know fights tooth and toe-nail for a TV/Film out in their Broadway contracts. Yep, land the big gig and then look for a way to leave. Can’t blame them, but it sucks for us nonetheless.
But what about Producers? As the costs and risks increase, and as it becomes more and more challenging to make shows happen, will we have enough Producers tomorrow to make sure that Broadway remains as “healthy” as it is today?
As someone who, just today actually, finally tip-toed over into his fourth decade, I’m concerned that we don’t have enough folks under 40 doing shows now, which could jeopardize how full our theaters are in 20 years or so.
So, I decided to analyze the age demographics of the Broadway League. I looked at all the members who classified themselves as Producers and using my own knowledge of who’s-who plus a little help from the Google machine, I figured out a rough percentage of those Producers working today who are under forty years of age (with a margin of error of course, but I think it’s close enough).
Now, granted, a lot of folks come into Producing for the theater later in life, when they have more disposable income, know more people with disposable income, etc. But still. While I lack the data of how many Under 40s there were a decade ago, I have a hunch we’re losing ground.
And that means we need to take some serious steps to train new young Producers, and welcome them to the business with open arms. Because you know who loses if there aren’t as many Producers tomorrow as there are today?
The audiences, of course.
But without a new crop of Producers coming up through the ranks, who will hire the writers? Who will rent the theaters? Who will buy the billboards? Who will pay the stagehands?
Vendors and Agents and Owners and Unions and all of us should remember . . . the theater industry is a long term game. We should do our best to make sure we are encouraging young people to take risks in our industry, so that we can all see the rewards.
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