My Top 10 Broadway Moments from 2012


Did this year fly by or what?  It feels like just yesterday when Thoroughly Modern Millie won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Wait a minute.  That was 2002?  Jumping Jack Flash, that was a quick 10 years.

Anyway, 2012 . . . it was a very good year.  And like I’ve done in years past, I singled out my Top Ten Broadway Moments from the past 365 days and listed them below.

Here’s what made my Broadway Top 10 list this year (in no particular order) . . .

1.  Les Miz hits the big screen.

The world’s most popular musical is poised to become the world’s most popular movie.  Expect a few Oscars, a few more million bucks, and most importantly, a few more million fans for the musical, and for musical theater.  Les Miz is the Oklahoma of our generation, and the movie will do wonders for our business.

2.  Once says F.U. to the formula.

Who says you need a big budget, big brand spectacular to be a Broadway success?  Once is anything but the Broadway formula, down to its downright unhappy ending.  But voters and fans made it the Best Musical and a member of the Million Dollar Club.

3.  Disney has a formula of their own.

Then again, formulas ain’t so bad.  Disney announced that Newsies recouped its $5mm investment in just nine months, adding another musical to its win column.  If you’re keeping track, that’s a total of seven Broadway shows produced, and five commercial success.  5 for 7, in an industry that boasts a 1 out of 5 average.  And that’s not even counting the 147 tours of High School Musical.  (Note to self – New Year’s Resolution:  Develop theme park and family movie empire to have endless supply of content.  Oh and purchase a theater).

4.  The Godspell cast of 2032.

Ok, ok, this one is personal.  I’ll admit it.  But watching those 10 (plus one Swing) Mini-Godspellians strut their stuff on the stage of Circle in the Square following a performance of their adult counterparts was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  The only thing cooler?  Three of them went on to make their actual Broadway debut later that same year.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.

5.  Oh Rebecca, Rebecca, what have you wrought?

How does the 2x failure of Rebecca and the tabloid fodder about its mystery investor and the fraud that follows make it to a Top 10 list?  Simple.  This is a blog about producing.  And I don’t think there was another event that taught me and all the other producers out there more than watching this show crash and burn . . . twice . . . taking a lot of jobs with it.

6.  Remember the hubub over the contract negotiation with Local One?

You don’t?  Oh wait, that’s because there was no hubub.  After the Local One Stagehands strike in 2007, everyone is always a bit nervous when the two sides sit down at the table.  But cool and smart heads on both sides prevailed this year, and a new three year contract was agreed upon just over a week ago, without most people even knowing it was being negotiated.

7.  Smash gets signed up for a 2nd Season.

It was touch-and-go there for awhile, let’s admit.  I swear if the story line about Debra Messing’s son got fifteen minutes more airtime, Smash was doomed.  But thankfully, the powers-that-be switched up the showrunner, sacked a bunch of actors, and said, “Let’s give it a season 2!”  My fingers and toes and collection of Playbills are crossed that a Season #3 is on next year’s list.

8.  Broadway shows aren’t the only shows that recoup.

Sure 1 of of 5 Broadway shows recoup, but what’s the Off-Broadway stat?  It could be more like 1 and 100.  Luckily, this year, we got that one when Tribes announced it was in the black.

9.  What was Sondheim so upset about anyway?

When Sir Sondheim fired off an “aggravated” missive to the New York Times in 2011 about the then upcoming Diane Paulus ‘revisal’ of Porgy and Bess, a lot of folks thought the show was going to bear the old-fashioned label of “closed in Boston” and never make it to town.  But make it, it did, and on Tony night, the voters shirked Sondheim and gave it the big prize for revival.

10.  He doesn’t need a ring, he needs a stage.

I never thought I’d see Mike Tyson in the audience of a Broadway show, never mind on a stage.  His show appears on my list this year, not because of its content, and not because of its quality (truth be told, I was out of town for the six performances (!) he gave), but because of its business model.  The ultra-limited run was attempted a few times this year with Iron Mike, Frankie Valli, and more, and results were good enough that I’d expect more in 2013.  Who thinks the lead guy in Amish Mafia has a one man show in him?
So I showed you mine,  Now you show me yours.

What was your favorite Broadway moment from 2012?


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