The Top 10 Most Memorable Broadway Moments of 2015

My company’s mission statement is “to do @#%$ that other people don’t.”

Except, of course, when it comes to end of the year Top 10 lists. 🙂

Everyone out there with or without a website seems to sum up the year with a Top 10, and we’re no exception. Why do we all love them so much? We’re all a sucker for nostalgia and a Top 10 is a Cliff Notes version of a “yearbook” for the previous twelve months.

So as the last few hours tick away before we enter twenty-sweet-sixteen, here is my entry into this year’s Top 10 lists . . . My Top 10 Most Memorable Broadway Moments in 2015.

1. The Musical That Everyone’s Talking About.

There are so many articles about Lin-Manuel’s masterpiece that I don’t need to even mention the title, now do I? Its debut on Broadway was a boon for our art form for all the reasons I talked about here, and a double boon for our business, because a rising tide does lift all shows. We’ve got another big fat hit to point to, and Broadway investors will want to find the next one.

2. The JOBS Not Known As Steve.

The JOBS Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2012. And in true bureaucratic style, the final regulations that authorized crowdfunding were just finalized this fall. I’m doubtful that it will change the face of Broadway financing, but it could be a reason why Off Broadway has a renaissance.

3. And Then There Were 41.

What’s a Broadway Producer’s biggest complaint? There aren’t any theaters. Well, Howard Panter and ATG are doing their part with the recent announcement that the Hudson Theatre will be Broadway’s 41st theater. Now, maybe the Shuberts will finally announce that the 42nd will be that parking lot on 44th St.

4. Wait, How Many People Watched?

That was me asking that question, after being told that over 150k people watched my Daddy Long Legs livestream, which surpassed my goal by 50%. But the really memorable moment was the survey response that indicated 80% of those 150k not only wanted more livestreaming in the future, but that they’d pay for it.

5. The Show That Shouldn’t Have Recouped . . . Recouped.

A year ago a very close friend was contemplating making their first Broadway investment . . . in Fun Home. I told them not to do it. (Come on, you would have too.) Thankfully, the friend went with his heart, instead of what was in my head. The show opened, won Best Musical and bingo-bango-bongo, recouped its investment. As I wrote here, never again will anyone (especially me) utter the words, “That can never be a musical.”

6. It Took That Long For This To Happen?

Fun Home not only defied the financial odds, but it also broke gender barriers when Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori became the first all female writing team to win both the Best Score and Best Book Tony Award. If women make up the majority of our audience, wouldn’t it make more sense that we’d want more women writers?

7. Finally, A BroadwayCon Game.

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited about BroadwayCon (an idea I like to think I secret-ed with this post so many years ago). Our first ever Broadway super fan conference is less than one month away and it seems there’s a new exciting announcement every day about what Broadway star is gonna be there, and what’s exactly gonna happen during this weekend celebration of all things Broadway. I’d be there even if I wasn’t speaking on two panels.

8. There Are only Two Certainties in Life: Death and Broadway Tax Relief!

Just a few weeks ago, Broadway finally got what was coming to it . . . tax relief for its Investors. Finally, we’re no longer the middle child of the entertainment industry, and this symbolic legal gesture from Congress and our President is worth as much as the tax benefit itself.

9. The Third Time’s The Charm.

NBC’s commitment to telecasting Broadway musicals is obviously not just some one-show stand. The Wiz was the 3rd show in their series . . . but what makes it so memorable is that there are already plans to bring it to Broadway. Could TV be the new Broadway tryout? With the benefit of increasing the awareness of the title to 11 million people?

10. The Ticketing Wars Wage On.

There are two ticketing companies on Broadway: Telecharge (opened by the Shubert Organization) and Ticketmaster (owned by the public through stock, it’s so big of a company). Prior to this year, Telecharge had the majority of Broadway theaters with all the Shubert houses (duh) and the Jujamcyn theaters, with the rest going to Ticketmaster. This year, Jujamcyn made a big switch, leaving T-charge for the bigger and more powerful TM. And now, with Howard Panter in the game with two theaters (and owning a London-based ticketing company) and Broadway.com expanding its business, expect the battle for Broadway service fees to get even bloodier in the future. Hopefully this competition will only mean good things for the consumer.

 

So there they are, my Top 10 Broadway Moments from 2015.  Now, I know you’ve got your own list. So tell me, and the rest of the Broadway fans that are reading . . . what sticks out in your mind as an important event from the prior year? What did I miss?

Comment below . . . oh, and Happy Broadway New Year!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Comments
  • Bill Frank says:

    As has been a regular addition to all top lists of 2015, I think that the incredible show that is spring awakening should be included. So many good stories and so well reviewed. They will win Tony gold

  • Kyle says:

    The big moments for me were:

    Fun Home (saw it twice)!
    A View from the Bridge (saw it twice; sitting onstage was intense)!
    Hand to God
    Hedwig and the Angry Inch (with John Cameron Mitchell on my birthday)
    And even though I didn’t get in, waiting for the lottery drawing at Hamilton was a lot of fun.

  • Jenn Sessler says:

    i would definitely pay for live streaming of Broadway shows! I just got back from taking my family of 5 (from NC) to see Something Rotten because we had to see the original cast. It was worth it but there are so many other shows we are dying to see. We were one of the 150K households who watched Daddy Longlegs! Please make this happen!!

  • Sue Cohen says:

    Ken. Your podcast! Didn’t it start about one year ago? Thank you for the informative and priceless oral history of Broadway that we will have forever.

  • Ken,

    Isn’t the tax change, a reversal of the tax change happened for producers in the 1950’s where investors no longer had tax right offs, and it became much harder to get investors? Now, it’s a tax write off again?

    If I understand this correctly, this is a very good thing.

    Best,

    Matthew Davis

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