My Top 5 Broadway Moments of 2017.
You can always tell an end of the year by two things . . . the number of tourists in Times Square and the number of lists summing up the year in just a handful of bullet point items.
This, if you haven’t guessed already, is one of those lists.
As always, it was a dramatic twelve months here on Broadway, with a lot to be proud of, and a few things we’d like to forget . . . but plenty to learn from as we all forge ahead.
But my Top 5 Favorite moments of the 2017 Broadway calendar year (in no particular order) go something like this:
1. Magic Number 41.
The hardest thing for any Broadway Producer to do these days isn’t raising money. And it isn’t even selling tickets. It’s getting a theater. Shows can wait for years these days (this one did). And some shows can just be told “it ain’t happenin.” That’s why I was excited to see a new Broadway house come online in 2017, taking our total number of houses to 41, with the beautifully renovated Hudson Theater, operated by The Ambassador Theatere Group.
Now, if only we could get that Times Square Theater back in the game again.
2. Nominations, Schnominations.
Competition was a plenty this year in the new musical Tony Award categories, and a few shows, including A Bronx Tale and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, were shut out completely. Anastasia only received a couple of design nods, and no wins.
And all three of those shows are still running. Sure, Charlie is set to close at the end of the year, but both Anastasia and A Bronx Tale are running strong, with National and International Tours set to follow. (It’s also worth noting that shows that DID get nominations have since gone away). This kind of thing never used to happen. Credit highly targeted advertising campaigns, and word of mouth being able to spread further and faster than ever before for this phenom.
3. The Boss Doesn’t Just Play Broadway . . .
. . . The Boss obviously LOVES Broadway. Why sure, while some people might argue that a concert like Springsteen on Broadway occupies one of those valuable pieces of real estate that could go to a new play or new musical, I think that’s a short-sighted perspective. When someone who is a press and audience lightning-rod comes to one of our houses to hang out, the whole neighborhood goes up in value. And he keeps extending! He doesn’t have to be here . . . but he obviously wants to be here. And he’ll have plenty of other high profile artists saying to themselves, “Shoot, if Bruce Springsteen likes Broadway, maybe I should check it out.” And they will. And they all want to perform here . . . they’ll act, write, produce, and even just sit in the audience . . . and our community will be stronger as a result.
4. A Show That Shouldn’t Recoup Does . . . And Fast.
Some called it the 9/11 musical. Others called in Come Fly Away With Me . . . To Canada. Now you have to call it a big fat hit. It took Come From Away only eight months to get their cash back, thanks to their joyful story and score, terrific theatricality and staging, and super-unique style, proving once again that what our audiences want more than stars and more than spectacle, is a great story, well told.
5. Once On This Island
How could I not put this on my list? I mean, almost two years ago to the day I sat in a conference room with Michael Arden, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens and we imagined what our production could be like. And wouldn’t you know it . . . it happened just like we dreamed. Whoop, there it is.
What were your favorite moments of 2017? List ’em in the comments below. And then, let’s see what we can do to go make one of these moments in 2018.