The war of the revivals. Who has the advantage?
The biz is buzzing about the battle of the two major heavyweight revivals this year. Who will take home the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical? Will it be the mother of all mother-daughter stories, Gypsy? Or was the wait worth it for R&H and South Pacific?
And, more importantly, does Pacific have an advantage over Gypsy because it was produced by a Non-Profit?
I decided to look at some numbers to see who was taking home the most trophies on Tony night, NPs or commercial producers.
We start our research in 1994, because that was the first year there was a delineation between revivals of musicals and plays. It used to be one big category.
Since then, 5 of the 14 awards given out for Best Revival of a Musical were produced by non-profits or 36%.
Best revival of a play? 7 of the 14 winners were producer by non-profits or 50%.
Sorry my pundit friends, no clear cut favorite here based on these numbers.
Still, does Pacific have an advantage because it could afford to employ more musicians, employ more actors, previewed as long as a new musical would preview, etc. because they weren’t relying on ticket sales to fund the production?
Yes, they have an advantage.
But they only have it because they wanted it. And the commercial producer could have taken the same risks, if they could convince their investors it was worth it.
I’ve seen NPs underproduce shows and look cheap, and I’ve seen
commercial producers overproduce and have almost no regard for the
bottom line (Show Boat, anyone?).
Either way, it’s a choice the producer has to make, no matter who is paying the bills. And whoever have the most guts usually wins.
In this case? It’s South Pacific. The scarity rule plays here. By
keeping SP off the boards for so long, they’ve created something
super-special that yet another production of Gypsy can’t beat.