WWYD with TOS?

Remember when we talked about the concept of a Broadway to Off-Broadway transfer?

Title of Show is as close to a perfect candidate as you can get for this experimental idea.  Shoot, give me 24 hours, a u-haul, and a collaborative team (and unions) and I could have a version of that show up somewhere else in the city.

The one flaw from our original concept is that TOS hasn’t benefited from any Tony publicity yet.  And then there’s the question . . . would they even be eligible if they downsized before the Tonys?  Would they be eligible for Off-Broadway and Broadway awards (Broadway shows that have moved from Off-Broadway are eligible for both).

Lots of questions . . . but the most important question is:

What would you do if you were the Producers of TOS?

Comment away with your thoughts.  Luckily, this is Fantasy Broadway, where you make the call, but no real dollars are won or lost.

Which means you have no excuse not to play.  So think about it.  Because when your real dollars are at stake, and they will be soon . . . you’ll have wished you practiced more.

  • I agree with you completely. [tos] has proven they have a committed fan base. They also have the best viral marketing behind them of any show I have seen try it. Sep 15-21 Grosses put them at 35% of a 914 house…sad numbers indeed, but 320 people will make an off-broadway house look packed. If I were the producers, I would seriously look at this option. The closing notices of Xanadu and Legally Blonde would also make me consider postponing the Broadway run at least a few weeks just to see if it can pick up any of those audience members. As for the Tonys, I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be eligible.

  • NineDaves says:

    i don’t know how i feel about the idea of transferring [tos] to off-broadway. [tos] has a bit of a masturbatory tone to it. and yes, while the show on a whole did speak to a greater “follow your dreams” ideal, i still believe it’s a show for other show people. i don’t think it would last long off-broadway. i think we’d see a few weeks of success, and then the public would petter out.
    personally, i would take [tos] away from the stage and back to the internet. i’d love for more [tos] show. then, i’d do limited off-broadway [tos] runs, offering something unique up each time. kind of like forbidden broadway.
    i think xanadu is structured more for off-broadway. i could see that show doing very well away from the pressure of times square.

  • in response to NineDaves…
    I’m first going to disclose that I am absolutely a [tos]ser and proud. I think that while the show is out there for show people others can relate. I am from Wisconsin and in the last few months have taken 2 non-show people from back home who where visiting me to see the show and they have loved it. They are not show people in any way, but they can relate to the larger message. I don’t see the fizzle occuring like you think it would. I think [title of show] is kind of the Chorus Line of this generation. Back when Ken first blogged about moving Broadway shows to Off-Broadway, I thought it was a really amazing idea. I think that [tos] is really the first show that this could be an option with. In an interview with Hunter and Jeff on AM New York http://weblogs.amny.com/entertainment/stage/blog/2008/09/our_lengthy_postclosing_notice.html they actually talk about taking it off-Broadway. I think that this is a good possibility and may be the guide for future shows facing the same challenges.

  • RLewis says:

    Certainly the production is priced to move and packaged to fit in a suitcase or any area black box; but the topic of an upstart show making it to the big time on Broadway by just following ones dreams might seem more than a bit odd Off-Bway.

  • Give them a dark night slot in rep with something else–on the condition that Hunter and Jeff spend some of their off-time writing a new show that is not about itself.
    The first part is because I suspect that the show could continue to run in that situation (just dump the stupid moving walls from the end); the second part is because they are indisputably talented, but [tos] is not a great show.

  • I would certainly move the show Off-B’way. If Forbidden Broadway could survive ups and downs for 28 years, certainly something like this could run for a while on similar good will. Maybe you’d need to add a new scene or song about the move, but it seems like a show that could be flexible and fluid that way. At our company, we prefer playing in small spaces and filling them, then adding performances as needed. It’s psychological for the audience–they’re happy to see it’s a popular show, and potential audiences are interested when they see the run is extending, which means it must be worth going to see. Our current show is made up of one man and a chair, with a messenger bag and a couple of props that fit inside–that’s economy. TOS is a similarly portable show. Is it too inside? Is “30 Rock” too inside? Maybe. But it seems to me there are enough potential audiences to make it a hit off Broadway where it would wither on Broadway. Put it somewhere like New World Stages or Theatre Row, where it would play to a loyal customer base within a complex of stages and/or be promoted to a captive audience of people coming to other shows, and I bet it could run for a while.

  • Kris Stewart says:

    Ken Davenport – you are the most interesting thinker among Broadway producers. Which makes you the best of a motley lot, true, but it’s still something …

  • Kevin McGowan says:

    Technically, [tos] isn’t eligible for Drama Desks or OCC awards, since it played off-broadway in 2006 in (essentially) the same form. Same reason In the Heights wasn’t eligible for them last year as well. [tos] just took a few years in between. True, there have been many changes, but no more so than many other off-broadway shows that have transferred to Broadway.
    Should [tos] move off-broadway? It really depends on the nitty-gritty of the financials. How much debt does it have? What are the running costs? How much will it cost to transfer? How long would it take to pay off the debt? All these things need to be taken into account…
    That said, I loved [tos]. I just hope that Jeff and Hunter channel their creativity into another show in the near future, not just into [tos].

  • Scott says:

    I’ve always thought [tos] would have worked better in a commercial Off-Broadway enviroment, rather than a Broadway run. I think the show’s great, and am very excited and proud that they made it to the Lyceum. And every one of the performers have proved that they can handle themselves on a Broadway stage. But the whole vibe of the show has always screamed OB to me. I know it may not seem as glamorous, and it would not have been eligible for big, flashy awards like the Tonys, but I just think that’s the right enviroment for this show. The fact that they’re already in a commercial run in a Broadway theatre is almost like giving away the ending of the show before you even see it. At least with OB, there would always be that flicker of hope at the end that one day this little show is gonna “make it.” I think with the right marketing, [tos] could become the next Fantasticks or I Love You, You’re Perfect, or even . . . dare I say it . . . Altar Boyz. Definitely something to consider anyway . . .

  • Brian Kuchta says:

    I think the idea of taking an interesting and fresh show and moving it from its big shot at Broadway to an Off Broadway house is kind.
    Kind in the same way as a Little League coach who takes his team out for pizza after losing the championship by 12 runs. They took their shot, they gave it their all, but this time, it just didn’t work out…. maybe it’s time to move on to football or hockey…not to mention that the marching band may need the baseball field to practice their half time performance on.
    In other words, the TOS creative team shot for the stars, hit them and came back down to earth. They are obviously talented, so perhaps its time to go off and create something interesting and fresh…again, and let another show that is hopefully interesting and fresh have that Off Broadway space so that eventually it too can shoot for the stars.
    PS. As I was thinking about this idea of “reverse transfer,” I did some research. According to the Lucille Lortel Foundation, the Mike Nicholas produced “Billy Bishop Goes to War” was “the first play to move from Broadway to Off-Broadway” in the 80’s. So this “reverse transfer” has happened in the past and the phrase “the first play” makes me think that there have been other “reverse transfers.” As to the success or failure of this type of show that does “reverse transfer,” it is nearly impossible to hone in on the financial success or failure of this type of move. There are too many variables – the 80’s were a different time in terms of the US and the world, “Billy Bishop” is a two man show, its a Canadian import, etc. However, if I were an investor, I would be hard pressed to invest in this type of move.

  • Gil says:

    Here’s the problem, particularly for Title of Show:
    It’s a musical about dreams becoming reality. About success. It’s a musical about how a small idea became a Broadway musical. It’s all about the road to Broadway. Does the moved-to-OB version acknowledge the Broadway run? Does it acknowledge that it’s no longer on Broadway? Xanadu isn’t aware of what Theatre it is being played in; Title of Show a little moreso…

  • It’s true that the show is about dreams becoming a reality, but it could easily be tweaked to point out that playing in NYC is pretty good either way. Or–perhaps even more interesting–when reality intrudes on the dream, but then, in moving off b’way and continuing and running, the reality becomes the dream instead of the other way around. And that’s a message than everyone can take away, not just starry-eyed Broadway musical fanatics.
    And then, it would get a little more depth and weight to it perhaps, and it ought to be different enough to qualify for the other awards as a result.

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