Should there be two Broadway Leagues or one?

The Broadway League, or the artist formally known as The League of American Theaters and Producers, includes two groups of people that many say should be segregated, Theater Owners and Producers.

While both of these groups have common underlying passions, they are natural business adversaries, since they are at opposite ends of the negotiating table when a Producer has a new show:  one is a landlord and one is a tenant (Would a Tenants Rights Association ever allow landlords to hold powerful positions on its board?)

In boom-times, these differences are oft overlooked. But when “the wolf is at the door”, as Broadway Producer Roger Berlind was quoted as saying, both sides not only start drawing lines in the snow, but they start throwing snowballs.

You can read some of the big hard wet ones that were thrown recently in this article here.

Why were Owners and Producers brought together under one umbrella in the first place?  Simple.  For a long time, they were one and the same.  But as times and economics have changed, the owners have produced less, and have relied more on their rent and other ancillary income (ticketing service fees, concessions), and allowed other Producers to take the bigger risk of putting a show in their theaters.

But that’s different these days . . . so should the make up of The League be different?


Broadway needs unified support from theater owners, producers, and everyone who depends on the success of Broadway . . . including unions.

My thought is to expand the League, and include the leaders from major organizations, including unions, advertising agencies, and create a Broadway Alliance that serves us all.  We’d be more powerful, have more resources (aka cash), and truly be a force to be reckoned with all over the world.

Then, I’d create an organization only for Producers to serve our interests exclusively (negotiations with unions, how best to structure deals with writers, etc.).

Because if a wolf is at the door looking for food, I don’t want anyone else looking to eat off my plate from inside my own house.

  • Mike says:

    Outstanding article from Bloomberg and an excellent post. The more I understand about the business end of things, it seems a near impossibility to 1) find quality material when writers only get 2% and 2) put on a financially sucessful show with everyone getting their hands in the producers’ pockets. I agree that quality matters enormously, but too often, we’ve seen quality struggle.
    It seems to me that the time may have come to really examine the “system” and think of a better way. The more I think about it, I wonder why someone hasn’t started looking away from NYC to establish a new model. Pooling grosses of “teams” of shows perhaps? New theatres owned by a group of actual producers who can be bought out? Just throwing darts wildly…anyway, great blog, as always.

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