Where will Broadway be in 20 years?

I saw a musical set in the future this week, and it made me wonder just what Broadway will look like a couple of decades from now.

It has actually been almost 20 years since I arrived here in Manhattan, as a freshly scrubbed college sophomore, and I’ve certainly seen some changes during those twenty years.

In 1991, 42nd St. was not somewhere you wanted to hang out on a Saturday evening.

We had just started giving seat locations to ticket buyers over the phone. (Previously, customers just bought a section and didn’t know they were sitting until they walked into the theater.)

And an ad in The New York Times actually sold some tickets.

So where will we be in another 20 years?

Will Wicked still be running?  How much will tickets cost?  Will we have more theaters?  Less?  The same?  What will be the “new way” to sell tickets? (Email blasts didn’t exist 20 years ago.)

(My answers?  Yes.  $500.  The same but 1-2 more non-profits will occupy those theaters.  And everything we do will be done through our “phones”.)

Tell me your predictions.  Where will Broadway be in 20 years?

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Comments
  • I was thinking about the idea of what it would take to build a new broadway theatre from scratch the other day. It certainly does comewith significant financial risk, from the perspective I understand, which I’ll admit is limited. But what impressed me from a recent trip to London could work here. There is a theatre in londons west end that has roughly the same dimensions as the National Theatre. We have a theatre here, the lincoln centers Vivian Beaumont, that has a similar design too. The theatre in the west end was able to take on the extended run of war horse and the national could continue developing the work they are known for. Lincoln center does not have that option. They have to halt their new work until they feel they are satisfied with their runs at the Beaumont. Or just not extend their shows. I think it would be smart of a theatre owning organization to buoldna theatrein a similar configuration as the national and Lincoln center, so that he can take advantage of easy transfers to this new B’Way theater without having to significantly rework the staging!

  • Im actually optimistic about Broadway in 20 years. I see hope for the future in Broadway. Its a successful thing and daily people fight to be on it. Whether you are an actor, director, producer, or even an usher. We’re going to see new faces in theater. THANK. GOD. TALENT! ACTUAL TALENT. In 20 years, I also hope that we are going to perfect the whole “Lets-get-a-star-on-that-stage” gimmick. We always hear about the “movie star” stage only being “ok.” Not stellar. 20 years will perfect it. I also hope that in 20 years, we’ll be able to make things better for each actor in the union. Equity is great! They work their butts off! But! in 20 years, actors are going to push for higher minimum rates and better benefits. And they’ll fight for it. I would gladly fight for it too. The new generations of theater people are more outspoken, and above all they are willing to work through to get what they want. Being in a theater school, I see it everyday. And man! CAN THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT! Objective: completed. Tactics: many.
    In 20 years. Broadway and Live theater will be the only thing that we see live. TV is going to Change. Cable/satellite might be extinct. No lie! We’re going to be seeing things mostly through internet. With the uproar of TV shows on the internet, we slowly wont need cable. But we’ll still need our big tvs to watch it on. THEATER is our only chance to go out and see something thats practically 5 feet away from us. Theater is always our experience to see something up close and personal. In 20 years, its still going to be here because we’re sick of watching a 50 inch Flat screen all day.
    Now. With our economy, We’re going to see a change in the way we purchase tickets. Politics are affecting us. Sickness….poverty. You name it, we feel it. Gas in 20 years will have an affect on theater. Why? Because the Oil industry is screwing the country so much, that there might be a long lasting affect on the way we look at our way of business. Broadway feels it now, and will have to change in 20 years because of it. I don’t know how. I don’t know what. But its going to change. Broadway will get screwed because of it. Thanks, Country. Its funny because everyone says my generation and the younger generations are too wild, but I have to say, the older generations can kiss my patootie, because look at the mess we’ll have to clean from their chaos. Dont be calling the kettle black! Look at yourself before you judge anyone else.
    With that in mind, the younger generations of Broadway will rock. Just wait and see. Every year talent gets better. We always strive for improvement, we push the envelope, we want more and more. Also, we look for something new, yet we’ll always cherish the old. Revivals will be looked at in a different way. Anything and everything will be made into a musical: Movies, Books, Music Videos, Harry Potter….don’t knock it till you try it…am i right? lol. We’re going to see everything on Broadway because people will say “I was the first to try this….”
    Wow…I rambled. BUT all in all….Broadway will be here.

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    Spider-Man will still be in previews

  • emmichelle says:

    In 20 years could we possibly be able to watch shows from home? Like Mark said above the Internet is going to be taking over. There is already interest in recording live performance for movie theater audiences. Is it possible that we’ll be in a place where people will be able to stream a live performance from the Internet. Hook that connection up to 3D tv (which in 20 years could be some intense technology) and your night’s audience goes from limited number of seats to infinite viewers. Of course this will probably drive up the price of actual seats to astronomical numbers.
    Not totally out of the realm of possibilities.

  • Kile Ozier says:

    Fear Not. In 20 years, Broadway will still run right through Times Square. I guarantee it.

  • Bryan Austermann says:

    I mostly just care about your first question. And I agree with you that Yes, Wicked will still be running. And probably will still be selling out!

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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