My Top 10 Broadway Moments from 2012


Did this year fly by or what?  It feels like just yesterday when Thoroughly Modern Millie won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Wait a minute.  That was 2002?  Jumping Jack Flash, that was a quick 10 years.

Anyway, 2012 . . . it was a very good year.  And like I’ve done in years past, I singled out my Top Ten Broadway Moments from the past 365 days and listed them below.

Here’s what made my Broadway Top 10 list this year (in no particular order) . . .

1.  Les Miz hits the big screen.

The world’s most popular musical is poised to become the world’s most popular movie.  Expect a few Oscars, a few more million bucks, and most importantly, a few more million fans for the musical, and for musical theater.  Les Miz is the Oklahoma of our generation, and the movie will do wonders for our business.

2.  Once says F.U. to the formula.

Who says you need a big budget, big brand spectacular to be a Broadway success?  Once is anything but the Broadway formula, down to its downright unhappy ending.  But voters and fans made it the Best Musical and a member of the Million Dollar Club.

3.  Disney has a formula of their own.

Then again, formulas ain’t so bad.  Disney announced that Newsies recouped its $5mm investment in just nine months, adding another musical to its win column.  If you’re keeping track, that’s a total of seven Broadway shows produced, and five commercial success.  5 for 7, in an industry that boasts a 1 out of 5 average.  And that’s not even counting the 147 tours of High School Musical.  (Note to self – New Year’s Resolution:  Develop theme park and family movie empire to have endless supply of content.  Oh and purchase a theater).

4.  The Godspell cast of 2032.

Ok, ok, this one is personal.  I’ll admit it.  But watching those 10 (plus one Swing) Mini-Godspellians strut their stuff on the stage of Circle in the Square following a performance of their adult counterparts was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  The only thing cooler?  Three of them went on to make their actual Broadway debut later that same year.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.

5.  Oh Rebecca, Rebecca, what have you wrought?

How does the 2x failure of Rebecca and the tabloid fodder about its mystery investor and the fraud that follows make it to a Top 10 list?  Simple.  This is a blog about producing.  And I don’t think there was another event that taught me and all the other producers out there more than watching this show crash and burn . . . twice . . . taking a lot of jobs with it.

6.  Remember the hubub over the contract negotiation with Local One?

You don’t?  Oh wait, that’s because there was no hubub.  After the Local One Stagehands strike in 2007, everyone is always a bit nervous when the two sides sit down at the table.  But cool and smart heads on both sides prevailed this year, and a new three year contract was agreed upon just over a week ago, without most people even knowing it was being negotiated.

7.  Smash gets signed up for a 2nd Season.

It was touch-and-go there for awhile, let’s admit.  I swear if the story line about Debra Messing’s son got fifteen minutes more airtime, Smash was doomed.  But thankfully, the powers-that-be switched up the showrunner, sacked a bunch of actors, and said, “Let’s give it a season 2!”  My fingers and toes and collection of Playbills are crossed that a Season #3 is on next year’s list.

8.  Broadway shows aren’t the only shows that recoup.

Sure 1 of of 5 Broadway shows recoup, but what’s the Off-Broadway stat?  It could be more like 1 and 100.  Luckily, this year, we got that one when Tribes announced it was in the black.

9.  What was Sondheim so upset about anyway?

When Sir Sondheim fired off an “aggravated” missive to the New York Times in 2011 about the then upcoming Diane Paulus ‘revisal’ of Porgy and Bess, a lot of folks thought the show was going to bear the old-fashioned label of “closed in Boston” and never make it to town.  But make it, it did, and on Tony night, the voters shirked Sondheim and gave it the big prize for revival.

10.  He doesn’t need a ring, he needs a stage.

I never thought I’d see Mike Tyson in the audience of a Broadway show, never mind on a stage.  His show appears on my list this year, not because of its content, and not because of its quality (truth be told, I was out of town for the six performances (!) he gave), but because of its business model.  The ultra-limited run was attempted a few times this year with Iron Mike, Frankie Valli, and more, and results were good enough that I’d expect more in 2013.  Who thinks the lead guy in Amish Mafia has a one man show in him?
So I showed you mine,  Now you show me yours.

What was your favorite Broadway moment from 2012?


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Kathleen Hochberg says:


  • Sue says:

    Best Broadway moment: finding out that my old friend and colleague Richard Schiff was cast in Glengarry Glen Ross. How awesome that the show is a hit. Can’t wait to see Richard in January!! I think it’s his Broadway debut.

  • Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    My first look at Nina Arianda! And shame on me if I didn’t spell that right. Venus indeed! A diva, a star, right before my very eyes. The last time I felt this way was when Meryl Streep appeared in “Trelawney of the Wells.”

  • Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    Or was that 2011? Holy mother of God, is this the end of little Rico?

  • Bruce says:

    I rarely see shows twice. Well in 2012 I saw Follies, Peter and the Starcatcher and Other Desert Cities for the second time. Fantastic theatre.

    • Todd says:

      Bruce, curious as to why you saw DESERT CITIES twice. Just saw it in LA and loved it, but not sure I’d see it again, knowing the turns of plot. Of course, I suppose knowing “it” going in, would make it intersting to compare the 2nd time.

  • Paul Mendenhall says:

    I wasn’t in NYC enough this year to have a list, but I have a moment: when Ryan Steele, who plays “Specs” in “Newsies,” took his bow, he got a roar of audience approval, despite his being in a part that has almost no dialogue. What they were reacting to was his astounding dancing. It takes something very special to stand out as a dancer in a show that dance-heavy. For a general audience to recognize his talent and acknowledge it was tremendously encouraging to me. There hasn’t been outstanding dancing on Broadway for far too long, and clearly audiences want it.

  • Watching Madame Carmen De Lavallade (who toured w/3 other African American female choreographers over the age of 70 just a few years ago) in Street Car Named Desire – watching this beautiful, elegant historic woman still breeze across the stage with class, grace and style gave me great joy.
    And of ocurse. my other fave – Roz Ryan in Scandalous!

  • Cathie A. says:

    10 – Bumping into Mario Lopez on the corner of 50th & 8th. Literally.
    9 – Bumping into Jennifer Coolidge on B’way near Forever 21.
    8 – Working the TKTS plaza on Memorial Day. I have a new respect for the people that work that square!
    7- The Producers Social – where else can you mingle and make connections like that?
    6 – Godspell 2032 auditions – Corinne may not have made the cast, but what an experience!
    5 – Darren Criss in How to Succeed – Parker, Corinne and I had house seats and what a great time!
    4 – Godspell backstage tour! Great fun, shout out to Lindsey..hey there Godspell Girl!
    3 – Godspell Fan Appreciation Day – pizza, hanging out with the cast, the spelly awards – Awesome
    2 – People of Godspell – priceless
    1 – Godspell Closing nite – the most memorable performance I have ever seen on B’way. It was soo moving. We are truly blessed to be part of the Godspell family.

  • Todd says:

    Hi Ken,

    Would love to see an article on what you (and othe producers) learned as a result of the REBECCA debacle.

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