The Broadway League Conference Day 2: Broadway goes global.

The 2nd day of the conference was a potpourri of panels with a lot of exciting topics and inspiring ideas about variable pricing (and even more important – how to set the right price for your show before you open), how and when to discount, and even an inspiring interview with Emilio Estefan.  (Side note:  a musical about Emilio and his wife Gloria Estefan, was officially announced for Broadway today as well!)

But what got me doing the conga was the session about goin’ global . . . and how Broadway shows can take advantage of the new world market for musicals.

One of the reasons why Broadway shows are economically challenged is that, unlike movies, they only exist in one place . . . Broadway.  Of course, we’ve found a way to widen distribution to national tours . . . and eventually stock and amateur productions.  But as the pros from Disney, Chicago, etc. spoke about today . . . thanks to the Cameron Macintosh opening up the gateways to the world with Cats, Les Miz, etc., there are now several dozen other markets that can help increase the income to a Broadway show’s coffer, thereby reducing the risk to potential investors.

In fact, here’s a piece of trivia that was mentioned today that you can impress your Broadway friends with:

What is the most profitable piece of licensed intellectual property in the world?

The Phantom of the Opera.

So besides that cocktail-party-impresser what else did I learn today?

  • Global successes are even more rare than Broadway successes – requiring “hit” status on the Great White Way and in London to really know you can make it in any market.
  • Who the local Producer is in each market is your most important decision as a licensor.  If you don’t even speak the language, how can you understand the market?
  • All eyes are on China, which everyone expects to be the next big market for Broadway shows.
  • Stars aren’t just popular on Broadway.  Every country has their equivalent of Hollywood/Pop Music stars, and they can sell tickets.
  • There are about 28 markets out there that will buy Broadway shows.  That’s an entire season of touring!

It was not only an educational session, but an inspiring one as well.  I have to admit, that I spent half of it taking notes, and the other dreaming of what it would will be like to have a global phenom like Cats or Mamma Mia.  🙂

The conference wraps up tomorrow.  And I’ll wrap it up with a bow for you then too.


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  • janis says:

    Though I’m certainly no expert, my contacts and online indicators seem to point to a more receptive market in London and a few other global areas for original works.
    If Broadway is going to be Broadway again, there needs to be more original works produced.
    Love hearing what’s going on. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  • Henrik Hartvig Jorgensen says:

    Another way of introducing B-way and West End to the world is to follow into the steps of opera that televises performances from say the Met, La Scala etc and shows them in movie theatres across the world – including Denmark, where I’m from. Seatprices are around $35. This could seriously boost an audience but are probably only relevant for blockbusters – then again you never know 🙂

  • JT Nichols says:

    well, if you’re really looking for the next global phenomenon, Jesus & the Pirates (by yours truly and Charles Brown Jr., the composer) KILLED all audiences, in 2 separate productions….

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