The Wednesday Matinee may not be just for Wednesdays anymore.

Broadway Thursday MatineeLooking for something to do on a Thursday afternoon?  Finally, you can put “See a Broadway Show” on your list of possible to-dos.

At long last, a triumvirate of Broadway shows are leading the alternative-performance-time charge and adding Thursday matinees to their regularly scheduled program.  Mamma Mia!, Phantom of the Opera, and Cinderella collectively announced that commencing April 3, 2014, they will each have a Thursday performance at 2 PM.

There have been a few stray Thursday mat performances before . . . I remember Crazy for You having one back in the 90s.  And maybe even a stray Cats Thurs mat way back when.

But this is the first time a collective has gotten together in an attempt to start a movement.

It reminds me of the “Tuesdays at 7” revolution of a decade ago, albeit that had many more participants, which has now become the norm for 80-90% of the shows out there.

Will Thursday mats become standard for all shows?  Nope.  Because that’s not the point.  With so many shows on the boards these days, having performances at alternative times gives everyone a better shot at filling up, rather than everyone fighting over the same Wed mat audience (How many shows do you think will be up at the TKTS board on a Thursday matinee, hmmm?  Give you one guess.  Three.  How’s that for lack of competition?)

It reminds me of London, where because of the incredible number of shows, they have alternate performance times all over the place.  (My favorite is “Fridays at 5” which captures all those weekending tourists in the summertime who are in town at the start of the weekend.)

Will this work?  I bet yes, although it’s going to be a bit slow out of the gate, which is why I’m giving a standing ovation to the Producers of the three shows above for leading the way for the rest of us.  Believe it or not, this slight performance change is a radical shift and a big risk, but it’s the kind of thing our industry needs in order to give each show a shot at recoupment, especially with our flatlining attendance.   In order to continue to do what we do, we have to break free from the traditions of what we’ve always done.

 

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Comments
  • Randi says:

    The varied schedule is my favorite part about living in London. You can see a matinee nearly every day!

  • Cash says:

    “Rock of Ages” did Friday matinees a couple of years ago–I enjoyed them thoroughly, worked upstairs from them at the time. How did that go, boxofficewise?

  • George says:

    I was at one of those Matiness of “Carzy for You!” (Gawd I LOVED that show… I must have seen it a dozen times… when anyone visited me in NYC)

    I like Mats for two reasons 1.) convenience for the tourists who have a LOT they want to do and any option to fit a show in the afternoon means that leaves the evening free… maybe even for another show!

    2.) Give Understudies a chance… at least where Actors want to preserve their Sanity! I tried to do the Matinee and Evening in my show… once… and OMG!!! Maybe being over 50 has something to do with it, but I was shot after the Matinee… and I felt my concentration slipping away every word by the evening… I couldn’t focus… I wanted to sleep… worst of all I didn’t care.

    Of course IF a tourist is going to see a specific Performer… oh well.

    g

  • Catherine gropper says:

    It ‘s about time !
    Alternating theatre times are just
    the ticket . So much better for commuters
    especially during holiday season.
    Let’s all really invigorate this more by tweeting and sharing with collegues !

  • Catherine gropper says:

    Let’s create a new tradition in town
    by invigorating this idea!
    It’s about time we all can enjoy alternative
    dates to enjoy a show . It’s way better
    for performerd and producers and audience,
    especially commuters over holidays …
    so tweet it and share .

  • Nancy says:

    Bravo ! Long overdue. I’ve caught the few “strays” on occasion and love them. more, More, MORE

  • Elena Muslar says:

    Being from LA, there is a lot of theatre around but not a lot of time to see it. At Center Theater Group (specifically the Ahmanson theater)Thursday matinees have been going on for some time now. They always happen during the last 2 weeks of the run. Having worked as a Priority Services representative there, I have sold many subscriptions specifically for Thursday Matinees. It works out well and are widely attend by people downtown as a break in their work-day or seniors who can’t make it on the weekends. It’s been fairly successful and a great alternative. So I totally support the addition of the Thursday mat!

  • Many theatergoers are still baffled by the 7:00 pm start times. I can’t tell you how often people arrive late for the seven o’clock start time, or think the show was to start at eight.

    • Interesting. I think the 7PM start was the best thing to happen, especially for the working New Yorker. I am very much looking forward to another matinee day, great idea, but do you really think theater owners are willing to do a rotation of matinees?
      Yet I still think the problem with Broadway theater is not the time frame but the high tkt. costs…gotta figure that out.

  • Gary says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Love to have more options for matinees. Have found myself on “off” days wishing there was a matinee to attend.

  • Richard Seff says:

    When my play, PARIS IS OUT! opened in January at the Brooks Atkinson on Broadway,it had a shaky start at the box office. David Black, its producer,correcty pegged it a “matinee show”, & immediately started FOUR matinees a week, Wed., Thurs, Sat. and Sunday.Our grosses climbed weekly for 104 performancdes until a blizzard in April closed two other “nervous hits” and mine.For the right show, it’s a great idea.

  • Richard Seff says:

    For the record, the year for PARIS IS OUT! was 1970! RS

  • PASSION FOR POWER says:

    Ken,
    Passion For Power has the “Alan Alda Hot Dog / Broccoli. I found the old Star Trek do give the same poignant messages.
    Passion For Power’s Rock Opera, “Death Of The Illuminati” deserves a listen
    Tomadeus
    therockopera1@hushmail.com

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