7 Things I’m Thankful for On Broadway This Season

Gobble, gobble yo.  It’s Thanksgiving on The Broadway! (For full effect, say that last sentence out loud and put the emphasis on the “way!”)

It’s so easy to pick and fuss about all the things wrong with our fabulous invalid known as the Broadway theater.  And G-d knows, we do it on this blog every other day.

But on this  wonderful holiday, it’s important to remember that despite our dysfunction, and the many things that don’t make sense about what we do, we still have a lot to be thankful for.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, here are 7 Theater Things I’m Thankful for on Broadway this season:

1.  Remember that time there was a strike?

Six years ago, there was a massive stagehands strike that shut down almost all of Broadway.  Since then, each and every contract negotiation with all the unions has been relatively quiet.  Phew.  Thanks be.

2.  Times Square is anything but “square.”

A massive Times Square renovation is underway . . . again . . .which will make the center of our city even more friendly for pedestrians.  And while many people may be bothered about what’s happening to the crossroads of the world, I’m hugely appreciative that Broadway’s front yard is becoming more and more of a tourist destination unto itself.  The more people drawn to the square, the more people that will end up inside our theaters.

3.  LaGuardia would be proud.  Finally.

Fiorella LaGuardia had a musical written about him.  And an airport named after him.  Guess which one would have him rolling in his grave?

If you’ve flown out of LaGuardia International anytime in the last decade, you know the answer.  After years of consistently being ranked as one of the worst airports in the country, there is finally some progress on a renovation.  A 6-10 year (which probably means 15), 3.6 billion dollar reno project will begin next fall aimed at bringing the airport into this century.  Why is this important to Broadway?  65% of our audience comes from outside the tri-state . . . and a lot of them arrive and depart through LaGuardia.  We want them to feel good when they land, and when they leave . . . and not like they’re flying on a cargo plane into a third world country.  What took us so long, people?

And can Port Authority be next???

4.  A Disney show is knockin’ on the door.

This spring, another Disney show arrives, and this one comes via magic carpet!  Aladdin opens at the New Amsterdam Theatre (which was the cornerstone of the entire redevelopment of 42nd St, btw).  I know what you’re saying.  “Disney?  You’re thankful for Disney?”  Yeah, dudes.  I am.  There ain’t another Broadway Producer around that has the ability to train an entirely new generation of theatergoers like Disney.  Thanks to their titles, from Beauty to Lion King to Newsies to Aladdin and to next season’s (?) Jungle Book, massive amounts of kids have come to the theater for the first time.  And I’ll bet you a big percentage of them keep coming into their adulthood.  In fact, hmmmm . . . Beauty and the Beast opened in ’94.  Broadway had an attendance and gross boom shortly thereafter (check out the graphs for yourself).  The Disney factor?  You betcha.

5.  The Rockettes don’t have to miss us anymore.

How hot is it that the Tonys are back at Radio City?  Sure, sure, The Beacon production was very well done, but I’m thanks-a-licious that we’re back at the city’s biggest and baddest live performing arts venue.  I’m also thankful that the price of the Tony Tickets dropped since we were in a venue with a lot more seats.  (Oh, wait, sorry, I dozed off for a second there and was dreaming . . . cuz that price drop surely didn’t happen!)

6.  We’re a resilient little bugger.

I was shakin’ in my boots at our Q1 results this season, but as I reported yesterday, “things are lookin’ up,” to quote a Gershwin tune from a certain musical (guess which one before clickin’ here).  Once again, our resiliency surprises even may.  Some might say  (are you ready for this one?) . . . Broadway is like a cockroach.  No matter what you throw at us (the internet, a depression-like recession, etc.) we just keep comin’ back!

7.  One word.  You.

I remember when I wrote my very, very first blog, and I wondered if anyone would care about this kind of Broadway stuff as much as I did.  And, well, I’m incredibly thankful that every year a few more of you join our passionate theater-lovin’ ranks.  I was lucky enough to win a Tony Award this year, and I’ve also been lucky enough to have received a few other honors in the past, but nothing, nothing is a bigger compliment than having you read my stuff.  So for the bottom of my stuffing-filled stomach, on this Thanksgiving, I say a huge thank you, gracias, merci, to all of you.


That’s my list.  And now, your turn . . . What are you thankful for this theater season?

 

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

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FUN STUFF:

– Win Two Tickets to Hamlet and Two Tickets to Saint Joan.  Click here to enter!

– Win $500 in our Songwriting Contest!  Click here to enter.

– Come to my 6th Annual Producer’s Perspective Social on 12/12!  Click here to RSVP.

– Attend the How to Audition Workshop on 12/5.  Only one participant spot and a few auditor spots are left!  Click here to register.

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Comments
  • Luci Jo DeVoy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.
    I am thankful for veterans of the industry who are willing to share their daily insights with those of us coming up through the ranks. I have found this blog to be an invaluable tool. Along with Thomas Cott and Howard Sherman’s blogs, I look forward to reading this everyday.

  • Ironic but funny to hear complaints about the price of Tony Awards tickets. The Tony Voters see every eligible show for free (IF they actually use their Tony tickets themselves, many don’t, and flout the Tony rules). I wonder why there is no dynamic pricing for the Tony Awards show anyway. Let them feel what the common folk must endure.

    BTW-The 2007 “stagehand strike” was precipitated by a League lockout and imposition of rules not collectively bargained and agreed to. Forest Gump was right: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Rebecca says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    I am also grateful for your blog and all the advice you give for Broadway lovers and up and coming theater folk like me.
    I am also grateful for Disney on Broadway, I think that Disney is a great way to get young people interested in Broadway. I for one will be buying tickets to Aladdin and I am very excited about it.

  • Carl says:

    Please don’t ever again print a picture of a roach when my belly is filled with a thanksgiving meal.

    That said, ever thankful to Ken D and Jane C for getting Date of a Lifetime started.

  • Debbie Saville says:

    I found your website/blog on a random google search to find help on creating a new show idea. Then I saw your class offering “How to get your show off the ground” and I thought “Great… but I am sure the price is out of my league”. And then it wasn’t. So I signed up, and my 2 best friends went with me on a wonderful weekend trip to NYC. I will never forget sitting at this beautiful victorian looking bar/restaurant across the street from your studio, with my best friends right before the class, so nervous, I didn’t think I would cross the street and actually follow-thru. But I did, and here I am signing a contract for a summer 2014 Pittsburgh premier almost a year and 1/2 later. Overall, this will be a 3 yr journey to our premier date and in the middle of it all I thank you the most for the continued support and encouragement you provide, somehow finding the time within your own busy schedule to help others follow their dreams.

  • Fred Landau says:

    With the public reaction to that Kinky Boots Thanksgiving Parade number, may some people who get marginalized at times get schmaltzy and be thankful this next day for Ms. Roth and all of you producers for having dared to be! And be just as thankful that such daring gets rewarded on 2013 Broadway’s own financially quirky terms.

    It’s scary that your show makes such a difference still, but indeed it does.

  • Phyllis B says:

    Happy Thanksgiving- This season, so far, I am theatrically thankful for “The Glass Menagerie,” “Twelfth Night” and “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder.” But mainly for being able to go to see a Broadway or Off-Broadway play whenever I can, especially when my family come along for the experience.

  • George says:

    DISNEY!

    Back in the 90s – whe I was ONLY an audience member – I really had NO interest in Disney on Broadway… why see a show trying to do the amazing animation that I had seen in the movie?

    Then “Lion King” showed me why!

    Okay, but I still did not have an urge to see “Beauty and the Beast” or any of the other Disney-fied shows…

    But now I am trying on the Producer’s cap and I had to see “Newsies” because, well, so many people that I met in North Carolina and, more recently, Delaware said that THAT was the show they liked best… in some cases the ONLY show they saw when they got to NYC!

    Why?

    Well, “Disney” is an advertising machine, right, so they can get to the word out (even if the local print media seems to want to ignore the show… didn’t see it in Time Out NY??? Did I miss it???)

    More interesting – this was a Movie Musical BOMB!!! Granted it developed a cult following, but hardly of “Rocky Horror” ilk…

    The show is an amazing Dance extravaganza and has some of the most tuneful melodies this side of the Sondheim tracks…

    And Middle Class America LOVES this stuff!

    More Tourists are coming to NYC but – fewer – are going to Braodway.

    Ticket prices?

    That may make ’em more selective…

    But I think “Newsies” and “Cinderella” are simply going to appeal to a MUCH larger crowd.. than “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” (once word got around how “creepy” the show is… and un-tune-full)

    I’m even thinking that a large chunk of that crowd – who will see a Disney show will not be concerned about getting tickets for “Book of Mormon” (particularly if they are “Mormon” and that is the fastest growing religion in the country…)

    Is’t possible that the growing number of tourists are simply turned-off by a lot of what Broadway had to offer??? Where as they know that Disney is a Standard that assures their audience why that man is wearing a dress or why it okay to make fun of some people’s faith… but not another???

    Curious Times

    g

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