The trouble with the transfer from Off Broadway to On.
One of the well worn paths to the Great White Way is the Off Broadway to On Broadway route. A show starts out at an Off Broadway theater, gets some great reviews and some even better word of mouth, and uptown it storms, the buzz of its success still working its way around cocktail parties (and the impressions of its advertising campaigns still on everyone’s minds). Early previews are bolstered by the Off Broadway kick off, and the show takes off much faster than it would have without the preceding Off Broadway production.
So, for those of you who are looking to spring-board your show to Broadway, this is a smart and strategic approach, right?
I often advise my General Management and Consulting Clients that one of the ways to get their show to Broadway is to go the Off Broadway route first, especially if you are a starless vehicle, or you lack the political capital to get yourself a Broadway theater or a $10mm capitalization. Going Off Broadway is 10% of the cost, and everyone takes notice when a show garners raves – including the theater owners and Broadway investors. (And if things don’t work out, and you don’t get the reviews or the word of mouth you want, well, then, you just saved nine million bucks and you can go on to your next show.)
So why the sort of?
The times have changed in the last decade. Getting a Broadway theater ain’t so easy anymore . . . even if your show gets raves, or has money thrown after it. That means if you produce an Off Broadway show commercially, or if you enhance a non-profit, you can’t just expect to bounce straight to Broadway. You might need to wait a year, or more. And while waiting may not be the worst thing in the world (In The Heights and Next To Normal treaded water successfully), it’s certainly not the preferred path.
Does that mean you skip the Off Broadway idea altogether? By no means.
It just means that as a Producer, you may have more time between your Off Broadway run and your eventual Broadway run, which means you have to work harder at keeping your marketing ball in the air (without spending much money). You need a strong social media presence, you need to “sample,” maybe even go out of town (Next to Normal, anyone?) and do anything you can to keep your show in the theatrical conversation.
Things are tougher when theaters are getting so scarce. But that just means we have to get more creative.
And isn’t that more fun anyway?
(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
– – – – –
– Need to raise money for your show? Get Raise It! My just released and guaranteed how-to guide. Click here.
– Come to our 10 Minute Play Festival! Click here to get tix.
– Win two tickets to see Hair at the Hollywood Bowl! Click here to enter.
– The next How to Raise Money Seminar is on August 16th. Click here to register.