Where oh where are the commercial Off Broadway shows?
They got the headline wrong.
At the tail end of last year, Playbill posted an article entitled “Spring 2015 Off Broadway Preview,” which you can read here.
If I was the editor of Playbill.com, I would have renamed the article, “Spring 2015 Non Profit Off Broadway Preview,” because of the 50 plus Off Broadway shows plugged for the coming months, I found only one, maybe two, that were commercially backed.
Yeah, you read that right.
Now there will be a couple more for sure (I, for one, know of one very high profile commercial Off Broadway project that’s going to announce later this week and get a lot of attention . . . but I can’t talk about that just yet), but to have only such a small percentage of Off Broadway shows backed by commercial theater producers is a dang shame.
So what happened to commercial Off Broadway?
Several things actually. Here are just a few:
- Production Costs have risen so much that when compared to producing the show on Broadway, many producers just say, “Well, I’ll just raise a few more bucks and go bigger.” This is another reason why there is such a theater crunch on Broadway, because some shows are in line that shouldn’t be.
- Broadway has done such a great job in marketing itself over the last several years, that audiences are more inclined to see a Broadway show first than an Off Broadway show. The divide between the two types of theater is greater than ever.
- Broadway theaters are full. With more shows on Broadway, there are more choices for the theatrical tourist, and since Off Broadway shows by design have limited advertising budgets, they struggle to get eyeballs. Tourists land at the airport and are inundated with Broadway shows on billboards and Taxi TV and so many forms of media that Off Broadway shows can’t afford, so they’re starting from the back of the pack before the race has even begun.
So what should we do? Give up? Should Off Broadway become solely the land of Non Profits?
No sir-ee Bob, or whatever your name is.
Commercial Off Broadway can and should still exist, and I’m actually predicting a renaissance in the next decade (The Shuberts buying New World Stages and helping to convince some of those shows (and stars) in the Broadway queue to try Off Broadway instead may be just what the doctor ordered).
So what should you do if you’re producing an Off Broadway show?
I’ll give you five tips tomorrow.
(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
– – – – –
– Listen to Episode 2 of The Producer’s Perspective Podcast and hear Charlotte St. Martin, the Executive Director of The Broadway League, give her perspective on Broadway.
– Are you an actor? Or know one that needs a New Year’s boost? Click here for info on the How To Market Yourself as an Actor teleseminar. One night only!!!
– Win 2 tickets to Rasheeda Speaking Off-Broadway! Click here.