Are we experiencing another British invasion?
I don’t know about you, but it feels like everywhere I look this Broadway season, someone is talking with a British accent.
We’ve got Curious Incident and Queen Elizabeth and that two-parter Wolf Hall to name just a few of the tea and crumpet crews that have landed on our shores this year.
So is it just me, or are the British really coming, and coming, and coming?
As much as I like to go with my gut, I like to go with the data even more, so I put my trusty assistant Dylan on the task of sorting through the last 20 years of new Broadway productions to see what the stats revealed. (Since Dylan got a mention in the NY Post when she did some research for me on Broadway Investing, she was more than happy to dig into the archives – that and the fact that she works for me, so she kinda has to.)
We’ve prepared three graphs based on what we learned, which are below. They are:
- The total percent of new UK imports on Broadway over the past 20 years
- The percent of new UK play imports over the last 20 years
- The percent of new UK musical imports over the last 20 years
Before you go peeking at the graphs . . . pull out a piece of paper. Come on, you know what paper looks like, don’t you? Now, write down your guess for what each of the above %s will be. Go on. And then next to each percentage, draw an arrow. Up, down, or flat. Guess what the trend will be.
Now let’s see if you were right. Here are the three graphs.
How’d you do?
Now how did I do?
Well, I was was right. Sort of. It is feelin’ blimey this year, because we haven’t had this many imports since 2007. But it’s not so bollocks as it was in 1998 when almost 1/4 of the new shows on Broadway were from across the pond.
I’m definitely going to rerun this graph again next year. Because, frankly, I’m concerned, and I’ll go out on a tree branch and predict that next year we will see more British imports than we’ve seen in the last two decades.
Why would that concern me? After all, great theater is great theater, no matter where it comes from, right?
Well, it’s hard to keep our status as the theater capital of the world if more and more shows don’t start here.
And, more importantly, with the current theater crunch, more British imports mean less American writers get their shows on.
I’m really not an anti-British guy, by the way. I love it there, and so much of their work is outstanding. I just want to make sure our guys get their shots too.
Tune in next year, same time, same blog, to see if my prediction comes true.
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