We’re not the only ones hurtin’ right now.

In the past twenty four hours, I received very aggressive offers from a major department store, a local steak house, a golf teacher, and more.  All of them featured a “September Special” or fall sale that had expiration dates at the end of the month or before.

What wisdom did I derive from such direct response marketing?

September sucks.  For everyone.

Broadway has always battled the September Suck-drums but we often think it’s just us.  “The tourists leave at the end of August so that’s why business blows,” said one industry pro to me recently.

And that’s true.

But that’s not it.  Because why would most every other business around the world be sucking major wind, right?  So what’s the problem?

Is it because people just took their vacations, so they have less money?

Is it because they just took their vacations, so they don’t need to go out?

Is it because there is a chill in the air as the weather starts to turn?

Is it because kids have to go back to school?

Is it because September often has several Jewish holidays?

Yes, yep, oh yes, sure, 101% and yessiree bob.

And all those things affect just about every business out there, except maybe companies who sell back-to-school supplies, and the NFL.

So the good news is we’re not alone.  The bad news is there may not be much we can do about it.  If the majority of people are not inclined to see a show, there’s not much you can do to change their minds.

Sure, try promotions, try sales, put new actors in to get press . . . but one of the most important things you can do during the natural downturns in the business calendar year is not focus on income at all . . . but focus on expenses instead.

Batten down your budgetary hatches.  Find places to save.  That’s harder for Broadway, because unlike a restaurant that can scale back wait staff or trim back hours, we’re stuck.  But it can be done.

And if you want to sail through September and get all the way to Christmas and New Year’s it’s a must.

And the good news is that although September sucks for everyone, the holidays are good for everyone.

See you then.


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  • Sue Cohen says:

    As for us 50-something theatre-goers, whose kids are already out of high school and even college, September is the perfect time to travel out of the tristate area. Ola from Barcelona! (And I know I’m missing a lot of Broadway deals this month, grrrrrr)

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