When was the last time THIS happened?
Several years ago, a high-powered Broadway Exec told me, “We get a mega hit about every five years.”
But I’d argue that the hits are coming faster than that now . . . and very shortly, that five year average is going to change significantly. And when it does, it’s going to change the landscape of Broadway along with it.
Broadway just got its latest megahit last year in Hamilton, just one short year after Aladdin sneaked up on us and said, “I know you didn’t expect it, but poof, I’m gonna run for a decade at least!”
I’m not looking backwards, though. I’m soothsaying into the future, because for the first time it’s actually possible to see the mega hits coming from a year away.
We have two more megas coming in the next two years. Frozen (and I know it hasn’t even been produced yet, but come on, you know it’s going to be Ice Age-like enormous) and Harry Potter (another no brainer given what’s happening right now in the UK, and by the number of people I’ve seen reading the script (!) at airports around the country).
Add that to Hamilton, and Broadway will have three mega hits in three years . . . all three of those shows running a decade at least. When was the last time that happened?
It hasn’t. Ever.
The great news is that Broadway, which is already in a bit of a boom (except for this “correction” year), is going to hit a gusher in the next couple of years, bringing in more money and new audiences than ever before.
The question is, will it overflow to the other shows? Or, like this summer, will the big hits just get bigger as the other shows scramble for the box office scraps (let’s not even mention that two more theaters are going to go offline for a long, long time, creating an even longer log jam of new shows wanting to come in)?
And what if another mega hit pops up in the meantime (I’m hearing that Spongebob may prove everyone (including me) wrong, and be a much bigger box office threat than anticipated)?
Mega hits are good for all of us because of the lighting rod effect they have on our industry. But it’ll mean a challenge for the new playwrights and producers with smaller shows looking to have their say on Broadway.
Could Off Broadway return to its former glory as a result?
We’ll find out in just two years.
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