How is Broadway business on the road anyway?

This could be the shortest blog on the web-planet.

Because I could answer the question in the headline of this blog with one word . . .


But you don’t like yes/no/good/bad answers, do you?  Because none of us learn from that.  We want to know why something is the way it is . . . and then learn what we can do about it.

Just this week, Variety published an article about the rise in season subscriptions in markets across America, crediting this increase to everything from American Idol to Glee and, of course, Hamilton.

And the article is right.

I’d go on to give props to NBC’s live telecasts, more movie musicals, and, Hamilton.  Wait, did I say that already?  Oh right, I did.  And I will say it again. Hamilton.  Because it has had at least three times the direct impact on the rise in subs around the country than anything else.

And, unlike the others, it’s measurable.

See, here’s how it works.

First, everyone knows that wherever Hamilton goes, it’s going to sell out.

Demand = sky high.

The Performing Arts Centers or Presenters in the touring markets tell their consumers, “The only way to guarantee you get tickets to see Hamilton is to be a subscriber.”

Demand for subscriptions = sky high.

What’s amazing is that in some cases they are able to demand these subscriptions a year before Hamilton arrives in their town!  This is a historic opportunity for markets with season subscriptions . . . they aren’t saying, “Subscribe this year to get tickets to this show.” They are saying, “You have to subscribe this year, to get a chance to subscribe next year, to get tickets to this show.”

Boom time.

The trickle down effect for ALL touring shows right now, is that you’re walking into a market that is better sold in advance than it would have been had the Hamilton subscription squeeze not been in effect.

Make sense?

So everyone touring right now is happy.  (Although one savvy touring Producer recently said to me, “You know, Ken, subscriptions are sold at a discount, so if you’re another sell-out show, then your gross potential in these markets just went down because there are less single tickets to sell at full price.”  Smarty pants, right?)

Touring houses can leverage this kind of “must buy X to get Y” because they are the only game in town.  It’s impossible on Broadway.

Or is it?

All that you’d need is a show that sells out, like, oh, I don’t know, Hamilton.  And then all you’d need is for the Producer of that show to be producing another show, like, oh, I don’t know, Cher.  And then, all that the Producer would need to say would be, “Hey, want access to Hamilton tickets before anyone else?  Buy tickets to Cher and I’ll let you cut the line.”


The most powerful thing that you can have in any business is a product that is so successful it allows you to promote the success of another product.

What can you do today to go out and get yourself one of those?

– – – – –

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  • Danny says:


    Why can I buy a “Broadway in Chicago” subscription but not a “Broadway in New York” subscription? Is there a reason this hasn’t been (or can’t be) done?

    Topic for a future blog post?

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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