Why we are going to need more NEW musicals when the Pandemic is over.
If theater was the stock market, I’d sell revivals short.
I know I run the risk of getting a Reddit-like backlash for this blog, but, revivals are becoming more and more a thing of the past.
Their business model was challenged before the pandemic. The recoupment rate for revivals of musicals was LESS than the recoupment rate for new musicals. (See the full write-up and stats on that truth-bomb here.)
And as a business mentor of mine said to me last March, “If your business was in trouble before the pandemic, it’s going to be even more challenging after.”
It was those words that made me cut bait on two side-businesses of mine . . . and I’m so thankful I did.
I know that from personal experience that revivals have had a tough go of it recently, having lead produced three. And none of them recouped, by the way, including two that got raves and one that won the Tony Award for Best Revival.
And now . . . after what we’ve gone through in the last year . . . they are going to be even harder to make work.
Because in one year, many of these shows have aged TEN. Their attitudes towards racial equality, gender equality, etc, are not only out-of-touch . . . but now many of them will be uncomfortable to watch.
Which means they either won’t get done . . . or they’ll have to be re-envisioned. (And Michael Arden can only do so many per year!) I guess a 3rd option is that they’ll require such massive stars that the audience won’t even care what the show is. But how long will that last? And will the stars want to do them?
So if you’re interested in producing, investing, or performing in a revival (of a musical, especially), understand that the risks have gone up. That doesn’t mean there won’t be brilliant ones. But they are going to be harder to find.
The upside? Because there’s always an upside . . .
Theaters are going to need NEW musicals more than ever before to fill the holes left by the retired revivals.
And that’s where you come in.
If you’re a writer of new musicals, keep on writing, because the renaissance is coming.
Yep, I’m selling revivals short and issuing a STRONG BUY alert for new musicals and new musicals writers.
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If you’re interested in learning more about the structure of classics and how you can use that to create something NEW, I recommend Jack Viertel’s masterclass here.