The incredible shrinking cast size.

A few of you may be in a statistic induced coma by now ever since I started my numbers craze last week.

But I’ve got a-number one.  (Get it?  Ok, ok, I’ll take that off the set list for my Last Comic Standing audition.)

Today we’re talking about cast size.  Just how many pairs of chorus girl legs were kicking in the old days, and just how many are kicking now?

In this analysis, I looked at the percentage of new musicals in each decade with casts over 30 (seemed like a good line between average and BIG).

  • In the 1950s, 69% of all new musicals opening on Broadway had cast sizes greater than 30.
  • In the 1960s, 67% had cast sizes greater than 30.
  • In the 1970s, 31% (!)
  • In the 1980s, 24%
  • In the 1990s, 38%
  • In the 2000s, 27%

Over the last 30 years, we stabilized a bit after that precipitous decline in the 70s (what the heck happened there? – that’s a subject for another blog).

Costs have obviously played a big factor in this cast-size shrinkage, but I’d also argue that smaller musicals (Next to Normals) are more likely to be done in modern times than they were in the Golden Age of musicals, which might play a small part in the decline.

But for those of you out there that think that the only way to succeed is to prevent your authors from adding more people to the stage, remember this stat:

36 of the 64 Best Musical Tony Award winners have had casts greater than 30.

That’s 56%.

Writers, you can thank me for that stat later.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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Prepare Ye. Godspell is coming back to Broadway this Fall.

I am thrilled . . . overjoyed . . . pumped . . . so excited that there are no words . . .  to announce that my production of Godspell by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, directed by Danny Goldstein and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, will begin performances on October 13, 2011 at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre.

For more info, including a message from Stephen Schwartz himself, visit www.Godspell.com.

Godspell on Broadway
Previews begin October 13th
Opens on November 7th

Group discount tickets on sale now by calling 1-855-DAY-BY-DAY or by clicking here.
Single tickets on sale July 11th.

See you at the theater.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– Come to our Tony Awards Party!  Click here for more info and to get your ticket now!

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!

– Come to the Broadway Investing Seminar on May 31st.  RSVP here.

– Enter to win 2 tickets to see The Shaggs!  Click here.

The Sunday Giveaway: 2 Tickets to The Off-Broadway Co-Pro of The Shaggs

What I love about the theater is that even competitors can find a way to work together.

In the wake of the financial crisis, several non-profit theaters around the country got creative about how they could continue to produce new works despite a challenging fundraising environment.  Rather than shortening their seasons, many took a lesson from The Godfather and made it their own—by not only keeping their enemies closer, but actually making them their friends.

And thus, the co-production was born, as two (or more) non-profits shared in development costs, production costs, etc.  And everyone, audience included, got to reap the benefits.

This idea was so successful, that even now that we’re climbing out of the financial worm hole we’ve been in for 2+ years, the concept continues.

There’s an example of a co-production happening right now Off-Broadway, featuring the Wonder Twin powers of two of NY’s heavyweight non-profits, Playwights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop.

The show?  The Shaggs by Joy Gregory, Gunnar Madsen and John Langs.

The Shaggs is a new musical based on a true story about a male Mama Rose, trying to turn his 3 talentless daughters into Rock & Rock icons, whether they like it or not.

And we’ve got tickets!

Here’s how you can win two tickets to The Shaggs:

Comment below, and tell me . . . in one sentence, why you should get the tickets.  For example, “I should win the two tickets to The Shaggs because I actually believed The Rapture was going to happen and now I need something to get me out of my depression.”

Ok?

Comment away and I’ll pick a winner.  Good luck!

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FUN STUFF

– Come to our Tony Awards Party!  Click here for more info and to get your ticket now!

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!

Special Saturday Post: A seminar summary.

Our seminar schedule has been all over the map recently, so I wanted to spell it out clearly for you (and for me, frankly, so I know what I'm talking about, and where I'm talking about it!).

So here's the scoop on the upcoming seminars in New York City and other locations:

Get Your Show Off The Ground – New York City

Saturday, June 25th                 
Saturday, September 17th
Saturday, November 19th

Time:  2 – 6PM
Location:  Davenport Studio

Book it!  


Get Your Show Off The Ground – Minneapolis

Sunday, May 15th 

Time:  1 – 3PM
Location:  The Guthrie

Book it!  

Get Your Show Off The Ground – London

Sunday, June 6th

Time:  7 – 10PM
Location:  TBD

Book it!  

Broadway Investing 101 – New York City

Tuesday, May 3rd
Tuesday, May 31st
Tuesday, June 28th
Tuesday, July 26th
Tuesday, August 30th

Time:  6:30 – 8PM
Location:   Davenport Studio

Book it!

Broadway Investing 101 – Minneapolis

Sunday, May 15th

Time:  6:30 – 8PM
Location:  The Guthrie

Book it!

 

To learn more about the seminars, and to book your spot, click here!

Can't make a seminar?  I offer consulting services both in person and on the phone, both to individuals and groups.  Click here.


1/3 of the musicals currently running on Broadway . . .

. . . are based on a pre-existing musical catalog or are known as a so-called jukebox musical.

1/3.

1 out of 3.

33%

I know you’ve probably thought about this before, but I just couldn’t help mentioning it.  It’s quite a trend, don’t you think?

So why is this?

Is it because the music and the artist behind it provides a pre-existing brand that is makes it easier to market?

Sure.

Is it also because putting a musical together when the score is already written is a heck of a lot faster than writing a musical from scratch?

Why yes, I think that’s part of it as well.

And what about the fact that two of the most successful musicals of the last ten years are jukebox musicals?

Easier and faster . . . and more profitable.

Unfortunately, all these things mean that we’re going to see more of these jukebox musicals in the future, whether we like or not.

Want to do something about it?

We just have to come up with other ways to make original things easier, faster and more profitable.

And if we don’t, I think we’ll need a third Tony category soon enough:  Original, revival and jukebox.

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FUN STUFF:

– Play “Will It Recoup?”  You can win a Kindle!  Click here and enter today!

– Need a writing partner?  Come to our Collaborator Speed Date!  RSVP today!

– Enter this Sunday’s Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert!  Click here!

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