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.

– – – – –

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!

What will tomorrow’s audience want from their theater?

Yesterday, we chatted about how difficult it is to get the multitasking generation to the theater because they can lay on their couch and channel surf, web surf and Wii surf, all at the same time.

That got me thinking . . .

There have been a number of theories tossed around lately about how the current crop of musicals on Broadway have a certain sound or are from popular musical catalogs, because the current theater-going demographic (folks 40+) is the first group of theater-lovers who grew up on rock and roll.

Simply put, the traditional sound of musicals has changed, because the traditional audience has changed.

Well, in the 1980s, another entertainment game-changer hit the stores:  the personal computer and the video game.

According to my calculations, that puts us about 10 years away from the next group of 40 year olds who grew up on something that their parents didn’t; a something that had a major impact on their lives, and their entertainment.

So . . . if Rock and Roll had such an effect on our product . . .  can you imagine the effect that the computer will have on our product?  Or the video game?

Or, I guess what I’m saying is . . . our audience is about to turn upside down pretty dang soon.  The computer is the car of the last 30 years.  And that’s going to have a ripple effect and change what people want from their theater.

If you’re a writer, get ready to adapt and expand, because our audience is going to want so much more if we expect them to turn off and sit still for two hours.

– – – – –

Update:  I wrote the above blog two days before this article about the “Theater of the Arcade” appeared in the NY Times.  Read it here.  Interesting stuff on its way.

Sing. Sing a “long.” Make it simple . . .

No, this isn’t a post about a Carpenters jukebox musical (although I did inquire about the rights to that catalog about 10 years ago).

This is a post about another property I went after, but was denied . . . because the film company had their own plans.

This Thursday, the ‘Grease Movie Sing-A-Long’ opens at the Loews Village 7 in New York City and all over the country. (Full disclosure, when I was inspired to try and do a Grease sing-a-long, I went after the rights to Grease 2.  Why 2?  Well, I never thought I’d get the rights to the original, and, I mean, come on . . .. can you imagine a sing-a-long to “We’re Gonna Boooooooowl tonight!”)?

If you’re not sure what a sing-a-long is, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  The movie plays, along with karaoke-like lyrics (“Summer lovin’, had me a blast!”), and the audience is encouraged to sing along with the film score.  In addition, audiences are encouraged to dress up, slick their hair and more.  Hopefully, a Rocky Horror element emerges as well, and props and choreography are incorporated (Hand jive, anyone?).  Sing-a-long movies started with The Sound of Music way back in 2000 (and I believe the craze started in Europe).

It has taken a decade, but Grease, and its 4 chords, 3 jokes, and billions of fans, looks to be the biggest one yet (“Summer Nights” is one of the most requested karaoke songs of all time).

The New York Times wrote a piece about the sing-a-long, which included some very insightful comments from Adam Goodman, president of the Paramount Film Group, which apply to what we do as well.  Adam said, “The goal is to create a true event.  How do you get groups of young people going to the movies and having a great time?”

The author of the article continues with Adam’s query.

The key term is “young.”  Older movie goers may still prefer to sit in silence, but younger audiences, the ones studios work hardest to motivate off the sofa – are increasingly programmed to interact and multitask.  Sitting quietly in a theater starts to feel like a bore when you can watch the DVD at home while texting a friend, playing a video game and posting witty comments on Facebook.

Creating unique events are essential for anyone producing entertainment in today’s market, especially if you are trying to get young people off the couch, and off their phones, and their Facebooks, and whatever else they are on these days.

But what do today’s multitasking generation’s habits mean for tomorrow’s market?

Whoa . . . that’s heavy.  I need a night to think about it.  Tune in tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a little cerebral palette cleanser.  And while you’re watching it, sing along . . . and maybe Paramount will hear us.

A sad day for Shrek.

Yesterday, Shrek confirmed what had been circulating the street all week: the ogre will be leaving Broadway and heading back to the swamp on January 3, 2010.

How could one of the most powerful entertainment brands of the last twenty years not survive on the Great White Way?  Too expensive?  Maybe.  Too much Hollywood influence?  Who knows.

I believe the closing of Shrek represents the end of an era; an era which attempted to capitalize on kids first, and put adults second.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen the premature closings of shows like Shrek, Little Mermaid, and even my own, 13.

All seemingly fantastic sells . . . except for the fact that they happened to be plopped right in the midst of one of the most difficult economic climates in our history.  And no demographic was hurt more than families of four from the suburbs.

When family folk were trying to decide on a show to see, here’s what happened:

– Shows that just the kids might want to see went out the window.

– Shows that appealed to both kids and adults went bye-bye as well (Grease, Legally Blonde, Hairspray, etc.).

What’s left on Broadway now is more adult fare . . .because the parents that are still going to the theater are leaving their kids at home (another reason why plays are doing so well).

Why do you think Disney doesn’t have anything in the immediate pipeline?

I don’t think you’ll see another animated feature making its way here anytime soon, do you?

Why did Obama give the Queen of England an iPod of Show Tunes?

What do you give a Queen who has everything?
That was the big Q put to Obama’s administration . . . and guess what they came up with?
Two things:
  • A rare songbook of Rodgers and Hart tunes
  • An iPod preloaded with 40 of the best of Broadway tunes
Haha!  Score one for the Broadway branding team!  How you like them apples, Hollywood?  You don’t see the Queen getting an video-pod full of Pulp Fiction and Porkys, now do you?  Booya!
Truth is, I think the gift was a bit of a shock to all of us . . . but it makes sense.
The Broadway musical . . . that ultra specific theatrical art form . . . is one of the few things that we can say is truly and uniquely American.  It was born here.  It was perfected here.  And it’s gonna stay here.  So it remains one of the most perfect representations of who we are.
It’s also something that I will snobbishly say we still do better than anyone else.  Yes, the Brits had a nice run in the late 80s and early 90s, but so did the Republicans.
In a way, it’s like football, another great American pastime that no one does better, despite repeated attempts (and we also modified it from a pre-existing form, just like we did with the musical).
But, I heard the Queen already has a set of shoulder pads and a helmet.
Rock it out, Queen E.  The next time you’re in town, let me know.  I’ll take you to see Hair . . . just so I can see yours blown back.
– – – – –
Only 15 Days until the 1st Theater Bloggers Social!
Thursday, April 23rd.
6 PM
Planet Hollywood
For more info and to RSVP, click here.
Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

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

Featured Program
The TheaterMakers Studio
Featured Product
Be A Broadway Star
Featured Book
Broadway Investing 101
All Upcoming Events

april, 2020

06apr8:00 pm9:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Ken Davenport

08apr12:00 pm1:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Valerie Novakoff

20apr8:00 pm9:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Eric C. Webb

22apr4:00 pm6:00 pmApril Producer Pitch Night (Virtual)

Featured Webinar
Path to Production Webinar
Advertisement
X