Broadway Grosses w/e 10/27/2019: Ticket sales are getting spooky heading into Halloween

Last week’s overall grosses slipped just slightly more than 1% to $34M while attendance dipped 3% to 278k. 

After five years on Broadway, Beautiful played its final performance to SRO crowds and had its best box office week since the 2014 holidays. Carole King looks to pass her baton to Tina Turner as the show based on her life plays to sold out houses at the Lunt-Fontanne.

David Byrne’s American Utopia had a nearly $300k jump over last week bringing in $910k for only six performances. It’s now on sale through February 2020.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name Gross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,530,810.16                  11,082 97.28% $138.13
ALADDIN $1,242,732.00                  13,225 95.72% $93.97
AMERICAN UTOPIA $910,605.76                    5,744 99.62% $158.53
BEAUTIFUL $1,209,465.40                    8,258 100.61% $146.46
BEETLEJUICE $1,079,678.50                  11,254 94.22% $95.94
BETRAYAL $678,448.70                    6,399 77.21% $106.02
CHICAGO $667,723.90                    7,858 90.95% $84.97
COME FROM AWAY $1,000,793.40                    8,526 101.89% $117.38
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,071,494.37                    7,971 101.26% $134.42
DERREN BROWN: SECRET $340,648.00                    4,437 62.39% $76.77
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME $685,578.00                    5,428 88.69% $126.30
FROZEN $948,568.10                  12,247 90.91% $77.45
HADESTOWN $1,395,853.50                    7,444 101.36% $187.51
HAMILTON $2,965,824.00                  10,753 101.52% $275.81
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,001,780.00                  12,976 100.00% $77.20
LINDA VISTA $240,198.42                    3,090 66.03% $77.73
MEAN GIRLS $790,542.75                    8,862 90.43% $89.21
MOULIN ROUGE! $2,197,947.00                  10,494 100.75% $209.45
OKLAHOMA! $469,965.06                    4,364 83.79% $107.69
SLAVE PLAY $471,769.50                    5,469 86.21% $86.26
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,073,830.90                    8,456 100.96% $126.99
THE GREAT SOCIETY $404,145.00                    5,097 60.11% $79.29
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM $335,445.00                    3,739 72.69% $89.72
THE INHERITANCE $602,019.00                    5,377 73.30% $111.96
THE LIGHTNING THIEF $173,120.00                    3,368 39.24% $51.40
THE LION KING $1,999,095.00                  12,924 95.25% $154.68
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $881,182.62                  10,130 78.89% $86.99
THE ROSE TATTOO $488,029.80                    5,321 92.25% $91.72
THE SOUND INSIDE $544,698.00                    5,710 71.52% $95.39
TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL $1,371,009.00                  10,346 100.00% $132.52
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $2,217,401.16                  11,679 101.73% $189.86
TOOTSIE $866,273.80                    9,112 71.10% $95.07
WAITRESS $640,981.70                    7,124 85.22% $89.97
WICKED $1,486,184.50                  13,823 95.62% $107.52
TOTALS $33,983,842.00           278,087 87.31% $116.77
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON +$849,857.87      

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, President of Architect Theatrical. Find out more here!

3 Ways To Get Broadway Producers to Enhance Shows At Your Regional Theater.

I had the great pleasure of speaking at the NAMT conference this week on the subject of enhancement deals and how they work, and more importantly how they can work better.  (By the way, if you’re a Producer or Theater or well, anyone interested in the development of new musicals, you should join NAMT.  It’s a terrific org and, well, there just aren’t many out there for people interested in developing and producing new musical work.)

Less than half of the theaters in the room who attended the panel had actually had an enhanced show at their theater, so the question came up about what Broadway Producers look for when choosing a place to try out a show.

It’s a timely question for me, as I’m involved in one right now (and tickets are going as quickly as you’d imagine with this team), and I am looking for about half a dozen other regional tryouts for our current development slate.

And, I’ll be as honest here, as I was from my seat on the panel . . . from the Broadway Producers’ perspective (wink, wink) – and I don’t mean just mine because I know a lot of my peers feel the same way – the regional enhancement model has gotten a little out of whack over the years.

In its purest form, it’s a brilliant concept.  It works like this:

A Broadway Producer needs a real audience to try out a show away from the bright lights of Broadway.  That Producer gives a regional theater some cash to add to its budget so it can afford the artists, physical production and more that the Producer wants for that first production.  The regional theater gets an ongoing participation in the future of the show for helping to birth it.

Acclaimed Broadway Director Des Mcanuff was a pioneer of this concept when he was the Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse (one of the premiere tryout spots in the country).  So why on his podcast with me did Des call the current enhancement environment “dangerous”?

You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.  But as you can imagine it has to do with money.

See, whenever anything is successful when it starts, costs have a way of creeping up over time.

And oh, have they.

Now, that upfront cash payment that Broadway Producers are asked to pay isn’t just a few hundred thousand dollars.  It can be close to 3 million dollars! (And now we see one of the reasons Broadway musicals are getting more expensive . . . because the R&D is becoming more expensive.)

And guess what?  That upfront money is the hardest for us Broadway Producers to raise, because it’s development capital, with no promise that the show will ever even get to Broadway, never mind make money there.  (It’s why I’ve been putting together an investment development fund to help mitigate that risk.)

So if we have to raise more of it, that means, it takes more time, more effort, and we’ve got more on the line.

That’s why so many of my peers are looking at this model and saying, “Hey . . . we’re providing these theaters with a ton of cash, an ongoing royalty, artists who they might not be able to get to work at their theater, actors who may not go there without the possibility of Broadway after it, a world premiere for their subscribers to see, a production bigger than they would build on their own, etc, etc.  Am I getting the same value I got before?”

In fact . . . at the opening night party I was at LAST NIGHT, one Producer just said to me, “Ken, I was just quoted an enhancement figure so high . . . I realized I could do SIX three week workshops IN the city for the same cost!  And my team could stay at home. And I could bring in real theatergoers to see it. Why wouldn’t I do that instead?”

Good question.

The other alternative is simply to do a big commercial tryout in a city like Boston or Chicago or DC.  Sure, those are more expensive up front . . . but less expensive in the long run, because there is no ongoing royalty attached.  A bullish Producer will opt for that every time.

Alternatives are popping up like crazy.  Which is why if you’re a regional theater and you want a show that could go to Broadway at your theater, I believe you have to look at providing more value to those of us raising the capital to make it happen.

Here are three ideas I came up with at the panel . . .

1. Give us a piece of your upside. 

All the institutions I know project their income down to the dollar (and if you’re not, you should).  They have to pass their budgets by their board. So they know what they need to do to come out for the year. If we exceed your own projections, and you are “in the money,” then give us a piece of that upside.  You want a piece of our upside if we go to Broadway, right? Why wouldn’t you say, “Hey, Broadway Producer, we expect your title to deliver $X dollars in ticket sales. And if we do better, that’s because of your show . . . you deserve to walk away with some of that.” Whether or not the show actually gets to this breakeven isn’t the point.  It’s the concept of saying, “Hey, we’re in this together,” and I can say to my investors, “Yes, the cost of enhancing shows has gone up, but there’s the possibility that we could decrease that cost should we do well enough.” Oh, and newsflash . . . if I participate in the possible upside, I just might be more willing to throw some of my own marketing energy behind your production.

2. Give us another developmental option as part of a package.

Many of the regional institutions I know have budgets for 29-hour readings or one-day readings or some form of development work for new shows.  Offer that to me as an “added value” for bringing the bigger enhancement deal to you. “Hey Ken, we’ll throw in a reading.” Or even, “We’ll put your writers up for a week at our theater six months before they come down to have a writer’s retreat.”Give me a ‘bonus’ that reduces some of my other developmental costs, or just helps make my show better, and the enhancement immediately has more value.  And I think I’ve got a real partner rather than a non-profit who is just looking to pay for some of its overhead.

3. Give us an opportunity to raise some money.

We’re all guilty of this one.  Broadway Producers and Institutions and any org who raises money, guards its investor/donor list like Trump guards his tax returns.  But here’s the thing, Broadway Producers need even more money than ever to get their shows all the way to the Great White Way (partly because of the increased costs of tryouts at regional theaters).  And what one of my esteemed panelists reminded everyone at the conference was that most donors look at their donation to the non-profit very differently from an investment in a Broadway show. In other words, many would be happy to do both! Give us Broadway Producers an opportunity to speak to your board or your attendees at your theater about how Broadway Investing works and yes, even solicit directly for some investment, and you’ll find that we’ll be much more interested in spending time and money with you.  (Because guess who is most likely to invest in your show – people who have SEEN your show!) Don’t be so afraid that you’ll lose folks to us Broadway Producers. Because you won’t. In fact, most likely it will enhance their experience. And since YOU benefit tremendously if the Producer gets the show to Broadway, don’t you want to do everything to make that happen?

And . . . here’s a BONUS 4th way to get Broadway Producers to Enhance a Show At Your Theater.

4. Give Their Investors a Donation Option.

Because of tax reasons, or just the simplicity of not wanting to get another K1, some Broadway Investors actually prefer just making a donation early on in the show’s process.  No, they don’t get an “equity stake” in the show (but there is a way to give them other perks), but if it’s what they prefer, why not let them!  Some non-profits I’ve worked with have had trouble taking a donation earmarked for specific shows. If this policy would conflict with your non-profit by laws, talk to your board about changing them.  Because the more options I have to raise money, the more attractive your institution is.

Right or wrong, the opinion of Broadway Producers is that the scales have tipped too far in the favor of the regional theaters for these enhancement deals, which is why so many Producers are looking for other options.  I know I still love the concept of going to one of the many theaters out there looking to get into this game (and I’m always looking for theaters who have NOT done it before – so if you are one, get in touch with me).

But we have to do something to balance the deals.

The above are just a few ways to create an even better partnership.  And I’m eager to hear from regionals on what we can do to make it more valuable for YOU.

Because our “missions” are the same.  Both Broadway Producers and Regional Theaters want to create new musicals.  Just because we both have to hire lawyers now to hammer out these contracts, doesn’t mean we’re not on the same team.

(Oh, PS . . . enhancements come in ALL sizes. Not every show was designed for Broadway, and I know tons of shows looking to get a start somewhere in this country.  So if you can’t house a Broadway sized show, don’t think you’re out of the game. Off Broadway musicals, one person shows, new children’s plays . . . all need a place to try out.  No matter what the size of your stage, you can find artists and producers willing to share the costs with you.)

– – – – –

We’ll be talking about enhancement deals at my Super Conference on November 16th and 17th.  So if you’re a writer, producer or regional theater looking to learn more about this, come. Click here for more details.

And if you want to watch a webinar that explains what an Enhancement deal is, there’s one in here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 10/20/2019: Smooth sailing for ticket sales following Columbus Day

Last week, grosses ticked up just 1.4% from the previous week. While most shows felt a slight decline coming off the holiday weekend, overall, the street was bolstered by newcomer Tina-The Tina Turner Musical which added an extra six performances this week, for a total of seven previews which brought in $1.386M with an average ticket price of $134.

Other notable week-over-week increases were Tootsie, up $55k and Moulin Rouge!, up $36k.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name Gross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,547,412.74 11,004 96.59% $140.62
ALADDIN $1,344,971.10 13,620 98.58% $98.75
AMERICAN UTOPIA $618,120.26 5,646 99.58% $109.48
BEAUTIFUL $1,050,336.00 8,086 98.51% $129.90
BEETLEJUICE $1,104,331.50 11,730 98.21% $94.15
BETRAYAL $723,031.50 6,809 82.15% $106.19
CHICAGO $708,724.80 8,036 93.01% $88.19
COME FROM AWAY $1,026,963.30 8,525 101.88% $120.46
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,105,540.35 7,997 101.59% $138.24
DERREN BROWN: SECRET $353,407.34 4,437 62.39% $79.65
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME $768,238.50 5,674 92.71% $135.40
FROZEN $1,076,414.70 13,126 97.43% $82.01
HADESTOWN $1,433,274.00 7,432 101.20% $192.85
HAMILTON $2,788,638.00 10,736 101.36% $259.75
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,038,151.50 12,976 100.00% $80.01
LINDA VISTA $204,624.13 4,501 96.18% $45.46
MEAN GIRLS $940,635.25 9,367 95.58% $100.42
MOULIN ROUGE! $2,238,887.50 10,502 100.83% $213.19
OKLAHOMA! $473,275.00 4,608 88.48% $102.71
SLAVE PLAY $490,671.00 5,739 90.46% $85.50
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,133,571.20 8,594 102.60% $131.90
THE GREAT SOCIETY $405,790.50 4,785 56.43% $84.80
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM $335,298.00 3,830 74.46% $87.55
THE INHERITANCE $468,149.50 4,190 66.63% $111.73
THE LIGHTNING THIEF $241,741.80 4,475 52.13% $54.02
THE LION KING $2,133,723.00 13,309 98.09% $160.32
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $989,080.44 11,199 87.22% $88.32
THE ROSE TATTOO $401,815.20 4,936 97.80% $81.41
THE SOUND INSIDE $489,909.50 6,436 80.61% $76.12
TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL $1,386,360.00 10,346 100.00% $134.00
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $2,195,338.32 11,677 101.72% $188.01
TOOTSIE $1,018,056.30 10,430 81.38% $97.61
WAITRESS $732,233.80 7,742 92.61% $94.58
WICKED $1,677,867.00 14,302 98.93% $117.32
TOTALS $34,644,583.03    286,802 90.80% $115.02
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON +$299,890.33      

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, General Manager for DTE Management. Find out more here!

BOOK PRESALE ALERT: This one answers the question I’m asked the most.

Last spring we released the only book on the subject Broadway Investing . . . and now we’re releasing a brand new book about the subject I’m asked about more than anything else . . .

Early Hungarian cabinet making!

No, no . . . jk, jk.  (By the way, that cabinet making quip is a European Vacation reference.)

The topic I’m asked about more than anything is . . . how to raise money for Broadway or Off-Broadway shows.

So, in an effort to help those of you out there producing or self-producing shows (and as part of our #5000By2025 mission), this summer I wrote the only book about raising money specifically geared towards the theater.

And it’s available now for presale on for only a fraction of what it will cost when it is officially released.

What’s it called?

It’s a continuation of our “How To” series.  The first was, How To Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything.  And this is, yep, How to Raise Money in the Arts . . . or in Anything. (There will be one more in the series, by the way – I’ll let you guess what that “How To” is.)

This book covers . . .

  • The different legal structures for raising money for the arts.
  • Where to find investors for your specific project.
  • How to script your ask in order to increase your chance for success.
  • The most important part of raising money that most people forget (do this and you’ll raise the money you need 10x faster at least).
  • How to enjoy raising money (it is possible – truly).

The book is gonna list for $19.95 . . . but you can get it via the Amazon presale for only $5.99 (Jeff Bezos likes when self-publishers give his customers a super-duper entry-level price for new books . . . and what Bezos wants, Bezos gets – and you benefit).  Just do me a favor, after you finish it, give it a good review so that more people can find it.

Because the truth is, after Bezos takes his chunk, this book doesn’t make us any money.  But it could find money for a lot of people’s projects.

And that means there will be more theater in the world.  And that means the world will be that much better of a place.

Get How To Raise Money For The Arts . . . Or For Anything first here (or get it for a friend).


Broadway Grosses w/e 10/13/2019: Leaves aren’t the only thing piling up . . .

A three-day weekend juiced overall box office figures by 17% last week bringing in $35M. A welcome boost coming off a typically quiet September.

Standouts last week included record-breaking grosses from Moulin Rouge! Hadestown, and To Kill A Mockingbird. Tina – The Tina Turner Musical began previews over the weekend and played to a full house.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name Gross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,585,819.08     11,365 99.76% $139.54
ALADDIN $1,409,738.10     13,729 99.37% $102.68
AMERICAN UTOPIA $753,708.75       5,331 94.02% $141.38
BEAUTIFUL $1,061,506.50       8,259 100.62% $128.53
BEETLEJUICE $1,249,044.70     12,045 100.85% $103.70
BETRAYAL $730,993.20       6,977 84.18% $104.77
CHICAGO $770,756.78       8,434 97.62% $91.39
COME FROM AWAY $1,077,662.00       8,542 102.08% $126.16
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,154,890.55       7,996 101.58% $144.43
DERREN BROWN: SECRET $344,016.50       4,904 68.95% $70.15
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME $765,650.60       5,407 88.35% $141.60
FROZEN $1,140,768.10     13,312 98.81% $85.69
HADESTOWN $1,523,311.00       7,448 101.42% $204.53
HAMILTON $3,090,992.00     10,752 101.51% $287.48
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,253,330.00     12,976 100.00% $96.59
LINDA VISTA $168,097.15       4,116 87.95% $40.84
MEAN GIRLS $1,067,655.30       9,768 99.67% $109.30
MOULIN ROUGE! $2,203,608.50     10,500 100.81% $209.87
OKLAHOMA! $490,176.10       4,875 93.61% $100.55
SLAVE PLAY $481,214.00       5,910 93.16% $81.42
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,183,322.55       8,658 103.37% $136.67
THE GREAT SOCIETY $394,327.00       5,243 61.83% $75.21
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM $323,779.00       3,958 76.94% $81.80
THE INHERITANCE $354,447.50       3,170 74.91% $111.81
THE LIGHTNING THIEF $325,441.50       5,818 67.78% $55.94
THE LION KING $2,242,450.00     13,384 98.64% $167.55
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,154,438.40     12,490 97.27% $92.43
THE ROSE TATTOO $472,590.00       5,607 97.21% $84.29
THE SOUND INSIDE $428,406.00       5,596 70.09% $76.56
TINA $212,998.00       1,476 100.00% $144.31
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $2,244,415.34     11,675 101.70% $192.24
TOOTSIE $962,345.60     10,135 79.08% $94.95
WAITRESS $751,433.60       7,691 92.00% $97.70
WICKED $1,839,657.00     15,099 97.99% $121.84
TOTALS $35,212,990.40   282,646 92.15% $118.94
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON $1,825,171.93      

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, General Manager for DTE Management. Find out more here!

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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