When thinking ahead to future years, the first thing that most people do is calculate their age.
Come on, you know you do it. How old will you be in 2030?
I’ll be 57. My daughter will be 12. (God help me.)
So . . . how old will Broadway be?
Well, there is a big debate about when Broadway began . . . some say it started when the first theater opened down on Nassau street in 1750 (!). But since that venue was only 280 seats I’d say that’s when Off Broadway began (Yep, Off Broadway preceded Broadway – if that’s possible give them monikers). Others say Broadway began when the first 2,000-seat venue was built in 1798.
But I put the birthday at the opening of The Black Crook in 1866 which is considered by most to be the first musical, and the first long-running show (it ran for 474 performances – and it was also five and a half hours long!).
That would make Broadway 154 years old in 2030. How do you think she’ll hold up at that age? What will she look like?
Last week, I blogged about my top favorite Broadway stories for 2019, and now I’m going to give you five of my crystal ball-like predictions for what I believe will happen on Broadway by 2030!
Let me just say a few chants, sprinkle some sage around my computer, and channel my inner psychic-friends-network.
Here we go, in no particular fortune-tellin’ order:
- Hard Tickets will be extinct.
Honestly, these will probably be gone well before 2030, but by the end of the decade you definitely won’t ever need a print out of a ticket . . . or, well, anything, for that matter. In other industries, fingerprints and facial recognition will probably get you access to whatever it is you paid for. We’ll still be lagging behind (like we always do), but we definitely won’t have those little slips of cardstock anymore. Sorry, scalpers.
- 90% of shows will be recorded and streamed.
In 2030, we’ll finally figure out the economic model that allows for shows to be distributed via video, providing another revenue stream for the Authors, Actors, Investors, etc. Now, exactly hen Producers allow the streaming to happen (during the run or only after?) will still be debated. But we’ll crack the code . . . partly because we’ll have to. Because if the cost of producing (and you don’t need to be a bloggin’ fortune teller to predict that), we’ll need the additional income to keep our recoupment. (The missing 10% by the way is for the stars and artists who just never want what they’ve done on video, for whatever reason.)
- A woman will be running a theater chain.
This is not only a prediction, this is a call to action.
- Chat boards will cease to exist.
Gossip won’t, so all those folks who love theater so much they want to talk about it all day, when they probably should be working (or making theater themselves), will have to find a new place to chat. And they will, because nothing stops passionate people who want to talk Broadway. I know, I was a rec.arts.theater.newsgroup guy back in 1991. (Remind me to tell you how I met Jeff Marx, the lyricist of Avenue Q online back then.)
- Our recoupment rate will stay the same.You’re going to see some data on this in next week’s blog, but Broadway has been recouping 20% of its shows for a long time (despite the fact that our grosses have increased substantially). As much as I’d like to say we’re going to find a path to more prolific profitability over the next ten years, I doubt it. We’re a risky industry. Less risky that most industries in our category, actually, as I talk about here. Our job may actually be to prevent it from our recoupment rate going the other direction (something else I’m going to talk about next week).Oh, and a bonus prediction . . .
- Hamilton will still be running.
So, what do you think of ’em? Agree? Disagree? Got your own predictions? Mention them in the comments below.
And if you are interested in some other predictions I’ve made in the past, check out my TedXBroadway talk here, which I did in 2012, and predicted 20 years ahead. Some of the stuff has already come true.