STATS REVEALED: Fewer shows close this January than in the last 10 years.

On Tuesday, I posted a theory in my weekly Broadway gross wrap up.

Ok, it wasn’t really a theory.  It was more like a feeling in my gut.  And frankly, I couldn’t tell if that feeling in my gut was the pizza I ate at midnight, or if I was really on to something.

So, I had my crackerjack research team (including our new intern Liana) do a bit of data digging to see if this theory was the result of some greasy pepperoni or an actual thing.

And this AM, they spit out some stats and voilà . . . it looks like, as a therapist would say, my feelings were valid.

What I hypothesized was that this year had the fewest closings in January we’ve had in a long time.  See, normally shows seem to shutter quickly after the holidays.  But this year it seemed like more shows were sticking it out . . . stretching to MLK Day and Broadway Week, and now beyond.

And, as you’ll see in the blog below, that’s exactly what happened!

This January, we only saw 3 shows close, which is the LOWEST number of shows we’ve had in the last ten years.

In fact, an average of 8 shows closed in January over the last decade.  And this year, it wasn’t even half that.  (Non Profit closings weren’t included, by the way).  This past year was 62.5% less than the average.

Take a look . . .

Interesting trend, no?

But it doesn’t stop there.

I turned the time machine back another ten years to see how we stacked up against a longer era, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re way under that average of 6 shows closing in January over the last twenty years.

See for yourself.

 

What does all this mean?

It means that Broadway Week has helped.  It means more tourists are sticking around after Xmas (and tourism is up in general).  It also means that shows are getting smarter about pricing during this period to attract more buyers.

Oh, and it means even fewer theaters will be available to new spring shows.

(Do you like charts and graphs about the business of Broadway?  Check out The Recoupment Report, my quarterly newsletter dedicated to the art and commerce of investing on Broadway.  Click here for more info and to sign up.)

Free Webinar Alert: The Ins-and-Outs of Co-Producing on Broadway.

There are two kinds of Producers on Broadway:  Lead Producers and Co-Producers.

Do you know the difference?  (This is a quiz.)

A simple analogy might be that the Lead Producer is like the Chairman/woman of the Board of a Non Profit . . . and a Co-Producer is like the Board Members.

But it ain’t so simple.

Co-Producing on Broadway has become an important niche in our industry.  It’s where most Broadway Investors graduate to, and it’s where most Lead Producers come from.

The Lead Producing Path often looks something like this:

Broadway Investor -> Broadway Co-Producer -> Broadway Lead Producer

Since Broadway shows have become more expensive over the years, Lead Producers have “sub-contracted” out the financing to more “Board Members” than in previous decades.  That’s why I get so many questions from readers and podcast listeners like, “How do Broadway Co-Producer deals work,” or “Who are the other names above a show’s title,” and “How do I become a Broadway Co-Producer?”

And, as I said on a recent “Office Hours” call for my PROs, if I get the same three questions on the same subject from three different people, then I know I haven’t done my job in getting people the info they want.

That’s why, next Wednesday, February 7th at 7 PM EST, I’m teaching a FREE webinar entitled . . . “Co-Producing on Broadway:  So You Wanna Be a Broadway Bundler.”

During the webinar, I’ll break down . . .

  • Strategies for choosing the right show to Co-Pro.
  • How to negotiate the best deal (and what those deals are anyway).
  • How to be a Co-Pro without having to invest your own $.
  • The risks and the rewards (and we’re not talking just cash).
  • A Co-Producer’s role in the production before and after it opens.

And, of course, I’ll take all your questions at the end of the session.

To join me and learn more about Co-Producing on Broadway, just click here to sign up for this one hour webinar, next Wednesday night at 7 PM.  It’s free.

See you there.

WEBINAR:  Co-Producing on Broadway:  So You Wanna Be a Broadway Bundler.
DATE:  Wednesday, 2/7/18
TIME: 7 PM – 8 PM
COST:  FREE

To register, click here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 1/28/2018: Have we broken Winter’s curse?

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending January 28, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Podcast Episode 147 – Tony Award-Winning Director, Walter Bobbie

One of the questions that I get asked a lot in my travels is . . .

“How did Chicago become one of the longest-running shows ever?”

This week’s guest is one of the primary reasons.

Walter Bobbie was the Artistic Director of the newly formed Encores! when he added Chicago to the line-up and changed the Broadway landscape forever (Chicago is not only on the list of the Top 10 longest running shows, but it is the only revival on that list).

Because of its success, that could have been the only show that Walter directed, but he has done more, including last season’s Bright Star, Venus in Fur, and a bunch more (not to mention his Broadway acting credits!).

Walter and I talked about Chicago and why it became such a monster success, along with . . .

  • How he knew he wasn’t long for life as an actor (warning: this story involves beer).
  • The “Brunch Show” on the Upper West Side that started his career . . . and the person who hired him for the gig. (Spoiler Alert:  that person was himself.)
  • The training he got by NOT going through traditional training.
  • How he exercised his Producing muscles to build Encores! at City Center.
  • The importance of a “safe room” for his actors on any play.

Walter is an ADP.  Actor/Director/Producer.  In this podcast, you’ll learn how there is much more crossover in those disciplines than you ever would have guessed.

So listen up . . .

Click here for the link to my podcast with Walter!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

What Broadway Box Offices and Subways have in common.

A lot of people will tell you that our, ahem, “challenges,” are unlike the challenges faced in any other industry.

Well, I’ve got news for us . . . we’re not that special.

One of my entrepreneurial mentors, who has coached a thousand business owners over his career always told me, “Think your business is different?  You’re wrong.”

Of course, products may be different, demographics may be different, the sales cycle may be different, but the basic foundational principles of businesses are similar.

That’s why I love reading about the obstacles other industries face, in the hopes that I can use them as a case study for Broadway.

And poof, here comes one from our beleaguered subway system.

There was an interesting article in the Times not too long ago, about how station agents behind their glass walls have become less cost-effective over the years, as more and more riders use MetroCards purchased from a machine with their credit card, rather than throwing some coins down for a ride (83% of all rides are metro carded now).  Add in the riders (like me) who get the “refillable” card sent to them at home, and fewer and fewer folks have the need to conduct any transaction with a person.

But, NYC has been slow to adopt any changes unlike other cities around the country.

Starting to sound familiar?  Labor intensive?  Slow to change?  Tickets that can be received at home, or from a “machine.”

I know, you’re thinking, “Ken wants to cut jobs.  That’s a producer for you.  Cutting union gigs.”

And you’d be wrong.

The big takeaway from this article wasn’t just about cutting gigs.  It was about redeployment.

But they’re not talking cutting jobs.  They are talking about changing duties (and even the subway works union agrees that something should be done . . . before jobs ARE cut).

In the subway case, they are talking about allowing station agents to help passengers off the train, providing service to the riders looking as they stand on the tracks, etc.  They are talking about getting them out of the glass box and interacting directly with our consumers.

Why?  Because riders polled LIKE having the station agents.  And I bet our ticket buyers LIKE having our box office attendees as well.

As we become more and more cashless, and as we become more print-at-home, maybe an idea is to allow our box office personnel to become even more of an integral part of our promotion and advertising team (they are the few folks that actually talk to our customers).  Maybe we just get them out from behind those glass walls that, frankly, are so antithetical to any sales process (ever been to an Apple store?  It’s no coincidence that their salespeople walk the stores, conducting transactions from a phone that fits in their pocket).

Often when technology changes and customer needs morph, and either management or labor feels pressured by a change, both sides dig their heels as to why something can’t happen.

What I love about what’s happening underground is that the focus is not on cutting jobs, but about how to make their customers more content.

Because that’s the only way to guarantee a healthier business . . . in any industry.

Read the article here.

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