Last week, I published the results of some research I did into the recoupment % of new Broadway musicals over the last half a decade.
The conclusion was that the % of those musicals that are recouping is consistent with the age ol’ industry average of about 20%.
But after I did the math, I took a deeper look at the actual new musicals in this period that were in the black.
Here they are:
School of Rock
Dear Evan Hansen
Come From Away
The Band’s Visit
Ain’t Too Proud*
*An assumption based on current grosses.
It’s a fascinating list . . . isn’t it? Do you see what I see?
Only one of them, School of Rock, is a “big” movie to musical adaptation (Waitress and Band’s Visit were films – but not high profile by any means).
And the only jukebox tuner to make money (we’re assuming this) is Ain’t Too Proud.
The rest, a whopping 78% . . . are small to medium-sized musicals, and most of them with small to medium-sized brands (or in the case of one of the biggest successes, Dear Evan Hansen, NO pre-existing brand).
And none, zero, opened with any Hollywood stars.
So, while it’s easy for Broadway Producers, Broadway Investors and even Broadway Theatergoers to think that what is making money on Broadway are the giant movie-to-musical adaptations or big-budget spectacles . . . that’s just not the case.
Just because they’re making it to Broadway, doesn’t mean they are making it on Broadway.
And if you were choosing a show to produce, invest in, or write, you might opt for the lesser-known, more original, and unique properties rather than the big-branded one.
It might seem like more risk on the way in, but the numbers say these types of musicals are actually less risky than the others . . . especially since their running costs are typically lower, which means higher profit margins when they do recoup (again, see Dear Evan Hansen).
But what I love about the 78% of those new musicals that are cashing in is this:
Take a second and look at the subjects of these new musicals. The story of Alexander Hamilton told through hip hop. A teenager dealing with anxiety who may be suicidal. A lesbian comic book writer whose secretly gay father kills himself. What happens in a Canadian town after 9/11. A show that has “Hades” in the actual title!!!
I’d bet you the capitalization of all of them, combined, that at one point, someone said to every single one of the creators of these shows . . . “This should never be a musical.”
And not only are they musicals, but they are money-making musicals.
So to the TheaterMakers, make what you wanna make. That’s where your heart . . . and the money is.
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Like this series? It’s not over yet. Next week, I tackle REVIVALS. Sign up here to be the first to read the results of my research.