Broadway Grosses w/e 01/19/2020: Oh, Not A Beautiful Mornin’

Last week grosses dipped slightly by 3% to $30M. The holiday weekend did not bring the typical attendance boost, which actually dropped by 4%.

Two productions played their final performances last week. Both Oklahoma! and Slave Play played to full houses for their final bows.

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

Show Name Gross TotalAttn  %Capacity Avg.PdAdm
A SOLDIER’S PLAY $320,552.50 5,472 94.87% $58.58
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,359,169.30 10,780 94.63% $126.08
ALADDIN $1,147,278.40 13,022 94.25% $88.10
AMERICAN UTOPIA $1,137,504.00 5,766 100.00% $197.28
BEETLEJUICE $1,357,341.20 11,711 98.05% $115.90
CHICAGO $653,891.30 7,186 83.17% $91.00
COME FROM AWAY $901,336.70 8,494 101.51% $106.11
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,059,025.14 7,918 100.58% $133.75
FROZEN $1,050,845.00 12,219 90.70% $86.00
GRAND HORIZONS $215,800.68 3,722 79.53% $57.98
HADESTOWN $1,254,171.50 7,445 101.38% $168.46
HAMILTON $2,724,599.00 10,758 101.57% $253.26
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,177,060.00 12,976 100.00% $90.71
JAGGED LITTLE PILL $1,089,725.30 9,032 100.36% $120.65
MEAN GIRLS $971,684.50 9,349 95.40% $103.93
MOULIN ROUGE! $1,780,175.50 10,419 100.03% $170.86
MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON $408,244.80 4,462 98.67% $91.49
OKLAHOMA! $672,071.30 5,389 103.48% $124.71
SLAVE PLAY $775,716.20 6,332 99.81% $122.51
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,151,435.25 8,358 99.79% $137.76
THE INHERITANCE $482,254.04 5,386 64.24% $89.54
THE LION KING $1,687,677.00 12,804 94.37% $131.81
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $881,005.32 9,872 76.88% $89.24
TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL $1,643,762.00 11,752 99.39% $139.87
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $1,637,162.00 11,596 101.01% $141.18
WEST SIDE STORY $1,430,906.00 12,180 100.00% $117.48
WICKED $1,472,994.00 13,605 94.11% $108.27
TOTALS $30,443,387.93 248,005 95.10% $120.83
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -$1,255,801.84      
PERCENTAGE +/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -3.962%
Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, President of Architect Theatrical. Find out more here!

Want a job in the theater? Join our TheaterMakers Studio Production Team Database!

The theater is a collaborative art form.  Even one-person shows can’t be done on their own.  (At the very least, you need at least one person in your audience!)

The cool thing about meeting the right collaborator is that your energy to make something happen doubles, triples, and increases exponentially with each person you add.  And then one day, you’ll find yourself sitting in a Broadway theater teching your show, looking around at the hundred people working on it with you. . . and remembering when it was just you, in your room, with an idea (yes, I’ve had this moment several times).

This is why we encourage TheaterMakers to meet other TheaterMakers and get them signed up on their show, or simply just meet for coffee and brainstorm!

And, believe it or not, one of the most common questions I get asked is . . . “Ken, where can I find a Director/Designer/Composer/Orchestrator/Actor, etc.”  Shocking, right?  Because we all know how many people are desperately looking to work as a Director/Designer/Composer/Orchestrator/Actor, etc.

That’s why we’ve started a TheaterMaker Production Team Database . . . so when you need someone for your show . . . or if you’re a TheaterMaker looking for a job on a show . . . you know where to look.

Post your profile if you’re a Director of plays or a Choreographer of musicals.  Or a Writer, Investor, Designer or whatever.

Search through the profiles if you’re looking for any of the above, or are just looking to meet someone who shares the same passion of making shows as you do, and see what you can cook up together.

Whatever you’re looking for, it’s in our brand new, free TheaterMaker Database. And it’s now open for your submission and browsing pleasure!

Click here to check it out and create your free profile now.

And do it now.

Ask yourself.  What do you have to lose by signing up?  And putting yourself out there?

Only a possible collaboration that could take you exactly where you want to go.

It takes 30 seconds.  Sign up and start working (with someone else) today.

Sign up for the TheaterMaker Production Database here.

 

It’s official! Rave Theater Festival Coming Back in 2020. Dates are . . .

I mean, you can’t make this @#$% up.

Last year, I announced that my office was finding some scraps of time and money here and there to put together a brand new theater festival right here in the theater capital of the world.  Why?  Because, as I wrote here, festivals have become an endangered species in New York City.

And then, and punch me in the face if me putting that negative thought out in the universe helped make it happen, two weeks ago, the New York Musical Festival, my favorite festival in the world, announced it was closing its theater doors, now and forever.

And while NYMF was the Tiffany’s of musical theater festivals and many folks couldn’t afford to produce their shows at that level even if they got accepted, it still is a devastating loss to the TheaterMaker community.

Now look, we were so inspired by the artists and art that RAVE presented last year, not to mention the incredible response from the press that we received, that we were well on our way to committing to a second year.  But when we heard the news about NYMF, we knew we didn’t have a choice.

And then we added even more shows to this year’s RAVE lineup to try and make up the industry’s loss.

So, yaaaaasssss, RAVE is happening!  From July 24th – August 9th, 2020  And this year, we grabbed Off Broadway’s famous Soho Playhouse as our venue.

Submissions are NOW being accepted through March 1st, with a discount on your submission fee if you get it in by February 2nd.  Click here to apply.

Oh, and if you were one of the submitters to NYMF this year . . . your submission fee is on us.  Check here to see how to get your free entry.

If you made a New Year’s Resolution to get your show or your career into 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear this year, then submit your script now.

If your script isn’t completed yet, or even if you don’t have a script, you’ve got plenty of time to finish it and submit.   You never know what may happen if you do . . . you definitely know what will happen if you do not.  (Nothing!)

We will see you there.

Visit www.RaveTheaterFestival.com for more information.

What Is The Broadway Musical Recoupment Rate Over The Last 5 Years. Part I.

Since I started working in the business of bway, I keep finding my way back to the same ol’ stat.

1 out of 5 shows recoup their investment (or 20%).

That’s what they told me in 1993.  That’s what I hear they were telling people in 1983.  And that’s what I used as the basis for this book.

But what about TODAY?  Certainly, this percentage has changed over the last few years, especially because of the rise of premium pricing, and the record-breaking box office numbers we’ve been touting with trumpets.

I was curious, so I dug into the data again, and took a look at all of the musicals (we left out the plays this time around) that have opened in the last five years to determine how many have recouped and how many have not.

What did we find?

Drumroll, please . . .

The percentage of Broadway musicals that have recouped in the last half decade is . . . 20.45%.

Remarkable, isn’t it?  The number is the same dang number it has always been.

It’s like Pareto’s Principle . . . just always comes out that way (It may be more closely related to Pareto than we think . . . because it is literally 80/20).

What’s comforting about that consistency is that it’s . . . well . . . consistent.  So as we continue to create economic models for our shows and our business, we pretty much know what we’re working with.  And for those in the Broadway Investing game, who are looking to learn not only how to invest, but how to improve their success rate, they can be confident that they know the odds . . . and can make more intelligent bets (just like the great stock pickers, horse handicappers, and poker players).

What’s not comforting about this consistency (you knew this was coming, didn’t you), is that it has NOT improved over the last decade.  In a period when grosses have increased by 34% (!), profitability has not.

Imagine that for any other industry or business.  If you had a store selling t-shirts, and your sales had that kind of double-digit increase in that limited time, you’d be buying your own private island by now.

But not Broadway.

Why?

Two reasons:

  1. Our costs have increased tremendously over the same period.  As grosses have gone up, so have our expenses.  Advertising, theater rent, technology, more staff, etc,  It all adds up.  It costs more to put on a show than it did a decade ago.  A lot more.
  2. The bulk of that double-digit gross increase is in the big fat blockbusters (The Hamiltons, Lion Kings, etc.).  So those shows may be more profitable, but the shows in the middle of the market, aren’t getting to the black.  And the shows at the low end of the market, are losing more than they used to.

While I’ve always been fighting for ways to increase the number of shows that recoup across our industry, the consistency of this 20% may very well be a law of theatrical nature that we can’t change (and I’ll just have to make sure my own portfolio of shows beat the market – and so far we are doing better than 20%).

Instead of increasing the 20%, we may need to turn our efforts to making sure this 20% doesn’t go the other direction.  See, with booming grosses that grab all the headlines, comes more folks with their hands out.

But as you can see in the recoupment rate of the last ten years, just because we’re making more, doesn’t mean we’re making more.  And we need to make sure everyone, from agents to investors, understand that.

Now . . . what shows are making up that XX% in the last ten years?  Well, that’s where it really gets interesting, and may just help you pick a winner.

But we’ll save that for Part II, next week.

– – – – –

Interested in learning more about recoupment rates and how Broadway Investing works?  Read the only book ever written on the subject.  Check out Broadway Investing 101 here.

 

My Broadway Predictions For 2030.

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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.)
  3. A woman will be running a theater chain.
    This is not only a prediction, this is a call to action.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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 . . .
  6. 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.

 

 

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