Broadway’s 3rd Quarter results: The final furlong begins.

We’ve rounded the last turn on this Broadway season.  There are just thirteen weeks to go before we put another one in the books.

But will this one go in the record books?

It looks like the answer is yes . . . for two very different reasons.

At the end of the third quarter, our grosses are still up a fractional .5% over last year’s numbers.  If we can hold on to that itsy-bitsy growth, Broadway will have another record-grossing year.

To be honest, I thought we’d have dropped into negative territory this quarter, but we managed to hold steady. How?  Remember those 2 million dollar Wicked weeks?  Our biggest hits, including Wicked and J-Boys, mastered variable and premium pricing this year, and made up for the big grossing shows (Steady Rain, Hamlet, etc.) that came and went.

On the other end of the spectrum, our attendance is still down an unfortunate 4% from last year, which means my pre-season prediction of a drop in seasonal attendance for the third year in a row looks to be as sure as a Tony nom for Liev Schreiber.  Why will this drop go in the record books?  It’s the third drop in a row, and that hasn’t happened in 25 years.  (To cut us some slack, this last year we were in the midst of a slight economic crisis, in case any of you haven’t heard.)

But we’ve still got one quarter left, and a couple of big musicals in big houses yet to open, not to mention all those plays.  Maybe we’ll see a turnaround?

As we head into the final furlong, I’ll be cheering hard for a come-from-behind win at the wire.  But I’m not rooting for the grosses to go up . . . it’s that attendance figure I want to even out.

Unfortunately, that one’s a real long shot.

What we can learn from the most watched videos on YouTube.

Commercial theater producers need to keep in touch with popular entertainment trends.
Just what is the current appetite of the people?  What are they craving?  Heavy on the protein?  More fat?

Here’s one quick-fix way that I keep in touch.

Every year I take a look at the Top 10 Most Watched Videos on YouTube.  Since “most watched” is a semi-pure democratic process, it gives me a chance to see what the mass audience is interested in (and most particularly a young audience, which is tomorrow’s Broadway audience).

Here’s a list of the titles:

  1. Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!
  2. Evolution of Dance
  3. Miley Cyrus – 7 Things
  4. Hahaha
  5. Jeff Dunham – Achmed The Dead
  6. Pitbull – I Know You Want Me
  7. Lo Que Tu Quieras Ois
  8. Susan Boyle – I Dreamed a Dream
  9. Timbaland – Aplogize
  10. Miley Cyrus – Party In The USA

You know what’s funny about the above list?

You’ve got kids (and British ones at that), dance, stars, comedy, something for the international community, popular music, an underdog, and something with Disney’s fingerprints all over it.

Sound like a Broadway season to you?


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