The most popular posts of the month: July.

I have to say, admitting that July is no longer with us gets me a little depressed.  So let's make August one heck of a last summer month!  Let's see what you got your interest this past month.

And . . .

See you next month!

 

(Got a comment?  I love 'em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what's on your mind!) 

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FUN STUFF 

– 73 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Enter to win 2 tickets to All New People by Zach Braff Off-Broadway!  Click here.

 

It’s official: Broadway to Off is not just a fad. It’s a phenom.

Earlier this week, Million Dollar Quartet announced that it would be closing June 12th.

But it won’t be gone for good.

MDQ will become the latest show to transfer from Broadway to Off-Broadway as it moves into New World Stages in July.

It’s the fourth show to make such a move:  Avenue Q, The 39 Steps, the upcoming Rent, and now, MDQ.  And all of them taking up tenancy at New World Stages (Boy, there were times during the run of Altar Boyz when we were the only show in the building – I don’t expect a show to feel that lonely anytime soon – good news for the owners in what is a fantastic turnaround play.)

It was almost three years ago that I wrote this blog suggesting that Broadway producers look at this model, and it has been almost two since the Producers of Avenue Q courageously decided to go where no Producers had gone before and made the move (and brought us on to GM).  And then the domino effect began.

Because of that blog a few years ago, and because of the surprising MDQ news, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from readers and reporters alike about what I think now that four shows have done it.

So what do I think?

It’s awesome for all the reasons I wrote about before.  Avenue Q was about to close.  As was 39 Steps.  One can only assume MDQ was about to do the same.  And I don’t think a Rent revival was in the cards in the short term.

Jobs were created.  Theaters were filled.  Investors continue to make money or have a shot at getting more back in the case of unrecouped shows.  What could be bad about that?

Well, there is one thing.

What about new commerical Off-Broadway shows?

As if it couldn’t get any tougher for anyone trying to make a go of it with a new commercially-produced play or musical, it just did.  Because Broadway . . . just got bigger.  That’s right, with Broadway branded shows now appearing in Off-Broadway venues, guess where patrons are going to go first when considering an Off-Broadway show?  Oh, and remember those good deals you used to get because Off-Broadway venues needed to fill a hole, or a vendor needed the biz wherever and whenever he or she could get it?  Well, there’s not as much desperation anymore since mini-Broadway was born.

I’m thrilled about this new distribution model for our industry.  Overall, it’s a great thing.  But now, looking at the landscape, I fear for the commercial Off-Broadway musical . . . as it’s becoming an endangered species.  Oh, they may pop up every now and then, but are they making money?

And the commercial play?  Well, shoot, it’s becoming as much of a myth as the Big Foot.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– Come to our Tony Awards Party THIS SUNDAY!  Click here for more info and to get your ticket now!

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!  Deadline is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!

– Enter to win 2 tickets to see the screening of Company!  Click here.

– My next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar is coming up on June 25th.  Get info here.

 

If Glee had a baby, it would be named . . .

. . . Smash.

One of the best bits of news to hit Broadway in years happened just last week, when NBC officially ordered episodes of the new pilot entitled, Smash.  What’s it about?

It’s about the making of a Broadway musical.

As one of our industry vets once told me, hits beget hits, and the success of Glee has inspired competing networks to jump on the Broadway bandwagon.  And that’s great news for all of us, as the words Broadway, Broadway, Broadway are repeated over, over and over, in front of millions, millions and millions of viewers every week.

And that’s even if the show sucks.

But from what I hear, it doesn’t.

I had a spy at NBC’s “upfronts” today (which is when the network previews its new shows for advertisers).  My guy reports that the room was so quiet during the Smash preview, you could hear a false eyelash drop . . . and that the room erupted in cheers when the trailer came to and end.

But you be the judge . . . the trailer is below.

Oh, and you know what else is cool?  Like some talent-trade deal, NBC enlisted actual Broadway talent to play Broadway peeps, as if to say thank you for us hiring so much Hollywood talent over the last few years (it doesn’t hurt that Robert Greenblatt, the President of Programming at NBC is a Broadway lover, having produced 9 to 5 just a few years ago).  In the trailer you’ll see Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James, and a few more.  (Do you think Hollywood actors are b*tching about Broadway folks getting the good roles?)

Oh, and the show headlines Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing and a guy with a really cool name . . . Jack Davenport.

In case you needed another reason to tune in, the Exec. Producer is Steven Spielberg.

But you didn’t need another reason, did you?  This show had you at hello, Dolly.  You’re all planning your viewing parties already aren’t you?

I know we are.  In fact . . . maybe we’ll do a premiere party!  (unfortunately, we’ll all have to wait a bit because Smash is a mid-season replacement.)

It deserves a party.  Because it could be our best bet at a new audience in years.

In fact, Smash not a Glee baby.  This is one heck of a big mama.

 

 

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

– – – – –

FUN STUFF

– Come to our Tony Awards Party!  Click here for more info and to get your ticket now!

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!

– Enter to win 2 tickets to see By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Second Stage!  Click here.

The wizards behind our curtains.

Yesterday marked the last day of the annual Broadway League Spring Road Conference, the four-day-long conference for Producers and Presenters from all over the country that’s filled with keynotes, cocktail parties, and lots of Tony lobbying. (This is when a ton of the voters from outside the tri-state see the shows and make their decisions.)

There are always discussions about digital marketing, how to save the subscription model, how we educate the touring market about new Broadway shows and so on.

But by far, the most popular sessions every year are these fantastic Creative Conversations panels that feature interviews with teams from a show.  There’s the Book of Mormon CC, the Sister Act CC, etc.

And when I say “teams,” I mean they pull out the first-stringers for these convos. Daniel Radcliffe, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, The South Park Boys, and so on were the headliners of the Creative Conversation for their specific shows.  And they were flanked by the authors, directors, and other VIPs.   As you can guess, these panels are super educational and supremely entertaining.

So much so that each one garnered a standing ovation.  At a conference!

Some of the shows themselves didn’t get ovations like these panels!

Why?

Yes, because of the star power that is sitting just a few feet away, but also because this theater-loving audience likes hearing the stories behind the shows.

If you like cars, you’re going to want to know what’s under the hood of any car you see and how it works.  If you like food, you’d probably love to tour the kitchen of your favorite restaurant and hear how the chef prepares your favorite dish.

And theater fans, whether they are in the industry or not, love to hear about how it all came together.

There was some talk about taping and pod-casting these Convos, and while I don’t think that will happen (nor should they – because the fun of these sessions is that they are “off-the-record”), but the interest in them did remind me that having video footage, podcasts, blogs and more from your creative team is an essential part of marketing to your core fan.

Because if you show them who and what is behind the curtain, they just may pay to sit in front of it again and again.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– LAST CALL for the Seminars and Social in Minneapolis!  Click the link and RSVP today!

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!

– Enter to win 2 tickets to see Lombardi on Broadway!  Click here.

When are the worst times of the year for Broadway shows?

If you asked anyone when the worst weeks of the year are for Broadway, I’d bet you the brand new pre-release of The Book of Mormon CD that I got yesterday the answer you’d hear would be September and January.

But is that true?

I’ve never been a fan of anecdotal evidence, so with some help from one of my assistants, Jason Najjoum, I looked at the weekly grosses of Broadway shows for the last ten years, and found the 10 weeks with the lowest average weekly grosses.

Here’s the list, starting with the weeks with the worst averages:

1.  Week #5 – First week of February
2.  Week #18 – Last week of April
3.  Week #10 – First week of March
4.  Week #9 – Last week of February
5.  Week #44 – Last week of October
6.  Week #19 – First week of May
7.  Week #6 – Second week of February
8.  Week  #46 – Second week of November
9.  Week #17 – Third week of April
10. Week #4 – Last week of January

Funny, isn’t it?  September doesn’t appear in the Top 10.  And there are two consecutive three week runs in this list:

– Last week of January, First week of February and Second week of February.

and . . . the surprise that I was looking for . .

– Third week of April, Last week of April and First week of May.

So, looking at the average weekly grosses only, we just went through one of the worst times of the year.

Now, it may be no one’s fault but our own.  While I do believe that late April/May is not the best time for theatergoing, remember we are looking at average weekly grosses.  So if we’re putting more product on the street during this periods (and we know we are in late April/May because the Tony eligibility cutoff is usually at end of April), we’re driving our own average grosses down.

It’s easy to look at the best weeks of the year.  It’s hard to look at the worst.  But this is where we can learn the most.  By looking at the above, we know when we have to market more aggressively.  We know when we should avoid opening.

And we know that what we think we know is not always what’s the truth.

It’s not the nose that knows.  It’s the numbers that know.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

– – – – –

FUN STUFF

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!

– Take the Broadway Investing 101 Seminar in NYC and in Minneapolis!  Click here!

– Take the Get Your Show Off the Ground Seminar in Minneapolis on May 15th.  Click here!

– Come to the Social in Minneapolis.  Click here!

– Enter to win 2 tickets to see Lombardi on Broadway!  Click here.

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