A test case for a “troubled” (?) musical.

– Disappointing out-of-town reviews.  Check.

– Disappointing message board buzz from early out-of-town previews.  Check.

– Director replaced.  Check.

– Michael Riedel taking swings at the show on an almost weekly basis.  Check.

The Addams Family had all four of these unfortunate items marked off the “troubled musical” checklist well before “it” came into town.

Now that TAF has been in performances for a few weeks, let’s look at some more of what The Addams Family has to buzz about.
– w/e 4/18/10    $1,261,490

– w/e 4/11/10    $1,240,377

– w/e 4/4/10      $1,391,177

– w/e 3/28/10    $1,302,707

– w/e 3/21/10    $1,328,460

– w/e 3/14/10    $1,192,213

Now, all of a sudden, some people talking smack on a message board back in October, about performances in Chicago, doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

Producers, actors, authors, etc. are constantly worried about bad industry buzz and how it will affect a show. No one wants the label of a “troubled” show.  Well, if ever there was a test case that proved that there is a giant chasm between what our industry hears about the development of a show, and what our audience hears about the development of a show, The Addams Family is it.

TAF feels like a big Broadway musical.  It has stars.  It has a powerful brand.  It has a powerful brand that’s funny.  It already feels musical because of its popular theme song.  It is about a world that provides for spectacle.  Etc.  Etc.

And all of those elements are what a huge majority of the Broadway audience wants to see, no matter who is replaced or who is writing what.

Don’t worry about what insiders may say.  Worry about what your audience will say.  They are the ones who actually pay for their tickets.

And when they really want to see a show, they’ll have no “trouble” paying premium prices.

What are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Probably NOT seeing a show.

I just took a quick spin through Telecharge searching for shows doing an evening performance on New Year’s Eve.  I came up with nada (admittedly, I stopped about a quarter of the way through the alphabet – why isn’t there a site that gives you the show schedule by day?).

It was just over a decade ago when New Year’s Eve was one of the most popular nights of the Broadway year.  In fact, some shows used to charge premium prices for that performance, before premium pricing was even in existence.  I remember getting off work from a sold out New Year’s Eve performance of Ragtime in 1998 at 11 PM, right on 43rd Street, about 30 yards from the crazies and that big ball.

What happened?  Did our customers really decide that seeing a show on New Year’s Eve was something they didn’t want to do?  Did security get too difficult?

I think it was a combination of two things:  the turn of the Millennium and September 11th.  Both of these major events changed the way that New Year’s was treated in this city, and we’re all a little more careful now . . . as we should be.

But that makes me wonder, could there be an opportunity there now?

People are always looking for special events on New Year’s Eve . . . and to me, there’s nothing more special, or more of an event, than a Broadway show.