The Economic Impact of Touring Broadway 2016-17

“Broadway is the longest street in America.”

If you’ve never heard that quote before, attributed to our living legend Paul Libin, who recently retired as an EVP and resident “guru” at Jujamcyn Theaters (and who also runs Circle in the Square), you’re about to see why he uttered it in the first place.

Simply put . . . it’s because Broadway brings a lot of bucks to the entire nation.

Like, billions.

The Broadway League just released its annual economic impact report for touring Broadway, and the results are staggering.  And this is for the 2016-17 season, just as Hamilton was starting to pump up subscriptions at every theater in the land.

As you’ll see, Producers spend a lot of dollars launching these moving (literally and figuratively) musicals and plays . . . and audiences spend a lot of money on them and around them as well (from dinner to parking to hotels, oh my!).

That means . . . jobs.  Lots and lots of jobs.

And that means: take heed local and federal governments.  This is an industry that deserves support and respect.  Because a dent in it would mean a dent in economies all over this long, long street.  (Translation: more tax incentives, please, especially for our steadfast Broadway investors who make all this possible.)

Take a look at this “Executive Summary” of the report below . . . and if you want to get the complete report, as well as the others that the League produces, you can get them here.

Touring Broadway Contributes $3.8 Billion Across the U.S.

  • In the 2016-2017 season, 41 Touring Broadway shows traveled to 191 cities across the country.
  • Producers and presenters spent $1 billion to launch and run these programs.
  • Of this amount, $728.8 million was spent in the theatres’ communities and $279.8 million in the New York City area. The remaining $29.6 million was spent in other areas (i.e. vendors who were situated elsewhere or foreign royalty holders) that is beyond the scope of the impact analysis.
  • Moreover, theatregoers who came to an area specifically to attend shows spent another $746.1 million on ancillary activities such as dining and transportation.
  • Thus the total direct spending due to Touring Broadway amounted to $1.78 billion.
  • This money then generated another $2.0 billion in secondary rounds of spending, so that the full economic contribution of Touring Broadway totaled $3.8 billion to these 191 cities.
  • Eighty-three percent of this money ($3.2 billion) supported the communities that presented Broadway tours. Another $610.2 million impacted the New York City area.
  • On average, Broadway tours contributed an economic impact of 3.28 times the gross ticket sales to the economy of the metropolitan areas in which they played.

Want to hear more about the business of Broadway and how it’s changing under our feet?  Come hear Broadway A-listers chat about the state of Broadway and how you can make it to a stage yourself.  Click here.

5 Shows That Stand Out at NYMF 2019

It was 15 years ago.

Can you believe it?

15 years ago, almost to the day, we started rehearsals for the New York Musical Festival production of Altar Boyz . . . starring Cheyenne Jackson, Andy Karl, David Josefsberg, Ryan Duncan, and Tyler Maynard.  Talk to any one of those guys and they’ll tell you stories about singing “Girl, You Make Me Wanna Wait” and “Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone” around my little piano in my rehearsal room/bedroom in my apartment.

It was a blast.

Thankfully, we stood out at that first year of the festival, bounced to Off-Broadway a few months later . . . and stuck around for five years.  And now, Altar Boyz is done all over the country and all over the world.

15 years later, we’re in the midst of this year’s New York Musical Festival  . . . which has grown into the biggest, coolest, most influential musical theater festival in the world (is there any other musical theater festival that gets more industry attention? And I say that having a festival of my own!).

And a whole bunch of new shows are standing out.  Every year, I go through the catalog of offerings, looking for the next Altar Boyz and more.  And each year, I tell you which ones stand out to me!

How does a show make the list?  It’s important to know that this isn’t a list of what shows I think are “best,” which are most likely to recoup or win awards, or which are most likely to have five year runs like Altar Boyz.  I put shows on this list based on their descriptions in the NYMF catalog and what strums a chord in the commercial producer in me.  And a disclaimer, I do know a few of the folks on this list (because they’ve been pretty good at getting my attention over the years), but I’ve got no reason to be anything but objective . . . especially since I’m not judging them on what’s going to be the next Urinetown.

Got it?  So here goes . . . based on what I’ve read on the NYMF website, here are the five shows that stand out at this year’s NYMF (and a little explanation as to why, in the hopes that it’ll help you get your shows to stand out to Producers like me when you’re in a festival of your own).

1. Black Hole Wedding

You know that old A Chorus Line story of how Michael Bennett added the “A” before “Chorus Line” to appear first in the ABC’s (thank you alpha order)?  Well, that @#$% works.  🙂  It’s not the reason I added Black Hole Wedding to this list, but it didn’t hurt, and it may have put it over the edge.  But what got me to notice BHW first was the timeliness of its ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter (Energy Politics) combined with the kookiness of the plot.  It is described as a “zany satire,” and there’s always room for one of those at a festival.

2. Ladyship

This musical had three things going for it right away.  1) The word “journey” appears in the first sentence of their marketing blurb . . . and all great stories are journeys.  2) It takes place in the 18th century . . . and a majority of our great musicals are period pieces (including over 55% of Tony Award Winning Best Musicals).  And 3) It features two women (a la Wicked) as its protagonists.  Add that it’s “based on a true story,” and I wanted to know more.

3. Till

Speaking of true stories . . . here comes one about a harrowing moment in American history, when the young Emmett Till was found murdered for the color of his skin.  It’s almost too timely, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued, because I believe musicals can put a spotlight on society in a way that the news can’t and maybe even change a few minds in the process.

4. The Disappearing Man

The Disappearing Man had the shortest description of all the shows in the festival this year. But the funny thing is because the title also suggested something mysterious, I wanted to know more.  Add the cool setting of a “small-town circus in 1936” and it sounded like a world I wanted to walk around in for a while.  Sometimes less is much more, and creating a strong visual for the time and place of your show can make me want to buy a ticket to take a trip there.

5. Savage The Musical

The description of Savage goes as far as to say exactly why it’s relevant today . . . it’s about a “divorced, single mother who fought racism, sexism, and abuse to make a name for herself.”  This woman just happens to be a Native American, Annie Oakley type, and again, it’s based on a true story (are you getting a sense of what turns my ticket buying engine on?).

Honorable Mentions go to . . . Alive! The Zombie Musical (because who doesn’t like zombies), Finding Beautiful (“the first transgender woman to compose for the main stage and the first-ever NYMF Fellow”) and Flying Lessons (it sounds like something I’ll want to take my daughter to someday).

I was bad this year and posted this a bit late, so you can’t even catch some of the events above, but there are still plenty of opportunities for you to see other NYMF shows.  Click here to see all the events and go to one.  We all want more new writers and more new musicals on the boards, right?  We can make that happen by supporting festivals like NYMF.  (And, yes, Rave, too!)

Forget 15 Minutes a Day to Flatter Abs. Use Those 15 Minutes to Do THIS Instead.

A long time ago, in a galaxy very close to Times Square . . . I was in deep you-know-what.

See, I had made a bad business assumption.

Actually, that’s redundant. Any assumption is a bad one.  Because when you assume, you make an a$$ out of yourself . . . and only yourself!  And now what the @#$% are you going to do?

So, I had made this business assumption. And I found myself in a very, very deep hole.  With very limited time to get out of it.

Now look, I had been in holes before.  Life, and even more so the pursuit of success in the arts, is like a street in New York City.  It’s filled with potholes, and you’re going to hit one every once in a while.

But this time?  I hit a doozy.  I was in deep.  Deeper than the one I had been in years before that had me in tears on my therapist’s couch, wondering how I was going to get out of it.

So yeah, things were bad.

And I needed a plan.  Because there was no choice.  I had to dig myself out.  No matter what.

There were no tears this time.  I woke up at 4:45 AM (partly on purpose and partly because I couldn’t sleep) and went straight to my office to begin putting a process in place to get me over, under, or straight damn through the obstacle I was facing.

That morning, I Googled everything I could about getting back on track.  I learned about eating better and morning routines and meditation and positive thinking and . . . journaling.

I had always laughed at journaling before.  “Isn’t it like keeping a diary?”  “Why reflect or describe what’s happening when I can just do something with that time instead!”

But since so many successful people I looked up to swore by this 15-minute a day exercise and since I was so @#$%ed I was ready to try anything to get myself in the right mindset . . . I bought one.  (Actually, I bought three – but more on that later.)

And the next day, I took that journal, which I had one-day shipped from Amazon Prime, and held it.  And instantly I felt like I had control over what was going to happen next in my life, instead of “the hole” taking control of me.

Day after day, I started going through the exercises in that journal, from goal-setting, to mind-setting, to gratitude-feeling, and so on.

Two weeks later, my problem was gone . . . four weeks earlier than the deadline.


And journaling has been a part of my life every single day since.  And without a doubt, it has helped me focus, take action, stay calm (when I’ve faced more potholes), and achieve the ambitious goals that I had set for myself.

It’s one of the simplest secrets to success I’ve ever seen.  Which is why I think you should start one today.

You can use anything to journal.  A blank composition book.  A blog.  A word doc.

Or one of the many journals available on the market.

And as of today, you can also get one specifically for Artists, Art-trepreneurs, and other people like you.  Check them out here.

See, in order to make my journaling more efficient, I tried over seventeen (!) different types from seventeen different companies.  And while all of them had elements I liked (special shout-out to Michael Hyatt, SaltWrap, Rachel Hollis, and all the others who helped inspire me with their versions), none of them had the perfect combination of what I believe true Art-repreneurs need.

So we made our own!  🙂  Click here to see ’em.

The journal consists of a daily checklist of the things I believe every person should start their day with in order to get the most out of the next 24 hours and to get closer to their goals.

We have three versions, with three unique covers, inspired by some of our favorite motivational lyrics.  🙂  I think you’ll like ’em.  Click here to see if you can guess which lyrics we chose!

With the cost of publishing these hardcovers, never mind what Jeff Bezos takes on Amazon, these are really a wash for us.  But we made them because we believe it can help you get your shows, your projects, your anything off the ground, which as you know, is part of our #5000By2025 mission.

So grab one and give it a shot.

Because I think you’ll find those 15 minutes a day much more fun and MUCH more rewarding than a bunch of crunches.

Get our Action Journal for Artists here.

It will work.

Happy journaling!

SPINOFF ALERT: A New Broadway and Off-Broadway General Management Company

People ask me all the time what I look for when I’m hiring an employee.

That’s a complicated question, especially when you need someone with expert knowledge and specific skill sets, never mind someone who will not only hit goals but crush them . . . and fit in with your company culture.

But the simplest answer is . . . I like to hire people who have the same entrepreneurial spirit that I do and have had since I started a candy selling business in my Dad’s doctor’s office when I was seven years old.  (Yes, that’s right, I sold chocolate bars to heart patients.)

In other words, I like to hire people who want to build stuff.

Including their own businesses.

That’s why my Producers Perspective Pro Community Manager has her own photography business, why my Marketing Director has her own custom coloring book business . . . and why when my Davenport Theatrical General Manager, Ryan Conway . . . who helped me bring Spring Awakening to Broadway in 83 days, who helped me figure out how to live stream Daddy Long Legs, and who came up with a workable budget for Once On This Island with its 20 Actors in a theater with only 700 odd seats . . . came to me and said, “I want to run my own General Management Company and take outside clients,” I said . . . “Absolutely, yes.  How can I help?”

Honestly, it’s hard to let go of something you built.  I founded our Management Company with the same style that I used to Company Manage and General Manage shows, thanks to the mentorship I got from folks like Nina Lannan, Wendy Orshan, Charlotte Wilcox, Frank Scardino, and so many others.  So it means a lot to me.

And it’s hard to think about sharing someone like Ryan (I was an only child, after all).  But frankly, I was so supportive of Ryan heading up this endeavor because . . .

1) He wanted to, and he has been so helpful with the many things (some of them nuts!) I wanted to do.

2) He has been so instrumental in getting my shows off the ground, that I know he can help many others do the same.  And by unleashing his industry knowledge, crackerjack negotiating style, and unflappable positive attitude on shows with other Producers, he can help me with my #5000by2025 mission.

So it is my pleasure to announce that DTE Management has been spun off to create a new Broadway and Off-Broadway General Management Company called Architect Theatrical, run by President Ryan Conway.

And they’re open for business.

I took a chance on Ryan years ago when he walked into my office to interview for the Company Management position on Macbeth.  And that chance has turned into one of the most successful business partnerships and friendships I’ve ever had.

If you have a show you’re looking to get on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on tour, or frankly, you don’t know where it should go yet, I’d give him a chance as well.

Because (like he did with me) I guarantee he’ll help guide you to where you want to go.

You can reach Ryan and the folks at Architect here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 7/14/2019: We Are Powerless

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending July 7, 2019. The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League.