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Thursday, May 31, 2007


Record Season For Broadway... By The Books

FleshPresser here - I haven't checked in until today because Nathaniel has been doing such a great job filling in for our one and only ModFab, but I thought I'd take my turn today.

It appears that Broadway is only a few bucks shy of a seemingly inevitable billion-dollar season, with sales for '06-'07 reaching a staggering $938.5 million dollars.

Congratulations, Broadway.

Don't get me wrong - I'm in the business of theatre myself - and I'm thrilled to see Broadway doing so well. I guess I'm just not as thrilled about how it got there.

Reading a bit deeper into the article, we find a couple facts to consider:

Paid attendance hit 12.3 million this season - a new record. Of that group, 10.8 million tickets sold were for musicals - almost 90% of the total sold.

Of the total, over half of the total gross sales (6.3 million tickets) came from the pocket of tourists and international visitors.

I am the crumudgeon who regularly comments during ModFab's brilliant Stage Addiction posts about the lack of original ideas on Broadway, and the plethora of film-to-Broadway musical adaptations.

Here are some of the prime reasons laid plain for all to see - Broadway is primarily focused on catering to a musical, tourist audience. Whether the Tourist or the Producer created the problem is irrelevant.

A few final facts to ponder - in this last season, 35 productions opened. Of those 35, 17 were musicals. Of those 17, 12 were new musicals. Of those, I can think of at least five that derived themselves from either film or pop music libraries - and that's not counting the ones that are still currently running from other seasons (there are ten of them currently running, if you do decide to count... with at LEAST a dozen more in the immediate pipeline).

Congratulations, Broadway.

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