Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Economics of Broadway Musicals: Links and Commentary

1. NY Times article on how "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" is trying to capitalize on winning the Tony Award for best musical.

A very interesting read.  Here's one excerpt:

The big difference in these new ads, as shown in a 30-image slide show at the SpotCo meeting last week, is that they relentlessly hammer home the idea that “Gentleman’s Guide” is the best musical of the year.

I agree with their strategy.  On a personal note - I saw this show about 2 weeks ago (just before it's Tony win) and it was fantastic!  Here are the obligatory pictures:

We also saw another show mentioned in the article - If/Then, which was also fantastic.  It doesn't hurt when your seats are this good:

Many people think it is expensive it is to see Broadway musicals.  I (somewhat) disagree.  While it's not cheap, you can get great seats at the TKTS booth for a discount on the day of the show for far less than what you'd pay for equivalent seats for a Broadway touring company.  You also see more talented performers (on average) on Broadway.

2. Here is a post on BroadwayWorld.com discussing the weekly costs for various musicals and their "break-even" points.  

Excerpt on assumptions needed:
• Producers announce recoupment very shortly after actually recouping • A show recoups because its box office receipts minus a certain amount of expenses per week equals the initial investment, and this amount per week is the 'weekly nut'. And I assume that if a show does not meet its weekly nut, that loss is added back to the money it has to recoup (e.g., If MEMPHIS in total lost 20k before it won BEST MUSICAL it had to recoup back its original investment plus the 20k it lost from simply running). • I've taken 9% off the grosses for tax, thanks Mikem • My % of "gross potential" figures should be considered +/1 about 4% because I wasn't too precise with this particular calculation. 
This is an interesting read.  One note I'll add is that some musicals make significant amounts of money after they're off broadway by selling their rights to local theatre groups.  (Suessical the Musical has done extremely well with this.)  So even if a show loses money on Broadway, it might still earn money overall.

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