Updates: June 2017

Chapter 4 (19 Unions)

Casting directors, who are hired on as consultants to help theatrical directors weed through the thousands of potential actors they might have to audition under Actors’ Equity rules, are the only major creative staff not protected by a union, even though other unions like ATPAM (Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers) have invited them in earlier years to organize and join.

Very recently, a group of casting directors have joined Teamster Local 817 and have written to the Broadway League (representing Producers and Theatre Owners) for recognition in the negotiation process. The Broadway League is reported to have responded with a firm no.

We’ll see. Could this be Broadway’s 20th union?

 

Chapter 10 (Investing and Producing: “Rebecca” lawsuit concludes)

Not sure where to file this news within the context of our Table of Contents, but it is significant to learn that the Producers of the ill-fated musical “Rebecca” that shut down operations one day before going into rehearsal, has both won and lost their lawsuit against the show’s press representative.

The Press Agent was ordered to pay $90,000 in damages to the Producers who claim to owe their original investors millions since the money was never legally available for use on the production. NYS law says you must have the full capitalization/investment in the bank before going into rehearsal. After discovering that its major investor was a con artist (currently in jail) and another investor never existed, the press agent secretly warned a new investor that this production was in trouble, thereby losing the new investor’s funding.

Obviously there are many, many more details to this story, but the biggest loss is that the option to produce the musical on Broadway has expired and therefore there will be no future production by these producers…ever.

 

Chapter 13 (Box office)

2017 stats show that while many staples (food, clothing, cellphones, computers, etc.) have come down in cost over the past 15 years, the biggest increases are found in theatre ticket prices, transportation, and toll charges into Manhattan. Perhaps that is why there is a drop in the number of suburbanites attending Broadway theater.

 

Chapter 15 (Actors’ Equity and diversity)

Furthering the data offered in our book, we now quote from the 2017 casting report compiled by Actors’ Equity Association.

In brief, Equity east coast membership of 32,193 is equally divided in terms of gender: 49.6% female/50.4% male. However, 60% of all principal contracts (for leading and featured roles) went to men, 40% to women.

In terms of ethnicity and race, 71% of all principal contracts (for leading and featured roles) went to Caucasian actors, 8 percent to African-American actors, 2 percent to Hispanic and 1.5% to Asian-American actors. 74% of all stage management jobs went to Caucasians.

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Updates: The Business of Broadway – May 2017

Tony! Tony! Tony! Tonys!

Yup, it’s Tonys season! Any moment now, we will find out the nominees for the 71st Annual Tony Awards. This year’s host will be Kevin Spacey. We have some updates for Chapter 6 along with a map showing you where The Tonys matter the most in the U.S. Hint: It’s what you thought!

http://www.justlearnsomething.us/updates-the-business-of-broadway-may-2017/

 

What shows are you looking forward to seeing? Enter another question here!

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Updates: May 2017

May 1, 2017

**US states show interest in the Tony Awards.

Chapter 6 (Tony Awards):

The Tony Awards nominations will be announced Tuesday May 2nd at 8:30am leading to weeks of increased marketing for those who are nominated, and especially for those who are not. It’s fascinating to watch how press representatives manuever and manipulate the media.

Social media bumps happen the day after the Tony nominations are released. Those nominated for Best Musical or Musical Revival see a 90% increase in social media activity (compared to the day before). Musicals that do not receive a nomination get a 20% increase. There are still no solid statistics if social media brings in ticket sales. However, a Tony nomination will definitely help.

The other categories of nominations have little if any effect on ticket sales. And if you look at the attached map**, you will see that a very small portion of the country cares about the Tony Awards at all.

On the positive side, the Tony Awards brings the magic of great theater to the world and creates the mystique of Broadway for tourists visiting NYC. As already mentioned in the book, the cost of performing on the Tony Awards is not small. There are a lot of considerations for producers when deciding how to spend their promotional dollars.

 

** See attached map of which US states show interest in the Tony Awards.

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Updates: The Business of Broadway – April 2017

If you want to be a producer, Chapter 10 is for you. This month’s updates are all about producers!

Updates: April 2017

What shows are you looking forward to seeing? Enter another question here!

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Updates: 2016

January 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

 

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Updates: 2015

October 2015

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December 2015

 

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Updates: April 2017

April 1, 2017

Chapter 10 (Producers):

“Dynamic Pricing” a ticket-pricing concept borrowed (?) from the airline industry, where prices are changed daily based on demand, is expanding its use in a downward direction. Hit shows now commonly raise their ticket prices for Spring Break, Christmas week, etc. when the demand is super high. This is done without fanfare and often without the awareness of the general public.

 

But what happens to shows that are not selling out? Or shows that can’t sell full-price tickets in certain sections of the orchestra or mezzanine because the public only want the best or the cheapest. “Dynamic Pricing” is now being considered as a way to reduce the prices of less-desirable seating locations on a moment’s notice, rather than losing the box office sale. For example, why pay full-price for a rear mezzanine seat when you can buy an orchestra seat for the same or lower price by standing on line at the TKTS half-price booth on the day of the show? Better seat at the same cost.  Reducing ‘unsellable’ seats at a “dynamic” discount keeps the public going to the box office and sells tickets in advance.

 

Of course, in older decades, shows had up to 9 different prices, regularly advertised, for seats: far sides, too close, too far back, etc. This may just be another way to do the same thing.

 

Chapter 10 (Producers): Wait…There’s more!

What’s the best time of year to open a new show? In the “crap-shoot” that is Broadway, there’s no way to be sure…EXCEPT: 2017 gives warning to producers about opening in a crowded field of new shows. New shows opening in the two months before the Tony Award deadline include: Groundhog Day, Amelia, Anastasia, Come From Away, Sweat, Glass Menagerie (Sally Field), Significant Other, War Paint (Patti Lupone), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hello Dolly (Bette Midler), Oslo, The Play that Goes Wrong, Indecent, Bandstand, Six Degrees of Separation, and a few more! Is there enough audience to fill the seats at full price? Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 have already established themselves as popular shows. They opened before the crunch. Major discounts abound for everything even if the houses look full. How many of these new shows will survive past July 4th? Less than two-thirds. How many of these shows will survive past Labor Day? Less than half? And most of them at discount prices. And that translates into a total loss for investors.

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