August 1, 2017
Chapter 5 (Marketing), 10 (Producing), 13 (Box office)
WICKED is now the second largest money-maker in Broadway history, surpassing PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. No doubt that Premium seat prices and "Dynamic Pricing" (that has only been used since the early 2000's) are to "blame". The audience size is about the same, but the ticket prices are much higher. The investors are happy, but what about the base theater audience from the middle class? Supply and demand? Results justify the means?
Chapter 9: (Selling a flop, hit, or moderately-well-received show)
Case in point: NATASHA, PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812. Producers often replace original actors with TV and film celebrities even when the original unknown actor was superb. This is a regrettable decision, sometimes causing pain for the original cast and adding a tone of dismay over the production. When Josh Groban left Tony nominated GREAT COMET, he took with it a large portion of its commercial appeal. This multi-ethnic show replaced him with an excellent but unfamiliar African-American actor and then as soon as a box-office draw was available (Mandy Patinkin), cut short the run of the African-American actor. That did not play well with other theater folk and the headlines were damaging enough for Mandy Patinkin to bow out from a three-week-only run. Now the show has no one to play the lead, and box office proceeds are dropping by the day. They are talking about closing the show.
The power of celebrity is often stronger than the value of a good production.
Chapter 10: (Producing and investing)
Showing the power of winning the Tony Award for Best Musical, DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the first musical of the 2016/17 season to recoup its original investment. It's all profit from here on out. On the other hand, there have been multiple closings of shows that received other Tony Awards and/or nominations.