Updates: July 2016

July 1, 2016

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Chapter 19 (Ushers and House Staff):  Photographs and videotaping during a show is illegal in New York State. Cameras and phones have been confiscated. Actual film, when used, has been taken away by ushers and house managers, and processed at the photographer’s expense, then returned by mail, minus the offending photos. However, the long-standing policy of “no photos inside the theatre” has now gone away, primarily because of cell phones and social media. Theatre owners have recently allowed audience members to take photos before and after a performance.

Chapter 6 (Tony Awards): 2016 is not a “normal” year. Let’s consider all the ways that this year was special. 1) The Tony Awards on CBS was #1 in the ratings for its time slots. 2) While other Tony Award nominees are often hurt badly by losing, the public can’t get into Hamilton and so some of the other nominees (Waitress and School of Rock) seem to be doing well even with no Tonys. Only nominee Bright Star and Shuffle Along will not survive, closing just weeks after the Tony broadcast. Of course, there are plenty of play and revival closures before July 4th and more to come by the end of the summer. Only the strong survive and Broadway must make theaters available for the new shows in the fall.

Hamilton, winner of 11 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Score and Book, is Broadway’s rare phenomenon. Box office seats are now being sold at a record $849 (in part to thwart the scalpers) and it is grossing over $2 million per week. It will not set precedents for other ticket prices since it is truly the one and only elephant on Broadway.

Chapter 13 (Box Office): Premium seats have now hit a record high, thanks to the demand for Hamilton tickets: $849 at the box office. Ouch. And yet there are still $10 seats available through the lottery system online.

Chapter 13 (Box Office): In the continuing effort to shut down scalpers who sometimes sell tickets (especially for Hamilton) at thousands of times the original box office ticket price, NY State enacted new legislation to control software that can buy mass quantities of tickets in a moment over the Internet (known as “bots”). Civil penalties would be increased and expanded to include any individuals who knowingly resell or offer to resell tickets that were purchased with ticket bot software. The measure would also classify the use or control of ticket purchasing software and the reselling of such tickets as a class A misdemeanor, which could result in imprisonment and fines.

COMING: Chapter 16 (Musicians) and Chapter 21 (Stagehands) have concluded new contract negotiations with the League in 2016. Salaries and rules for Local 802 and IATSE Pink Contract Stagehands will change and this monthly update for The Business of Broadway will assess the new information and report to you in August.

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DEEP DIVE! Want to dig deeper into the book and these updates, join us in New York City for the course with the same name! THE BUSINESS OF BROADWAY is a class offering at New York University! Join us in July!

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