The Playgoer: Recouping

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Maybe the older timers out there can fill us in, but was it always "news" when a Broadway show recouped it's investment? Nowadays it seems the moment some patron clicks to purchase that magic ticket, the producers issue a press release announcing, "No, we are not a failure!" Playbill runs it online, and within minutes we all know it.

To me this hints that the occurrence has become rare enough to indeed be newsworthy.

Our latest "winner" is Frost/Nixon, making back its investment after just 14 weeks plus previews. So 3-4 moths. Not bad by today's standards.

Then again, it's a cast of ten (two of which I believe are nonspeaking?) led by a famous but not 6-figures-a-week star, on a unit set--albeit one with multiple tv's.

The stats show it's been filling the house at 80-90% ever since Tony season, after hovering in the 60s and 70s beforehand.

Perhaps this is good news ultimately for, of all things, dramas on Broadway. Since musicals are known to take well over a year to recoup (even seemingly successful ones), I hope producers see the "straight play" business model can work. Kevin Spacey's "Moon for the Misbegotten" also turned a profit--alas another small cast/unit set play. Oh well, as long as the nonprofits can step up to doing more epic plays (if, if...) we can leave the 2 and 4-handers to the Rialto.

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