by Abigail Katz
As Dr. Cashmere pointed out in his post, Michael Riedel (among others) is predicting dark times for Broadway "B'way Feels Money Slump." This gloomy outlook is supported by the slew of "postponements" and cancellations that have occurred in the last few weeks- Brigadoon, For Colored Girls, and the latest victim, according to Riedel, Godspell. The worst aspect of all of this is that people who thought they were going to have good-paying Broadway gigs suddenly find themselves out of work. Hopefully they'll find other gigs, but what a blow. But to be an annoying cock-eyed optimist (no I STILL haven't coughed up the money to see South Pacific, thanks for asking) could there be a positive side to all of this? Is it in the realm of possibility that creative solutions may lead to quality productions that don't require a capitalization of $15-20 million? Will producers and investors opt for more non-musical plays, which have dwindled on Broadway in recent years due to blockbuster musical hits? Will producers and investors just get more picky about what they produce? (of course that could be a good thing or a bad thing.)
These questions may be meaningless, as even the producers of Godspell, a known and favorite work by Stephen Schwartz, who has the current number one show on Broadway, fell short of raising the mere $4.5 million needed to mount the production (unless they've magically come up with $1 million over the weekend.) And there will always be big-budget musicals, like the upcoming $18 million Billy Elliot, which I will freely admit I would like to see. But what will Broadway look like as we make our way through challenging economic times? One thing is for certain, the ticket prices aren't going to get any lower. Lets hope producers are brave enough to weather this storm and don't resort to safe and boring choices.
A cock-eyed optimist indeed?