The Playgoer: The B'way Export Business

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Monday, July 19, 2010

The B'way Export Business

Never mind how Broadway musicals do on Broadway.  According to Ellen Gamerman in this weekend's WSJ, that's not where the real action is.

The export of musical theater abroad has never been bigger. At least 13 major productions of American or British musicals are running in Japan. "Next to Normal" will hit Oslo in September. In Manila, an English-speaking Filipina in a honey wig sings "Omigod You Guys" at "Legally Blonde: The Musical" every night.  Foreign productions of "The Lion King" have grossed nearly $2.2 billion to date, Disney says, almost three times the show's Broadway haul....As producers discover that they can reap huge profits overseas—sometimes even turning a Broadway flop into a foreign hit—more American shows are enlisting foreign investors and granting international rights at premium prices. International presenters now may pay $200,000 in advance to stage a big U.S. production in a major foreign market,
Talk about Globalization...

Good line from the Disney folks, by the way, joking that Tarzan--a blip in New York, but a hit in Europe--only needed Broadway as an "out of town tryout."

It all actually reminds me of how American universities have also become increasingly dependent on foreign markets (both in foreign students and overseas campuses)--Americans are too broke now to afford their product!

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