Archive for October, 2011

Two posts ago I discussed how Western-style shows have been trying their luck in the East. I specfically brought up MAMMA MIA, which is currently running in China and has been translated into Mandarin. Below is a link to the latest feature covering this event and includes differing opinions about whether translating this global mega-hit into the local vernacular was the right move …


And here’s another recent article that explains a bit more about how the Chinese hope to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern styles, and ultimately produce original musicals of their own to export across the world …


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Little by little, Presenters are beginning to adopt “dynamic pricing.” Dynamic pricing allows ticket prices to be fluid based on supply and demand. These days, most theaters still have set ticket prices. If you hypothetically buy an orchestra ticket today for MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET in Pittsburgh, and your friend goes up to the box office during the engagement and buys the seat next to yours the day after the show receives some great press that causes increased demand, the price she pays for her ticket will still be the same as what you paid. In the dynamic pricing scenario, if the great press causes an increase in good word of mouth and a hot demand for tickets, your friend would have to pay more for that same ticket.

And you would have gotten a bargain.

The main challenge with regard to dynamic pricing, though, as I understand it, is getting a handle on the Gross Potential. With fixed ticket prices, you can easily calculate a GP, but with dynamic pricing, since prices could go up or down, and you don’t know if sales will be slack or robust, it seems impossible to accurately determine the maximum gross that can be achieved on an engagement.

Here is a Los Angeles Times article from a few months ago that talks about dynamic pricing and how presenters are considering it more and more to encourage people to buy tickets early, and as a potential tool to build their subscription bases.

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This past summer a Mandarin version of MAMMA MIA opened in Beijing. More and more over the past several years theatre producers have been looking to China as a place to present musicals.  In this particular case, this was the first time a Western-style musical was translated into Mandarin, as opposed to being performed in English. Clearly, the actual language would be understood by the locals, but did the story and style translate to this vastly different culture?

Here is an article from TIME that discusses the MAMMA MIA Beijing engagement. I also talked a bit about the challenges of American and Western-style musicals in general translating in other countries, both literally and culturally, in my post entitled “Lost In Translation” back on May 28, 2009.

Here is a news clip that covers the Mandarin version of MAMMA MIA. And here is a review of the show.

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