Archive for March, 2013

big fish

It’s generally expected that most shows will play Broadway first, and THEN go out on a national tour. However, it seems lately that it’s becoming a bit more common that this is happening the other way around, with a show having a pre-Broadway tour first, followed by a Broadway run, which was a more typical scenario many decades ago.

FLASHDANCE, for example, currently on the road, has a target Broadway opening of August 2013 according to the Theatrical Index.

Why the change?

A pre-Broadway tour potentially makes sense. There is a good chance that a show with a well-known title will sell well and create buzz, and creative teams will also have more of a chance to work on the show, and get it more ready for Broadway. Also, a set is pretty much built and ready to be loaded into a Broadway house. And the city of Chicago is now especially a big draw to Broadway producers to get a show on its feet pre-Broadway because of the tax breaks being offered to pre-Broadway tryouts in the state of Illinois. A couple of posts where I bring up tax breaks for pre-Broadway runs in other states can be found here and here.

Possible issues, though, with a show starting out as a tour before coming to Broadway is that a touring show often has a different feel than a Broadway show. It’s an intangible thing, but there is a certain quality that is needed on Broadway for a show to succeed. NYC area theater-goers are not accustomed to seeing tours, so if a production seems a little cheaper or less seasoned, it will be evident.

Below is a link to a recent article in the Chicago Daily Herald that brings up both the pre-Broadway and post-Broadway tour scenarios. It also touches on several other topics that producers and presenters are constantly weighing, such as Equity vs. non-Equity tours, and tours with stars versus tours without stars.

‘Jekyll and Hyde’ helps bring back extensive pre-Broadway tours

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