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Posts Tagged ‘flashdance’

State_Highway_signbroadway-sign

Broadway. The ultimate goal. The big time. The main sign that your show has “made it.” The pinnacle of success.

Or is it?

Plenty of shows that you think could go to Broadway don’t go to Broadway. Or, at least not right away. For one reason or another, producers decide that Broadway is not the right fit, and rather than take their shows directly to Broadway, choose to take them on the road instead.

Taking a show on tour rather than going directly to Broadway, or avoiding Broadway altogether has a lot of potential upsides. It allows the creative teams to regularly observe their shows and make tweaks all along the way. It keeps the shows away from the scrutiny of New York City’s critics and bloggers. It gives the shows a chance to build up their name and brand. It is likely going to be cheaper to build a touring show and sustain weekly operating expenses on the road compared to Broadway, which mitigates some of the financial risk. And, while Broadway is an amazing brand, a show that is not ready for Broadway, or not the right fit for Broadway, but makes the decision to go for a Broadway run, runs the risk of being “branded” by the critics and bad word of mouth, which could ultimately lead, as it often has, to an early closing, and significant losses.

Several shows are out on the road now that could, but may or may not ultimately come to Broadway, or to Off-Broadway for that matter, such as FLASHDANCETHE WIZARD OF OZ and I LOVE LUCY – LIVE ON STAGE  to name a few, and below is a link to a recent article about another show that is keeping a safe distance from the Great White Way for the time-being. It seems “any way the wind blows” them other than to Broadway is perfectly fine for them…

“Jukebox musical ‘We Will Rock You’ is a champion”

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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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Looks like Illinois is following in “time step” with Louisiana. Similar to what already exists in Louisiana, Illinois will be inaugurating a tax credit starting in July for “pre-Broadway and long-run shows” that premiere there. Sounds like our friendly neighbor just up to the North may start getting a little less friendly …

‘In Toronto-vs-Chicago theatre war, tax credits are the new ammo’

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Broadway Across America Theatrical Conference 2012 Key West, FL

I just arrived back from Broadway Across America’s biennial theatre industry conference. This conference has been around for many years and is where all the top industry professionals involved in producing and presenting from around North America and other continents converge in a warm and inviting setting in chilly January to see what hot projects Broadway Across America has cooking, as well as other producers.

The BAA conference is always jam-packed with lively and informative panels with top people in the field. A major theme this year related to technology and how emerging programs and platforms are beginning to support the theatre industry’s foray into dynamic pricing, and also how mobile and tablet devices will most definitely be key in driving more sales and excitement around shows.

Also at the conference were entertaining glimpses of several productions that are currently in development or on the boards, and which you will likely see on Broadway, and potentially on the Road sometime in the next several years. These creative presentations included highlights from GHOST, HANDS ON A HARDBODY, FLASHDANCE, LEAP OF FAITH and ONCE, among others.

Despite the still shaky economy, the mood at the conference was bright and the outlook for the industry extremely positive. There was a great deal of excitement about the creative presentations and a warm sense of community amongst the attendees throughout the magical 3-day gathering. I was reminded once again of how fortunate I am to be in such a special field that is unlike any other.

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