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Posts Tagged ‘once’

With the 2012 Tony Awards behind us, it is now much clearer which shows will have a tour in the 2013-14 season. Even before it’s numerous Tony wins, ONCE The Musical announced it would be going out on The Road.

I believe ONCE, though, could potentially face some challenges on The Road. The show is based on a film, but it was a small indie film, and because the title lacks the kind of name recognition that a more widely-released movie does, the show is probably going to need some sort of “sellable” name in the cast to give it a bit more of a boost in attracting single ticket buyers. ONCE will be on subscription, but being on subscription alone is no longer a guarantee that an engagement will be profitable. I believe selling single tickets will more than likely be necessary for the engagement to go into decent overage in larger theaters, more or less so depending on how reachable break-even is, what the labor costs are, the rate of the weekly guarantee, and just overall how shrewdly and economically the touring production is built.

And that is what is possibly going to be the biggest challenge – how to successfully build an intimate show for The Road that will sometimes be presented in very large houses. Yes, ONCE is now on Broadway, but the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater only has a capacity of just a little over 1,000, which practically feels like a black box in comparison to some of the gigantic houses on The Road such as in Atlanta, St Louis, Costa Mesa, Portland and Toronto. That said, it is the responsibility of experienced producers to know The Road, and to know how to build all sorts of shows to work in the many different kinds of houses throughout North America. So my concerns about the intimate and delicate ONCE fitting well in large houses could very well end up being completely quashed, which is what I’m certainly hoping for! After all, the show did make an incredibly successful transfer from New York Theatre Workshop to Broadway when many doubted that the scale of the story and overall show itself would translate in a Broadway house. Other shows making Off-Broadway to Broadway transfers have not always had such good luck.

Here is a recent article that touches a bit on ONCE and some concerns about it playing in a larger space, suggesting if the show can be persuaded to do a sit-down at a smaller theater, that this would be the ideal scenario.

I tend to agree, but I’ve been wrong before…more than once.

TORONTO STAR

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On May 1 at 8:30AM EST the 2012 Tony Award nominees were announced. There are a number of exciting races, but with regard to The Road and the 2013-2014 touring season, it will be interesting to see if the charming and romantic ONCE, beloved by many, can beat Disney’s popular, large-scale NEWSIES. Will Road presenters “vote with their heart” for ONCE, as many did back in 2004 with the modest AVENUE Q, which beat out the mammoth WICKED for Best Musical? NEWSIES doesn’t need the Tony accolade as much with the well-established Disney brand behind it. If the lesser-known ONCE does not win for Best Musical, might that affect presenter confidence in the show’s ability to attract subs and singles, who may not be acquainted with the title?

And here are the nominees …

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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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