For transparency… I am Senior Vice President and Executive Producer for Nederlander, I pioneered online ticketing, devising, conceptualizing, designing and implementing the worlds first online ticketing system
and I pioneered video streaming using the internet as a distribution platform, commencing with Julie Andrews performing “Le Jazz Hot
” from Victor/Victoria
The Problems with Broadway today
In my opinion, since the corporatization of Broadway in the 1990’s, much of Broadway has been reduced to a cookie cutter system of profiteering, to the depression of creativity.
Creative producers and their directors, designers and other creatives are forced to give up substantive share of creative control. Large scale creative production gives way to jukebox style piecemeal musicals. Investors frustratingly demand ability to shape creative.
Theatre Owners, Producers and Unions all distrust each each other, creating a soupy mix of corporate snatch and grabs, with the ticket buyers being the affected losers. While ticket prices skyrocket to absurdism, in part due to uncontrolled scalpers, in another part due to some scalpers secretly encouraged by some theatre owners and some producers, Broadway is quickly heading to price itself out of the market.
I cannot see a way forward to fix this issue in a timely manner. It will likely take decades to correct, not before a generation or two of audiences will shift their allegiance to film, video and other digitals formats, where they can pause, skip forward, or simply delete entertainment at a fraction of the cost of a pair of Broadway tickets. The social aspect of community gathering in the hallowed auditorium of a darkened theatre will be lost. The act of immediate entertainment gratification is heading to our industry like an uncontrolled freight train sliding downhill.
A renewed focus on future audiences, ie, kids of today, needs to occur, and quickly. We need an industry self mandate to get kids into theatres, increase creative spending and reduce ticket prices.
Indeed, wouldn’t it be great to have state and city sponsorships to eliminate ticket prices completely for a certain number of performances each month. Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate creativity, rather than profits.
Until then, Off-Broadway, Off Off Broadway and regional theatres have an opportunity to show corporate Broadway how it should be done.