The lights aren’t so bright on broadway these days, where the economic downturn has resulted in more than a dozen closings and a significant dip in the box-office except for all but a handful of blockbusters.
This spring producers will roll out nearly 20 shows to fill the void, but no one is taking any creative risks. A quick scan of coming attractions reveals an unusual number of celebrities- Will Ferrell, Jeremy Irons, Jane Fonda, James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Graham and Angela Lansbury crowding the marquees.
But even that star wattage won’t likely guarantee sold-out houses, in this climate. Everyone in the theater seems to be holding their breath and wondering when the good times will return.
Between 2000 and 2008 Broadway enjoyed a sustained boom, witnessing the re-birth of the American musical comedy ( The Producers, Avenue Q) and innovative teen-oriented fare as well ( Spring Awakening, Wicked). Shows ran longer, and annual box-office receipts topped 1 billion- a windfall due in part to inflated ticket prices.
But while a couple might have been happy to plunk down $250.00 or more for orchestra seats at a hit show in previous years, purse strings are drawn tighter this year, as we all know. Seems like the perfect time to become more entrepreneurial, don’t you think?