Has Broadway Gone Insane?

normanverticalA month ago, arts-related media were bemoaning the decline of Broadway: a dozen or so shows had closed within a few weeks. This week’s news (which, strangely, nobody is yet writing about much) should have people worried in the other direction: too much product. Thirteen plays, debuts or revivals, are opening in March and April. That number swells to fifteen if the trilogy “The Norman Conquests,” starring Stephen Mangan (pictured), is counted as three entities, and sixteen if “Desire Under The Elms,” now in Chicago, transfers to New York. The theatregoer in me is thrilled to have such a banquet to look forward to. The businessman in me thinks that producers have gone a little nutty. There is absolutely no way that most of these plays are going to re-coup: the audience simply isn’t there. Of course, it would be much harder to eke out a profit with a new musical. (I’m sure that’s what the producers are telling themselves: at least our show “only” cost $3 million rather than $10 million.) The lack of new March/April musicals (five: two new, three revivals) could work to their advantage. Don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to “9 to 5” more eagerly than to “Waiting for Godot.”

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