Monday, January 12, 2009

Broadway in Recession

Well it's finally started to happen. Broadway is feeling the strain of the economic crisis. With 13 shows closing or about to close, things aren't looking too swell for those high priced tickets and putting audiences in the seats. This is a far cry from the hopes three months ago that the performing arts will be the outlet for people who want to escape the troubles of dealing with the recession. The crisis has hit us all and it's hitting hard.

Broadway's economics are very different from most other theatres in this country. First and foremost all production companies on Broadway save one are for-profit ventures. Most regional theatres across the country are not-for-profits and rely on donors rather than investors to support their art. Perhaps this is the opportune moment for a company like Roundabout Theatre to increase its influence or encourage other not-for-profits to step into the spotlight. Perhaps this will encourage regional theatres to develop work and finance productions on Broadway. We could be looking at a whole new output from the great white way - theatre that is driven by the art consumer rather than the investor.

Or perhaps too the pricey tickets will become a thing of the past and we will be seeing a shift to smaller productions in smaller and smaller venues. Chicago's theatre scene would be well attuned to this type of shift. Because of the diversity of companies and their sizes, you have plenty of options to choose from both in production type and price.

Or maybe there is a whole new answer for the theatre out there that we aren't even aware of.

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