Monday, January 04, 2010

A premature closing on Broadway

In the Washington Post, Peter Marks laments the demise of Ragtime.
Weekly running costs of $550,000; $127 a pop for premium tickets.
And Bobo read somewhere that the weekly running costs for A Steady Rain — Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig in a two-chairs-and-a-platform, talking-heads play with no special effects — were $350,000. 
The result? Producers have to hit it big — really big — to cover their costs. Huge extravaganzas that are "destination events" make it big on Broadway: Cats, Phantom, Lion King, Miss Saigon, Wicked, etc.  And are toured all over the country.  And are the predominant form of theater that gets exported to fly-over towns like Spokane. Which reinforces casual theatergoers' impression in towns like Louisville, Omaha and the 'Kan that theater equals eye-popping spectaculars and nothing more. Which is a losing proposition for live performance. Which means quieter shows like Spring Awakening and next to normal and Ragtime don't tour as much.
The rich get richer, and the poor get the impression that theater has nothing to offer them, that it's only for an effete elite.
That's a long way from verbal scene-painting on the bare boards of the Globe circa 1600. Give me good actors anytime, with appeals to the imagination in simple staging.

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At January 04, 2010 11:24 AM , Anonymous Tandy said...

What's the weekly running cost for an average show at Interplayers or Civic or Summer Theatre, Bobo?

At January 06, 2010 3:51 PM , Anonymous Maria C. said...

Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig on one stage? Be still, my heart.

At June 02, 2010 3:21 AM , Blogger Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Ragtime, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.


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