Buffalo beats Broadway
blog by S.J. Velasquez • December 25, 2011 @ 10:00am
While many theater junkies are sending their regards to Broadway, they might want to consider shuffling off to Buffalo.
In a Friday New York Times piece, Buffalo is identified as the place to be for Broadway stage productions. When it comes to making money on shows, Shea’s packs the house even when that same show is faltering in Manhattan.
For example, the weeklong run of “The Addams Family” at Shea’s brought in $995,000 in a week—that’s more than most shows make on Broadway. Writer Patrick Healy explains:
“Buffalo has emerged as a major bellwether in commercial theater, which while centered on Broadway relies heavily on tours, which now gross more than $1 billion a year, or at least as much as Broadway itself.”
“... Shea’s in Buffalo has become important because of its reliable subscribers — 13,100 for each of its six one-week Broadway tours this year. An impressive 85 percent renew annually; the subscriber base insures that 55 percent of seats are bought even before tickets go on general sale.”
Shea’s president Anthony Conte said that the theater’s audience tends to be more conservative, explaining his decision to dodge “Spring Awakening,” and instead vote for “Mary Poppins” when casting Tony Awards votes. “Spring Awakening” went on to win the award. Conte said he admired “Spring Awakening,” but he wanted his vote to represent Buffalo, a city which might not be so fond of nudity or profanity.
But that won’t be stopping Conte from booking “The Book of Mormon.”
“As long as we make sure subscribers know it’s irreverent, we’ve done our job and subscribers will continue to trust our taste,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Flickr / Aneurysm9