That’s actually not what the first few paragraphs of this article say though — it’s the big musicals that are doing blockbuster business, as we discussed a few days ago. The Stiles/Pullman Oleanna tanked at the box office (more like American Buffalo than Speed The Plow), showing that, well, the star thing can be hit or miss, I guess.
Here’s the really interesting quote, I think:
“What we’re finding is there’s no business-as-usual pattern or formula for Broadway shows anymore,” said Sue Frost, a lead producer of “Memphis,” the musical about the early years of rock ’n’ roll, which sold 64 percent of its seats last week.
That couldn’t be more exciting to me. Rupturing the way things have been done is a wonderful thing. It seems like a major opportunity. Then of course, there’s this:
But major new musicals without stars, like “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Fela!,” “Memphis” and “Ragtime” each showed soft spots, and the return engagement of a holiday show, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” performed weakly.
“Memphis” actually lost money compared with the previous week, and it had to resort to discounting tickets to sell as many as it did. “Fela!,” which earned a rave review from The New York Times as well as from other critics, is also discounting tickets. Both were among the shows selling tickets heavily at the TKTS discount booth through the holiday.
So what am I saying? Not sure. But someone is going to crack this Broadway confusion thing by breaking away from the model, and they’re going to clean up.