Broadway Grosses w/e 2/4/2018: The Patriots aren’t the only ones who lost last week

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending February 4, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Why you tune into the Olympics, and what that has to do with Broadway.

The Winter (Olympics) are coming.

In just a few short months, we’ll be watching Olympians from all across the globe strut their stuff on skis and skates (and also in that crazy curling sport that I still don’t quite understand).

So why do we watch the Olympics?

Because it’s the absolute best athletes in the world, doing what they do, certainly better than us, and better than 99.99% of the population as well.

They jump higher, skate faster, and have us constantly wondering, “How the @#$% does anyone DO that?”

And I’d bet, that if you think back to some of your greatest memories of seeing shows, you’d say the same thing about some of the performances you saw.

Great shows are filled with great performances of actors doing things that haven’t been done before . . .singing higher, dancing faster.  And these incredible displays of talent make us want to jump to our feet and hold up a sign that says, “10!”

Broadway is the Theatrical Olympics.  We just ask our athlete-actors to perform their routines 8x a week . . . for years.

What this means when we create shows, is that we have to look for opportunities for our actors to showcase their Olympic sized skills.  Because that’s what audiences come to see.  Shows can’t consist of parts that actors coast their way through.  No way.  If they’re not doing back-flips, then forget it, the audience will change the channel to something else that amazes them.

Great, jaw-dropping performances, are as much a part of a great production as a great set and a great score.

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Why I go to golf tournaments, which has nothing to do with golf.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday, I got up at about 6, grabbed a subway to the LIRR to a shuttle bus to the Glen Oaks Golf Club on Long Island to watch the final day of a PGA playoff event.

Now sure, I’m a golfer, a golf fan, and have even written about golf tournaments like this one before.

But that’s not why I go to golf tournaments.

See, the cool thing about a golf tournament is that if you plan your day right, at any time you can be standing just a few feet away from the greatest players in the world, for the same general admission price that everyone pays.  There is no courtside seating at a golf tournament.  There are some “super boxes,” but those aren’t close to the action.  Every man, woman or child can be up against the ropes if they think about where and when they want to be next to their favorite player.

And that’s why I go to golf tournaments.

Because one moment, I could be steps away from the #1 player in the world. And the next moment I can be watching a rookie who I think may BE the #1 player in the world someday.

Why is this important?

Sure, I learn about the game by watching their swing, by hearing them chat with their caddy about strategy and seeing what equipment they are using close up.

But the most important thing I learn . . . is that they are human.

Seeing them up close gives me a chance to see them screw up.  To hear them get frustrated.  To see them spit!  These greatest players on the planet aren’t walking on air . . . they put one foot in front of the other just like everyone else.  They just chose what they wanted to do and worked at it.  Hard.

And that’s inspiring.  Because if these human beings can do it. Then you and I can too.

That’s why I encourage you to get yourself around the “best players on the planet” in your theatrical field . . . whether that’s writers, directors, actors, or whomever.  Learn by watching them, listening to them . . . and also learn that they are just people that put one foot in front of the other, but walked ran sprinted like they were in a Tough Mudder race towards their goal, refusing to let anyone get in their way.

And what we do is easier than what athletes do!  You don’t get an advantage in writing if you’re 6’2″ and look like you’ve been cut from a slab of marble.  It doesn’t matter!

If you learn anything from the superstars in any industry, realize that they are human beings.   And you are a human being.

Which means you can do everything they can . . . and maybe even more.

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Why the Super Bowl reminded me of my first Acting Class.

I watched ‘da Bowl on Sunday like the other 100 million people around the world (actually half-watched, since I had my laptop open while I was talking on the phone . . . so I guess you could say I ‘tched the Super Bowl).  As I ‘tched and used it as an excuse to eat Buffalo Wings, I couldn’t help but think how much each “play” in the game was like a great scene in a great, well, play.

Like most acting students, I was taught the basic fundamentals of acting/writing in one of my first classes on the subject with a simple improvisational exercise.

It went something like this.

  • Two characters stand on a stage.
  • One character wants something.
  • The other character doesn’t want the first character to get what they want.

Poof.  Instant drama.  No matter what that “want” is, whether it’s to get the other person to go out on a date or to give them $500 dollars . . . or to score a touchdown.

See where I’m headed?

Sporting events like football, where there are two teams, are the simplest form of classic dramatic structure there is.  I want to score.  You don’t want me to score.  We clash.  Eventually, one of us will lose.

And to make it even more thrilling of an event?  There’s a ticking clock.

Sporting events and theater seem so diametrically opposed (maybe that’s because there is such little crossover between the fans), but when you take away the shoulder pads and you take away the Capezio tap shoes, they are much more similar than you think.

So if you’re looking to make your show thrilling, take a page out of a football playbook . . . and make your show a sport.

 

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The big mistake the promoters of the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight made that you shouldn’t.

I fell for the hype.

You all know about my rule of three.

If three people go out of their way to tell me about something, then I listen.  That rule applies to recommended books, people to talk to, or even notes about my shows.

And last week, three separate people said, “Are you watching the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight?”

As primal as it sounds, I always liked a good boxing match.  I came of age in the 80s, when Mike Tyson was dominating the sport (before his prison stint, and before he started on his diet of ears), and even though I’ve never been in an actual fight myself, I liked watching those big guys go at it.

So, when three people asked me about watching Mayweather/Pacquiao, I plunked down the $99.99 pay-per-view fee, made some popcorn, and sat back to be entertained by two dudes in shiny shorts punching the crap out of each other.

And I wasn’t the only one to fall for the hype.

The promoters went crazy with this match up, selling it as a fight ten years in the making, and saying it was the event that would save the sport.  And all that promo worked.

The number of pay-per-view buys hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s predicted to set a new revenue record. And the revenue for the actual seats in the arena also broke a record.  The box office take was so much that it was expected that Mayweather alone was going to make $200 million!  $200 mill!!!

And, as you’ve probably heard, the fight was a dud.

Like a boring, “why-the-heck-am-I-watching-this-instead-of-Shark-Tank?” dud.

And then an angry, “wait-I-paid-$100-for-this???” dud.

And I wasn’t the only one peeved.  There has already been at least one lawsuit from guys like me saying that the reason the fight was a dud was because Paquiao had a shoulder injury that wasn’t revealed, etc., etc.  The lawsuits are BS of course, but they’ll cost the boxers and the promoters some legal fees and frustration for sure.

But more importantly . . . the next time the promoters have a big fight that they want me and so many others to tune in to?  Well, don’t expect record numbers for that one.

And did this fight save the sport?

It actually may have done more damage to the sport than anything.

Sure, maybe it did reawaken the interest of some of us occasional boxing fans, but now, well, that interest is going waaaaay dormant again.  And it would take Tyson fighting a resurrected Joe Louis to get me to pay $100 for one fight ever again.

The promoters saw short term gain in the build up for this event, when they didn’t know what the actual outcome would be.  And there’s a fine line between making sure you make every dollar you can, and over hyping an event until it backfires in your face.

If you’ve got a show that you’re opening that has big potential, sometimes it’s best to lay back, rather than over press it.  Unlike boxing, we’ve got the benefit of having more than a one-night run, so I’m a fan of letting my audience hype it on their own once they’ve seen it, rather than proclaiming, “This is the event of the season/decade/Broadway history!”

Because sure, super amounts of hype may drop more bucks into your first week or so of previews, but if you don’t deliver, your word of mouth will be harsher than ever, thanks to the audience’s high expectations.

And you may find yourself knocked out in round three instead of going the distance.

And next time you produce a show?  Well, you’ll have to work even harder to get people in the door in the first place.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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