Will Financial Woes Drop The Curtain On Broadway's Recovery?

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Broadway’s fortunes have grown dim in the past five years. Covid regulations made theatregoers abide by different attendance rules, the tourists who bought many of the pricey seats have not completely returned, and the rising cost of doing business on the Great White Way has forced many shows to close the curtains, regardless of how much the critics raved about them. With the Tony Awards around the corner, many producers and fans alike are asking how make-or-break this year will be for Broadway. Is this spring the most anxious in the history of American theatre?

Jed Bernstein is the former president of the Broadway League and is now a producing director at Theatre Aspen in Colorado. He joined 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to express cautious optimism for New York’s live theatre community.

“I think it’s a very important and critical time because the financials of the business are very tough right now,” Bernstein theorized with Berman and Riedel. “One of the great ironies is that tickets are expensive. People go to buy tickets and it’s a lot of money, but as expensive as they are, the shows are not grossing enough money to cover their costs. But the flip side is that, from the theatre- goer’s point of view, you have a lot to choose from [with] a lot of reasons to get away from the TV and go take in a show.”

Bernstein eventually shifted to the perspective of the ticket buyers to accentuate Broadway’s positives. “On the positive side, you’ve got a lot of range of subjects, historical, fanciful, based on famous movies and famous stories, you know, all sorts of things. In some sense, there’s never been a better time to see a Broadway show because there’s so much to choose from. There’s a lot going on. There’s movie stars- the entire cast of [HBO’s] ‘Succession’ among them; I mean, that series ended, but you still get to see them!”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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