With more than $1.27 billion in gross revenue for the 2013-2014 season, Broadway is not only great entertainment, but big business. Sometimes what happens behind the stage is as interesting and fun as what happens on it.
According to the Broadway League, the numbers are looking good for this past season (May 27, 2013 – May 25, 2014). Grosses are up 11.4%, attendance is up 5.6%, and playing weeks are up 4.6%. The Broadway League is a national trade association for the Broadway industry, with 700 plus members representing theater owners and operators, producers, presenters and general managers.
Arguably the most influential group on Broadway are the theater owners. Of the 40 Broadway theaters, 35 are commercial houses and the remaining five are owned by not-for-profit organizations. Of the commercial houses, the Shubert Organization owns and operates 17, the Jujamycn organization owns five and the Nederlander organization owns nine — that’s 88.6 percent of the commercial houses owned by three entities.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Broadway and the theater, the following will get you going. Some of these sites are mainstream, some are more personal and idiosyncratic – but all are interesting and will peel back the curtain at least a bit.
Theatermania is a good source for theater news and reviews as well as discount tickets for Broadway shows and theater across the country.
Broadway.com is a comprehensive source for tickets and information on all the Broadway shows, but it also features a section on “Broadway Buzz,” the latest Broadway news and popular features. If you’re really into it, you can also sign up for their newsletter.
If you’re looking for a wide selection of discount tickets online, then Broadway Box is a good place to start your search. In addition to discount tickets, you’ll find “The Daily Scoop” with interviews, features and news that will make you feel like you’re part of the scene, sorta.
It covers a lot more than Broadway, but if you’ve ever wondered what actors go through in order to get those juicy roles, Backstage will give you an interesting glimpse in how the process starts. Backstage.com offers a comprehensive listing of casting calls and auditions for actors, dancers, singers and other theater professionals. It’s where those looking to cast and those looking to be cast come together. Take a look and be glad you’re on the other side of curtain.
The Smoking Gun
If you really want to pull back the curtain, try The Smoking Gun. It covers the entire entertainment industry (as well as others) but the backstage section will give you a glimpse of what does on that you’re not likely to see elsewhere. Check out the famous and infamous backstage riders that many entertainers include in their contracts- you may find it more entertaining than what they do on stage.
The Broadway Blog
For an insider’s guide to theater and live performance in New York City (Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway) try the Broadway Blog. You’ll find a personal spin on theater news, reviews, backstage gossip and intimate conversations with the stars and creators of a variety of plays and musicals.
Broadway World is aptly named — it gives you everything from the business side of things to news and feature stories as well as a healthy dose of interviews, gossip and reviews. If you’d rather watch than read, the site will lead you to a wide variety of entertaining videos. Ever see Randy Rainbow? Enough said.
Nothing is more ubiquitous on Broadway than Playbill and the wide-ranging Playbill web site reflects that this publication has been around a long time. In addition to news and views, there’s a section for “Celebrity Buzz” in which you’ll find longer pieces on some of Broadway’s most interesting actors.
Stage Money presents news about the business of the professional theater. Posts are occasional, as news and the author’s research warrants.