By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Has it always been this way? A recent study showed that 68 percent of Broadway audiences in 2012-13 were women. This is a substantial increase, though not astronomical, from the 1980 figure of 58 percent. Perhaps what is more worrying is that of those men attending the theater nowadays 82 percent said they only go because their partner made them or someone else bought the ticket. The numbers matter because in the risky business of Broadway shows filling audience seats is crucial for the production to last even a few months. So perhaps it’s no surprise that creating a show with universal appeal across genders is considered “the holy grail.”
There doesn’t seem to be an obvious solution: Rock of Ages, The Book of Mormon, and Jersey Boys seem to achieve this hallowed status and continue on successfully. Yet many shows fall, despite explicitly male topics (Bronx Bombers, Magic/Bird were both about major sports teams or personalities). ROCKY, the musical adaptation of what is surely among the top ‘dick flicks’ of all time, recently shifted its marketing strategy from ‘Love Wins’ to ‘A Knockout!’ because it was falling short of the desired numbers of men in the audience.
This week’s BreakThru News episode brings together Broadway/Off-Broadway director and actor Austin Pendleton, and Tony-award-winning producer and director Andy Sandberg (with his latest effort currently running on Broadway, The Realistic Joneses) to discuss what’s really going on. Maybe the ultimate Broadway-bro-show is just around the corner.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
Script Supervisor – Matthew DeMello
Research – Tanya Silverman
Social Media – Molly Freeman
with guests – Andy Sandberg, Austin Pendleton