Theatre For A New Age
Almost in spite of its detractors, Wicked
continues to grow as a theatrical phenom. And while I personally believe this cultural touchstone speaks to audiences of all ages, it's clear that it skews toward a decidedly younger audience -- one that may never have previously plunked down dinero for any live theatre.
According to Eggar: "Traditionally, 60% of the audience for lavish musicals have been over the age of 35. For Wicked, 50% are under 35, and they are coming back to see it again and again." Eggar says that success has come largely on the heels of renewed efforts by the West End to attract a younger home-grown audience due to the declining number of American tourists since 9/11.
Meanwhile, ticket sales for the four stateside productions of Wicked
have continued to boom, taking in a whopping $5,675,101 during the week ending April 1 -- a figure that would be quite respectable for most films after their initial opening. The relatively new Los Angeles sitdown production
led the pack with a gross of $1,762,618, followed by Broadway
at $1,392,168, the touring production
in Houston (where it broke box office records) at $1,266,707 and then the Chicago sitdown
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If shows like Wicked
can inspire non-theatregoers to check out the stage, the development is very positive for the continued vitality of the artform. And if those same individuals graduate to other theatrical fare like Spring Awakening
, I think they'll discover that the magic isn't some fluke, but something more tangible that can continue to excite the senses and inspire. In the end, that's great news for theatre.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Labels: Box Office, Broadway, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Musical, Spring Awakening, Touring Production, Wicked