The digital revolution may be making things tough for the recording industry, and the film and TV business — but it’s a big reason Broadway is as popular as it is today, according to “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller.
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On the latest episode of Stagecraft, recorded live from Variety‘s Power of Broadway event, Seller said he sees a lot of upside for the theater industry in today’s fast-changing digital media environment.
“Here’s what the digital revolution did: It had 150 million to 200 million streams for ‘Be More Chill,‘ and that show’s now a hit and it’s going to Broadway,” he said. “What the digital revolution did for ‘Hamilton’ is it saw an album come out three months after we opened and we’ve now had 2 billion streams. That was the way in which ‘Hamilton’ was able to seep into the American culture in such a profoundly positive way, faster than any show heretofore had.”
Seller (“Rent,” “Avenue Q”) spoke at the event in a keynote conversation with Robert E. Wankel, the president of the Shubert Organization, Broadway’s biggest landlord with almost half of the Street’s theaters in its portfolio. With only 41 theaters and a massive amount of new work angling to come in, Broadway is in the midst of a real estate logjam — but Wankel is wary of solving the problem by adding more venues.
“I wouldn’t go crazy building too many theaters,” he said, noting that industry might risk thinning out audiences across too many shows. He added, “We’ve been trying to build a new theater now for 15 years. We sort of said it was over, but you never know, it could come back.”
Also on this episode of Stagecraft, Robert Fried of WithumSmith + Brown gives listeners a glimpse at the Broadway ledgers.
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on iTunes, Stitcher, or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.