Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The New York Times Broadway Review Isn't the Only One That Matters

There aren't many surprises in the recent NYU Stern School of Business study on Broadway Show Survival. Musicals run longer than plays. Definitely, just check out the sole little window at the Times Square TKTS booth for plays versus the many windows available for musicals. New musicals fare better than revivals. And of course, a Tony nomination and definitely a Tony win elongates the run period. 

Several times on this blog, I've referenced Patti LuPone's memoir and her comment that The New York Times theater review is the only one that matters. Well, lo and behold, this is not the case based on the NYU Stern study:
A positive critical review in the Daily News is associated with a longer expected run, but strikingly, given the review in the News, such reviews in the New York Times are associated with shorter expected runs. ...this suggests that tourists, who drive the business of especially successful shows, do not respond positively to the 'elitist' views of the Times’ reviewers...
So what does this mean? The New York Times theater reviews probably matter to the theater community, NYT readers and Off Broadway theatergoers only. However, when it comes to Broadway survival and box office sales, the Daily News matters more.

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