A few months back there was a rumor circulating around Broadway of how the upcoming Broadway Revival of The Music Man was going to go to The Winter Garden Theater. It’s not uncommon for there to be rumors about where an upcoming show might go. For example, there are some theaters that are more known to housing stage plays. While other theaters are more known to house a musical. Based on that along with theater availability, it can be somewhat predictable to assume were an upcoming show might be staged. And then came the upcoming revival of The Music Man.
This Fall The Music Man will be returning to Broadway starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. To say the least, it’s a highly anticipated production. When I first heard talk of The Music Man going to the Winter Garden Theater, I didn’t think much of it. Simply because a show is already playing there and doing fairly well. That show is Beetlejuice: The Musical.
When Beetlejuice began performances back in Spring of 2019, the show was getting by in its weekly grosses. A few months went by, and then came Summer. During the months of last Summer, the show’s box office and attendance records started to instantly pick up. The show began doing much better financially compared to when it first had started. Which makes sense. A show on occasion just needs some time to be recognized. And Beetlejuice is a show which went through that journey of needing some time to find its audience.
Last week it was announced that Beetlejuice had broken box office records at the Winter Garden Theater now for the third time. Making almost 1.5 Million in sales in one week alone. As well as filling the theater to well over capacity at 102%. When the show first began it financially had a few off weeks (as most new shows will have). But in time, the show’s financial numbers have greatly improved month by month since opening.
The question now begs to be asked. Why would a show on Broadway that is making money week after week close? That’s where the upcoming revival of The Music Man comes in. When I first heard that the upcoming revival of The Music Man was going to go to the Winter Garden Theater I thought,“Okay. Well, that’ll never happen because Beetlejuice is there. And the show is doing quite well”. I was wrong.
More or less, Beetlejuice is basically being kicked out of its theater. Being kicked out not because it’s not making money, but because the theater owners are aware that with the production of The Music Man they stand to make triple what with that show than what they would make if they stayed with Beetlejuice. Apparently, there is a clause for every Broadway Show in their contract with the owners of a theater. There is a certain amount of money that the show is supposed to take in every week, and if the show fails to make that amount of money the theater owners can close the show. From my understanding this clause is one that is rarely used because most shows need time to find an audience. And theater owners are aware of that, so that’s why this clause is one that is rarely enforced.
Unfortunately for Beetlejuice, there was a week months ago where the show didn’t make the amount of money that it is required to in its contract with the theater. Normally, this would be fine. Most shows at some point will have an off week financially.
When theater owners of the Winter Garden wanted to house the upcoming revival of The Music Man at their theater, a clause that normally theater owners would not enforce was enforced. And because of that week where Beetlejuice didn’t make the required amount of money for the theater, the theater technically is allowed to close the show because of the theater’s contract with the production.
Because the theater owners are aware of how high profile this revival of The Music Man is going to be, they are fully aware of how much more money they would be making with that show vs. Beetlejuice. Basically the only reason Beetlejuice is closing is because The Music Man will be more profitable and make more money.
At the end of the day, it’s just really sad to see a show close that is doing well. I saw Beetlejuice last Summer, and it was a complete blast. It’s funny. It has an amazing cast filled with incredible talent. The set is something out of this world. The show is just an all around good time.
Think of all the work that goes into making a show actually happen. The time and dedication of getting everything just right. All the rehearsals and practices. All the lines written and learned. All the songs written and sung. The time that goes into putting a show’s set together. All the costumes that are made from scratch. And lastly, having a cast and crew like the one from Beetlejuice where everyone involved is genuinely happy to be apart of it.
It’s simply not fair. A lot of times when we see a show on Broadway, we don’t think of the financial aspect. We think of the set, the costumes, the songs, the performers. It’s easy to forget that it is a business.
As far as I’m aware Beetlejuice is scheduled to close on June 6, 2020. When news came out about Beetlejuice closing, the production put out a video announcing that they were basically being evicted. This closing announcement video is a highly unusual way for a Broadway Show to announce the closing of their show. Usually, when a show is set to end what happens is that there is a press release that is put out and that’s that. A press release comes out announcing a show will be ending its run, and then the show quietly closes. This video announcement for Beetlejuice closing didn’t feel like a good-bye to audiences, but more like a “We Just Need Some Time To Find A New Theater Kind Of Announcement”.
I really do feel that there is a big chance Beetlejuice will transfer to another theater after it closes at the Winter Garden. Based on the facts that there is an audience for this show, along with the production making money every week now. It just seems far fetched that the show will actually end for good in June when it leaves the Winter Garden. There’s a lot of support around for Beetlejuice to stay, and I for one hope it does.
Now that you’ve read my thoughts on the closing of the new Broadway Musical Beetlejuice, I’d love to hear yours!
-How do you feel about the closing of Beetlejuice?
-Have you seen Beetlejuice on Broadway? If so, how’d you like it?