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Tickets Sales Before A Show Closes 
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Broadway Legend
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Post Tickets Sales Before A Show Closes
I had this question when I was walking through New York City but never had a chance to ask anyone. Does anyone know how low tickets sales/attendance has to be for a show to be closed? What determines a show to close if it's not because of ticket sales/attendance?

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Mon May 31, 2010 7:21 pm
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Fresh Face
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There are a lot of factors and the reasons can be different for every show.

Some shows are designed as limited runs to begin with, usually because of cast commitments or the show being under the auspices of a non-profit theater. Or they will make the decision to close at the end of tourist season if their advance ticket sales are not great.

But basically it depends on the running cost of the particular show (for example, it costs a lot more to run a huge show like Billy Elliot than it does to run a tiny show like Next to Normal), how far the show is from recouping (making back their initial investment), and if the theater is eager to have the show out (since they make a cut over a certain amount)

Basically if the show is bringing in less money every week than it costs to operate it, that is when the decision is made to close down.


Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:55 am
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Tony Winner
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In one of my theatre classes we were talking about this and our prof said the main reason lots of shows close is because they need to sell 75% of the tickets each night or they are put on the chopping block! I'm not sure just relaying info.

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Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:16 pm
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Post Re: Tickets Sales Before A Show Closes
Question: Do you mean before closing down the entire show or an individual performence or both?

For the first I would say there is a bottom line but it also depends on weather or not the investor thinks it would have a chance to be a good investment in the long run, like if the profit off a promissing show is hampered by the current low economy and is expected to do profit as soons as that changed.

And for the later I guess its a bottom line where its not fun for the audience nor the any one else involved nor economical to do the show but I have no clue where that is but in my last visit to swedish cats they barely managed to fill the orhestra (was like maybe 50 to 60 percent full?) and they still runned it. So I guess a show has to be very empty to not be performed that night.

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Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:46 am
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Post Re:
jetblack_diva wrote:
In one of my theatre classes we were talking about this and our prof said the main reason lots of shows close is because they need to sell 75% of the tickets each night or they are put on the chopping block! I'm not sure just relaying info.


Yikes, I wonder what percentage of shows on the chopping block get cut?

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Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:24 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: Tickets Sales Before A Show Closes
to my knowlege it varies show for show... on the west end a show generally cut for 1 of three reasons

1) it was always meant to be on a limited run... this can be because the actors but is normally due to the fact that the venue has a new play waiting to go on it's stage... and on both broadway an the west end this is a reason that seldomly affects musicals but more plays as musicals genrally get long runs and if they are good they will just move to a new stage.

2) poor reception... if a show is not taken well by fans or the press the show will be cut and often will close earlier than planned... a good example was the west end in 2000 if i recall much every new show that opened that year closed rather quickly after generally due to the fact that no one liked them ( i may be wrong on the year by 1/2)

3) the shows making a loss... as stated shows need an average audience of 75% to make money and genrally it doesn't matter to much on the scale of the production as the main cost is cast and crew and the venue fees therefore even though the lion king may have a huge cast and crew and high costing venue they know it will be their longer as the show is popular before it even gets to production so they have longer to make money (e.g what a small show may make as profit in a 1 year run a large show may take 2 years to do but both depend on 75%) small shows often become large shows as well... wicked's cast and crew have grown a lot on both the west end and broadway since it opened as it is highley 'popular'... but their will alwasy be more risk with the big shows as they need to last longer to start making money.

Hope that helps

also on the night a show genrally only closes if their is less than 35% percent of the seats filled but that call is always the stage manager or Deputy stage manager (whoever is in charge of that nights show) for a longstanding run its somewhere between 70-80%


Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:23 am
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