As most people know, Broadway has been traditionally home to deep, meaningful and artistic plays and musicals as well as comedic and albeit cheesy works. For years and years, Broadway has held a dignified place in the heart of a bigger artistic community because of its universal respect among actors/ actresses and the theatre going community.
Looking at the upcoming plans for NYC’s token theatrical population, this seems to be the end of an era. Many of the upcoming productions would (truly and honestly) make a devoted Broadway fan, well… cringe. The upcoming season include intensely commercialized shows and developing productions seem even worse. According to Playbill.com, Broadway’s 2018 season will include a “Spongebob Squarepants” musical, “Escape to Margaritaville” (a Jimmy Buffet Musical), “Mean Girls” (based off of the Tina Fey film of the same title), “Frozen” (based off of the Disney animated film of the same name), “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2”, and “King Kong”. What seems even more shocking however are the Broadway show still in development. These include “The Cher Show”, based on (you guessed it) the career of singer Cher, “Beetlejuice” (based on the film of the same name), and even “The Devil Wears Prada” (the Anne Hathaway film).So you know what? I could sit here and list every newly developed show based on something commercial and likely shallow, but why waste your time. Read the “In The Works” section of this Playbill.com article and discover the lack of originality for yourselves. Magic Mike? Really?
The fact that many of these productions are based off of popular culture is not the problem necessarily. There have been purely wonderful Broadway adaptations of movies or celebrities’ lives. The problem is that because of the well-expected immense traction from these shows, that this could possibly eliminate the artistry and originality of the New York theatre experience (in addition to some truly creative shows), and Broadway could fizzle out to simply “94% on Rotten Tomatoes: NOW ON STAGE!” By weeding out Broadway’s specialties, it loses it’s authenticity. Potentially turning “The Great White Way” into something as commercial as time square is a bit nerve racking.
What do you think: is a commercialized Broadway on the Horizon? Or will it retain it’s impressive artistic stature?