This piece from The [F]law investigates the corporate for-profit structure of Broadway. Over decades of corporatization of Times Square and Broadway, a few companies have established a monopoly on Broadway theaters. As a result, ticket prices have soared, producers are encouraged to be risk-averse, innovative art has been regularly sidelined, and profits have increased steadily. With those profits –– which primarily come from tickets sold to an overwhelmingly liberal audience –––theater owners have contributed to conservative Republican campaigns and faced nearly no consequences and very little backlash.
Read Marissa C. López‘s enlightening article: “The Shortcomings of Broadway’s Corporate Structure.”
But, when the Broadway curtain is pulled back, the reality is anything but a liberal utopia.
Given that people live everywhere in New York City, a 500-foot boundary was effectively a death sentence for such businesses.
Instead, the Nederlanders became increasingly duplicitous and covert in their contributions.
The scarcity and live nature of theater also makes it a uniquely expensive art form, even when compared to the budget-busting film industry today.
The role of theater owners as landlords creates incentives for theater owners and producers to be highly risk-averse.
Essentially, between the lack of cost-setting and the theaters’ unilateral control over prices, the Broadway theater owners are in complete control of their profit margins, and individual shows’ producers are happy to oblige as they seek to recoup their investors’ funds.
The benefits of a theater that centers the art rather than the bottom line increases regional theaters’ connection to their local communities.