Is theatre dying? This is a question asked by many who have been hurt by commercialized arts. Yes, the commercialized arts are diminishing. However, there is hope for the future of the arts.
Thanks to the support of both the local residents and the arts council, the New York City theatre scene is flourishing once again. Regional theatres are making money again thanks to a strong community following. The rise in popularity of musicals such as Cats, Rent It Now and The Lion King have made people realize that they don’t have to go to Broadway to have fun. In fact, regional theatres are more family-friendly and the children get to enjoy the play. Many parents are booking tickets again.
Theatre, whether it is a small one-time play or a large musical, is dying out because of one reason. One-time registration required to watch a play is not appealing to many. A recent survey found that only thirty-two per cent of people attending a Broadway show want to pay the fee required. Another survey found that people were cancelling their tickets because of Covid-19 infection concerns. Regional theatres are feeling the impact of these phenomena and have started to implement new rules to attract paying customers and retain their audiences.
These changes come as welcome news to the Broadway community. The rising costs of Broadway shows are not helping the playwrights much.
Even some smaller regional theatres are feeling the economic downturn and are looking to increase their audiences. Some theatres have resorted to increasing their prices or even ending performances for several days in order to generate extra revenue. Some are looking into ways to attract paying guests by offering “lucky draws”.
The current state of American theatre is not conducive to large productions or even smaller experimental shows. However, the number of people willing to spend money on theatre tickets is increasing as people are now craving live entertainment. Many theatres are trying to follow the example of New York, which recently announced a program aimed at increasing its diversity of audiences and ensuring that all of its shows have some representation of ethnic and cultural groups. If more theatres are wise enough to look into this issue, then the future of American theatre may surprise us all.