With the 2018-2019 season announcements coming to a close, and new seasons beginning around the country, it’s time to start prepping for 2019-2020 announcements.
First off, let’s take a minute and review what’s currently taking place during the 2018-2019 season:
- What’s new? This season brings a host of new productions to the touring circuit, including the 2017 Tony winner for best musical, Dear Evan Hansen, which just launched in Denver. Other Broadway productions going nationwide include: Anastasia, Come From Away, Fiddler on the Roof, and Hello, Dolly! starring Betty Buckley. Beginning mid-season, Cats is also beginning its touring run in Providence.
- More newness: In addition to the first-runs, there are several productions returning to a city near you that were either on hiatus or touring elsewhere. These include Legally Blonde and Spamalot. Evita is making a return following an international run. Additionally, there are new shows that seem to have sort of a cult following, including The Lightning Thief and Bat Out Of Hell.
- Where are we? This season’s winner for most venues played belongs to Finding Neverland, which is playing at a whopping 103 venues in just under nine months. That means it will play at well over 1/3 of the venues that present Broadway musicals, with 48 of those venues being one-day stops. The closest competitor is Something Rotten!, which is playing at 85 venues in eight months.
- Second home: On the flip side, Hamilton leads the pack for longest durations in a venue. With a combined 727 days at 29 venues, the show averages a little over 25 days per venue. Its longest stay is at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, where it calls home for 83 days.
- My Buddy and Me: One trend that seems to occur is when a show will have a companion that plays within the same season, and sometimes back-to-back. As expected from the data, the combo of most companion shows is Finding Neverland and Something Rotten!, which play at the same venue 49 times during the season.
- Rainy Days and Mondays: Of the venues that have an official season announcement, Monday was the day of choice to make announcements. With 66 announcements, it certainly helped to get the week started. At a close second were Tuesdays, with 63 announcements. The worst days were Saturdays (13) and Sundays (16).
- By the Month: At a larger scale, the best month for season announcements this year was May, which had 56 announcements. However, there was a tie for most announcements in a day (6), which took place on February 26 and on April 24. One thing to note is that a majority of the major venues in the country, including my top 60, had finished making their announcements by mid-April.
And now to my favorite part! Although much is known about what the future holds, much remains to be revealed. Here’s what we know, as of today, and a few predictions from me:
*Please note that I do not have insider information; I’m basing my predictions on what is taking place in the 2018-2019 season.
- Hamilton remains strong: As noted in my previous blog post, Atlanta and St. Louis are the first venues to present Hamilton in back-to-back seasons. Several other venues have already announced that they will be presenting Hamilton as part of their 2019-2020 seasons, including stops in the south (Florida, Virginia, Tennessee) and also in the midwest (Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Missouri). It appears that the simultaneous productions will remain in order for at least this season to reach as many locations as possible.
- Dear Evan Hansen is found: As stated in its initial press release, Dear Evan Hansen will continue to fill its 50+ city obligation. At the end of the 18-19 season, it will have played in 23 of those 50+ cities. A few of the remaining 27 cities have already been revealed, including Salt Lake City, Portland (Oregon), and Dallas (Summer Musicals). I anticipate a lot of visits to the southwest and midwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri were snubbed this past season. I can also see additional engagements in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Virginia to round out the bill.
- Other goings on: (1) Come From Away will continue fulfilling its initial 60+ city obligation. It currently has 22 venues scheduled for the 18-19 season. Much like Dear Evan Hansen, I expect it to play in several southwest venues, as well as some north-central states, including Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Out of the new productions, I could see this one lasting for a few more seasons, thanks to a small cast and set pieces. (2) Beginning in the latter-end of the season, 2018 Best Musical winner The Band’s Visit will continue its tour during the 19-20 season. It has already announced stops in Chicago and in San Francisco. (3) Miss Saigon will also continue its run as the full list of sites was revealed on the Providence Performing Arts website. (Note: this page is no longer available.) What is unknown are the specific dates. The show ends the 18-19 season in California, so it’s possible it will stay out west initially before migrating back east.
- Welcome to the country! Several productions from this past Broadway season will begin their tours. This includes: Escape to Margaritaville (launching from Providence), Frozen (launching from Schenectady), Mean Girls (launching from Buffalo), My Fair Lady, Once On This Island, and SpongeBob Squarepants. Jesus Christ Superstar is making a return to the touring circuit for the first time since 2005. It doesn’t appear that Carousel is making the rounds this time, and I don’t anticipate it doing so.
- So long, farewell? There are a few productions that could end their touring run after the 18-19 season. The one that seems more obvious is Love Never Dies, which is rumored to be transferring to Broadway. Other shows ending their touring runs this season include A Chorus Line, and The Color Purple. School of Rock, which announced its close on Broadway in January, could also be ending, as could On Your Feet! And, having run the gauntlet, I wouldn’t be surprised if both Finding Neverland and Something Rotten! play their final bows in the 2018-2019 season.
- Crunching numbers: As far as logistics go for venues making season announcements, I don’t anticipate much to be different in general. I can expect peak season to be in May. One question to ask is: which show will go beyond the 100-venue mark and be the year’s Finding Neverland? If I had to guess, I would pick either Spamalot or Evita. I could also see Come From Away eventually reaching more audiences, but perhaps not in the 2019-2020 season.
So those are my thoughts and analysis of what’s happening in the Broadway touring community. As is the case with all things, changes happen in the blink of an eye. So, stay tuned to updates that I’ll post on this site, and also on my Twitter feed (@tours_to_you). Thank you for your support and patience, and I’ll be in touch!