We’re into the fourth week of our Broadway run, and I’m happy to report that things are looking pretty good. If you’ve followed the CHINGLISH blog posts, you’ll remember that Broadway is a commercial venture, and therefore all about profits and losses. True, we don’t have particularly large weekly grosses when compared to some of our counterparts. However, since we don’t have a big movie star in the cast, our running costs are also very low. Therefore, as of this writing, we’ve made money — not a huge amount, but some — every week, including during previews.
Significantly, our producers continue to believe in our show and are in this for the long haul. Their original budget included a large fund to cover potential losses, which we’ve not yet had to tap. So we’re in good shape. Of course, the hope is that good word of mouth kicks in, and our weekly grosses will continue to grow.
Broadway is a seasonal business, and the tough stretch for any show are the cold winter months of January and February. Having spent their money over the holidays, people are less inclined to splurge on theatre tickets. Tourists, which make up about half of the Broadway audience, tend not to visit New York in the dead of winter. We’re making plans to get through the winter, in the hope that we’ll be well-positioned for warmer weather come spring.
The cast and crew continue to do a great show eight times a week. Leigh and I went back to see it last Thursday, and they’ve actually gotten even better. And if I thought things were going to slow down for me after Opening, I was dead wrong. My schedule has gotten busier, as I go back to my other writing projects while also fielding a deluge of CHINGLISH press and related events.
For instance, a panel organized by the Drama Desk, an association of theatre critics and journalists. Entitled “Anatomy of a Breakout,” it featured new shows and performers on Broadway this fall after succeeding in other venues. We were lucky to have our friend Lia Chang documenting the event:
It’s gratifying that the play has been getting lots of attention from non-entertainment outlets, such as THE ECONOMIST, FINANCIAL TIMES, and WALL STREET JOURNAL. The official Chinese news agency XINHUA has also been covering us — so far, favorably! — which is encouraging since it would be our dream to eventually present the play in China.
Here I am, talking about the show with Erin Burnett on CNN.
And here’s a XINHUA video piece (where they refer to me as the show’s “director,” ooops).
And a couple of weeks ago, Chicago held its annual ceremony for the Jeff Awards, the Windy City’s version of the Tonys. CHINGLISH won for Best Set Design and Best New Play. I had a great time returning to Chicago with Leigh & Jen to show our respect and affection for their warm reception.
We’re on Broadway, and running hard!