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Is Broadway’s spring as overcrowded as it seems?

While 20 shows will have opened by the end of April 2024, they comprise a standard 50 percent of the season’s new productions.

(L-R) Joy Woods and Ryan Vasquez in the pre-Broadway production of “The Notebook,” 2022; the company of “Water for Elephants,” Broadway, 2024; Ali Louis Bourzgui in the pre-Broadway production of “The Who’s Tommy” (Credit: Liz Lauren; Sophy Holland; Liz Lauren)

Looking at a calendar, the 2023-2024 Broadway season is more than three-fourths complete. The week ending March 3 marked the 41st week of the 52-week season. By the season’s end, 38 new productions will have opened on Broadway (20 musicals, 16 plays and 2 specials). Twenty of those productions will have opened after Jan. 1, 2024, and 18 will open between March 1 and April 25, the cut-off date to be eligible for the 2024 Tony Awards. These numbers have been widely touted as “too damn crowded” or “crazily crowded,” but is this spring season (or season overall) really such an anomaly? 

The balance of spring versus fall openings is typical for the cyclical nature of Broadway seasons that has been the norm for decades. What has increased, according to the numbers, is solely the number of productions opening two weeks before the Tony Awards deadline.

It is important to note that the Broadway season is a separate calendar from that of Tony eligibility. The Broadway season comprises 52 weeks, running approximately June through May. Each week is noted in the Broadway League’s gross reports. The 2023-2024 season will end on May 19. Separately, the Tony eligibility calendar marks the time period in which new productions must schedule their opening night dates to be considered for that year’s Tony Awards. In recent years, the cut-off date has been near the end of April. This means a production could open at the end of one Broadway season but be eligible for next year’s Tony Awards. In 2005, Laura Linney received a Tony nomination for her performance in “Sight Unseen,” which opened in May 2004 at the tail end of the 2003-2004 season. As of publication, there are no productions scheduled to open between the Tony cut-off date (April 25, 2024) and the start of the 2024-2025 season (May 20, 2024).

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